by Cassidy Delano Contributing Writer
The Early Childhood Education (ECH) Department has brought in Dr. Josh Hill as a new professor in hopes that he will add a new perspective to the program starting this semester.
Dr. Hill was initially hired in Dec. 2019, but not before he came to UMF for nearly three days in order to get interviewed for the position, do a teaching demonstration in Dr. Mellisa Clawson’s ECH 256 class, and to conduct a research demonstration.
Dr. Clawson made a positive first impression, “He was very outgoing, personable, and friendly,” said Dr. Clawson. “Those to me are very good signs. It made me confident that he would be a good fit for our staff and students to work with.”
Dr. Hill has been exposed to many different classroom settings because of his unique experiences prior to teaching at UMF. He got his undergraduate degree in International Relations, but when he couldn’t find a job in that field, he decided to join Americorp Vista, where he first got exposed to leadership in classroom settings. “I was organizing mentor programs in Delaware elementary schools and I began mentoring a young kindergarten student,” Dr. Hill said. “I loved the experience and became interested in teaching young children.”
From there he went on to get his masters in Early Childhood Special Education at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and then moved on to get his doctorate at the University of South Carolina where he also taught as a graduate position.
Now in his first semester teaching at UMF, Dr. Hill believes he is settling in nicely with the campus and the people in it. “The community aspect is really nice here,” Dr. Hill said. “Everyone is always checking in to make sure everything is okay.”
In all the years she’s worked at UMF, Dr. Clawson has only seen one other male professor in the ECH department, but he only taught for a year. Dr. Clawson knows that Dr. Hill is a valuable addition to the community and students coming through the ECH major. “Josh’s knowledge and friendliness in the field make him a great fit for the department,” she said. “His specialized knowledge will bring more diversity to our community. Having more diversity in the department is appealing, our departments and students will really grow from that. I’m looking forward to having a new perspective and collaborating with him.”
Kiley Chambers, a junior in the ECH program, was in ECH 256 when Dr. Hill did the teaching demonstration in Dr. Clawson’s class last semester and was excited to learn he’d be teaching ECH 232 this semester. “I really like how passionate he is about teaching and the topics that he is teaching,” said Chambers. “He seemed very open and understanding during the demonstration and having him as a professor now has solidified that thought.”