Dr. Michele Hill, Associate Professor and Associate Department Head of Psychological Science, wasn’t expecting to be awarded the USG Felton Jenkins, Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award. In fact, she wasn’t expecting to receive the award preceding it — UNG’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Dr. Michele Hill

Two of Hill’s faculty peers started an application for the Distinguished Teaching Award on her behalf in spring 2020; Hill completed the required portfolio.

“They told me that they nominated me, I said thank you, and then they proceeded to gather letters from the chair of my department, from fellow faculty, and past students,” Hill said. “I was honored that they had nominated me and had taken the time to gather all the materials.”

After receiving UNG’s Distinguished Award, Hill was chosen to represent UNG as the Felton Jenkins, Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award Nominee.

“[It’s] Humbling,” Hill said on being chosen to receive the awards. “I was astounded and speechless when I read the letter from the Chancellor. It was a privilege to be awarded the UNG Distinguished Teaching Award as I am surrounded by incredible and innovative faculty. To be selected for the USG Felton Jenkins, Jr. Award was an honor. I am grateful to receive recognition for my work over my academic career.”

Hill is also a licensed counseling psychologist with a specialization in health psychology. She has mainly focused on the mental health and wellness of college students.

“I have set up stress management and mindfulness labs and now a Mental Health and Well-being lab,” Hill said. “I turned towards this career when I recognized that I wanted to use my art as a therapeutic outlet. I decided to go further into counseling and psychology at the masters and doctoral level to deepen my knowledge, build my skills, and broaden the ways I could apply those skills as a therapist, teacher, program developer, and researcher.”

Hill received her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and her doctorate in Counseling Psychology, both from Georgia State University. As not only a teacher but a lifelong learner, Hill said that it is important for her to continue to learn new material, gain knowledge, and apply skills.

“In the past few years I have become a certified instructor for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST),” Hill said. “I updated my training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for the college population and added to my crisis intervention and motivational interviewing skills. This continuing education allows me to train students and work with others in the community to create a suicide safe community and a mentally healthier campus environment with the counseling center and health services at the core.”

The Felton Jenkins, Jr. Award recognizes individual faculty and staff who exhibit a strong commitment to teaching and student success. To demonstrate her efforts, Hill submitted a nomination portfolio that included a CV, letters of recommendation from colleagues and students, a teaching philosophy, and examples of teaching practices.

“My fundamental belief is that all instruction to those involved should foster awareness, knowledge, and skills for the subject matter and then how to apply the content in the present and in the future,” Hill said. “My favorite parts of teaching clinical and health psychology are when I can use real world examples that students can relate to and they initiate the discourse.”

Hill views her work as a teacher to include her courses, advising on career and academic successes, service-learning projects, community workshops, and undergraduate research. Her teaching philosophy reflects this sentiment.

“Using experiential learning allows student to put the knowledge into practice and then the whole experience ‘clicks into place’ and students have that ‘aha’ moment,” Hill said. “I can say that the most rewarding teaching is when I have them engage in either a self-change experience (such as choosing a new health behavior) or a community engaged experience (such a working with students that have been bullied in the schools) and they say that the experience has changed their life.”

UNG awards offered through CTLL, DETI, CURCA, and Academic Engagement are open now through Monday, April 5, 2021, at 12 p.m. You must apply for UNG awards before being chosen to represent UNG at the USG level. Find more information here.