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Abstract provided by interviewer Madison Johnson.

Dr. Stephanie Talley is a professor in ACU’s Teacher Education department and attended ACU as an undergrad from 1989-1993. Abilene Christian University is a Church of Christ affiliated school whose mission is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. This impacts many of the students core aspects of identity, such as gender roles and sexuality. Dr. Talley discusses how the environment of Abilene, and more specifically ACU, placed many pressures on her as she defied, and still continues to defy, the traditional female narrative. We examine the cultural expectations placed upon women at ACU, especially those relating to marriage and career aspirations. Dr. Talley brings a very liberal stance to these issues by critiquing current aspects of Church of Christ culture and stating what she would like to change looking into the future.

This interview provides primary source information on the mostly unspoken, but sometimes spoken, gendered social and cultural expectations that permeate(d) ACU’s campus. Dr. Talley provides information about her experience as a woman who chose not to fulfill, and to blatantly challenge these expectations.


The ACC/ACU Gender and Sexuality Project preserves firsthand accounts of alumni of Abilene Christian College (later Abilene Christian University), with particular attention to how students, faculty, and staff have experienced issues of gender and sexuality during their time at the institution. The collection began in Fall 2019 as a class project in HIST 340, Historical Perspectives on Gender and Sexualities.