An accomplished administrator, scholar, and educator, Dr. Edward L. Hill Jr. is focused on student success at HBCU Harris Stowe State University in St. Louis. As the Associate Provost and Accreditation Liaison at HSSU, Dr. Hill is committed to improving teaching methods during the pandemic and working with educators to engage their student body throughout these difficult times. He has received recognition for excellence in teaching and outstanding administrative service and has obtained numerous grants and research awards for the enhancement of teacher quality and preparation.

We talked to Dr. Hill about student life during the pandemic, his position at HSSU, and how the University is working to bring online academics to a whole new level of communication for attendees and staff.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your position at Harris Stowe State University?

As the Associate Provost and Accreditation Liaison for Harris Stowe State University, I bring a deep-rooted commitment to academic excellence, student success, access and inclusion, as well as a keen awareness of how to create effective cross-divisional collaborations between academic and student affairs. I developed and executed strategic plans that focused on: Quality and Distinctiveness of Student Success, Academic Reputation, Flagship Programs and Community Outreach, and Technology for 21st century University and am proud to have received many awards and commendations for excellence in teaching and outstanding administrative service.

How has the pandemic impacted Harris Stowe State University? 

A core tenant of the institution’s strategic plan is achieving Academic Excellence.  As our experiences with COVID 19 have demonstrated, rapidly designing, and delivering online course content is achievable for most instructors.  We are vigorously seeking methods in improving instructional quality through iterative improvements in methods, tools, and feedback mechanisms.  We are committed to improving student engagement and learning through innovative teaching methods. Staying engaged amidst this pandemic is difficult for all of us-and especially students. The disruption to the traditional learning community has been profound. We are working with faculty and staff to examine ways to ensure that students remain engaged, motivated, and connected in and to the learning experience. We are having university discussions about the critical needs for professional development and online resources. We are working with student support services to create new terms of the “welcoming environment”. It Is our goal to make certain to focus on building stronger relationships with our students. Now more than ever the university has to explore new ways to invest the time and energy in knowing and supporting our students.   We have been forced to look critically into learning options to include asynchronous, synchronous, hybrid, performance-based and the list is endless.   We have had to focus on developing new online resources to support students: twenty-four hour tutorial services, counseling services, career placement, telehealth services and many unthought-of of student needs.  We are in a continuous improvement cycle as sparred by this pandemic.

How has your engagement been with the student body?

As we do our part to curb the spread of COVID 19 pandemic, we see our new experiences as an opportunity to gather crucial data and create important partnerships that expand our knowledge of how to achieve excellence in online courses and engage with our student body.  We believe that this new type of engagement with students will help our online education goals evolve quickly.  We are open to change and innovation, and faculty are eager to improve the overall design, delivery, and management of online education at Harris-Stowe State University.”  While virtual movie nights, Virtual Commencements, town hall meetings, Instagram live dance parties, Virtual Coronations, Virtual SGA elections have us all Zoomed Out and fatigued we know that this helps us all fell a sense of “normal” in these times.  So much of the HBCU educational experience depends so much on the experiences and leadership development opportunities afford to our students through extracurricular engagement.  We have renewed our commitment at HSSU to ensuring that our students-especially our first year students are provided with the continued opportunities to learn and grow during these challenging times

To learn more about the opportunities at HSSU, visit their website or connect on social media on Facebook, Twitter,YouTube, and Instagram. You may also contact Dr. Alandrea Stewart, executive director of Communications, who can assist with getting more involved with HSSU via institutional information and marketing.


All images courtesy of Harris Stowe State University