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Grossmont College professor Chris Hill honored

Posted on: Aug 15, 2013 1:00:00 AM

Contact: Donald Harrison (619) 644-7840

 Chris Hall, geology professor and former president of the Academic Senate who filled in last college year as acting Vice President for Academic Affairs, was honored as Grossmont College's Distinguished Faculty Member of the year at an academic convocation held on the campus Monday, August 12.

In announcing the award, Sue Gonda, current president of the Academic Senate, said that Hill had created a course studying natural disasters, and had re-instituted courses on California geology and California natural parks. Additionally, Gonda noted, Hill had written numerous articles, papers and abstracts in the field of geology, including those studying landslide movements in California and geologic processes in the Sierra Nevada.

The choice of Hill was clearly a popular one as faculty collectively leaped to their feet to give her a standing ovation in salute of not only her academic work but also her seemingly inexhaustible willingness to volunteer for some of the tougher, drier, but necessary jobs required to make a college campus run smoothly.

For example, Hill helped lead a group of over 80 staff, faculty and administrators, who, over a two-year period, developed a comprehensive self-evaluation of Grossmont College. This nine-part document will be utilized by an accreditation visiting team drawn from administrators and faculty from throughout the California Community College system. The accreditation team will make an extensive fact-finding visit to Grossmont College Oct. 14-17 to determine who well the college lives up to its educational mission.

Now having volunteered to serve as acting senior dean for college planning and institutional effectiveness, Hill is currently leading the effort to implement new software for outcomes assessment and implementation of the college's planning goals.

A 12-year-employee of Grossmont College, Hill typically is among the first faculty members to volunteer to participate in such campus activities as the development of plans for assessing the basic skills of students and remedying those that are found deficient, as well as creating programs for the professional development of her faculty colleagues. 

Hill also has participated in an accreditation institute for the statewide Academic Senate and has presented at conferences focused on curriculum, planning and institutional effectiveness.

Even at the convocation at which her honor was announced, Hill assisted in the planning and execution of another event -- a game of "Jeopardy" (after the television quiz show) in which teams of faculty, staff and administrators matched their knowledge of campus processes and accomplishments.  In that exercise, in which she played the role of the game's television moderator, "Alex(is)" Trebek, Hill read the answers and judged how well the contestants supplied the correct questions in response.

Although by now Hill should be used to the accolades of her faculty colleagues, it was clear as she gave her acceptance speech that she was touched by the honor. She said that as a little girl she enjoyed learning and always had her nose in a book or was watching 'Schoolhouse Rock,' and to this day can recite the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Along life's path, she figured out that she liked to help other people learn as well, and not just in the classroom, but also as a coach (basketball) and in other settings as well.  Teaching is "who I am, what I do," she said, and it is "just humbling" that her colleagues recognize it. She said it was amazing that with the schedule she keeps, her partner Jeanine has willing to hang with her for 21 years, and she introduced her to general applause.

Given that Hill is a geologist, Grossmont College President Sunita V. Cooke was prompted to present Hill with a special award -- a large, ornamental, mineral star. After all, noted Cooke, in Grossmont College's book, Hill is a "rock star."



Chris Hill

Grossmont College geology professor Chris Hill

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