ADA – East Central University will welcome a new Vice President for Student Development on July 13. Dr. Brandon Hill previously served as Vice President of Life Calling & Integrative Learning and Chief Student Affairs Officer at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.
As vice president of student development, Hill will oversee several areas of the university including housing and residence life, student organizations, international student program, career development, counseling and health services.
Hill brings a wealth of experience to his new role. “I am committed to diversity and inclusive excellence, strengths philosophy, growth mindset in students and institutional culture, student focused learning and growth, individual and team development, and collaborative shared governance,” Hill said.
“I believe strongly that higher education is a prime factor in overcoming historical injustices and that it serves a pivotal role as a social change agent,” Hill said. “Due to the importance of this role [VP of Student Development], it is imperative that higher education fully commit to serving all students, regardless of their individual characteristics, to achieve academically in order to contribute to their local, national and global communities.”
Through personal experience, particularly during his childhood in South Africa, “I began to realize the extreme institutionalized racism that existed around me.”
Once he moved to the United States, unfortunately he found racism was everywhere.
“I was looking forward to living in a society where we all lived together communally,” he said. “It was a great shock for me to realize immediately upon my arrival that this was not the case in the United States, where -- even though we have the freedom to do so -- many still chose to live in separated communities.”
“While reflecting on the racism I was observing in the United States, I realized that one of the methods the Apartheid government (in South Africa) sustained their rule was through the denial of quality (or any) education to certain racial groups,” Hill said. “This realization led me to my strong passion for helping students who have been historically marginalized to successfully achieve an education, as I believe that education is the key to an inclusively excellent society.”
Hill’s administrative experience is also a plus for ECU as he has served as Associate Dean of the School of Life Calling & Integrative Learning, Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Associate Vice President for Residential Life all at IWU, and as Dean of Students at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California prior to that.
“I am very excited to join a team of amazing student development staff at ECU,” Hill said. “It is obvious the faculty and staff at ECU are a family and that they care deeply about the institution and its students.”
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Hill join us as the Vice President for Student Development,” said ECU President Katricia Pierson. “His 20 years of experience in student development along with his focus on diversity and inclusive excellence, strengths-based leadership, and growth mindset will greatly assist ECU meet its strategic goals and revitalize all areas of student life.”
He recognizes the new academic year will bring a challenge as Covid-19 remains.
“While the next year is going to difficult at any school due to COVID-19, it will be a joy to work alongside the student development team as we care for our students during this year,” Hill said.
Hill earned his doctorate in Higher Education Administration in 2005 at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, and his Master of Education in College Student Affairs in 2002 at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Prior to that, he earned his undergraduate degree in Accounting and Management Information Systems at Greenville University in Greenville, Illinois.
Hill’s 21-year-old son Levi lives in Tennessee. Two dogs and a cat will be making the move cross country to join Hill at his new home in Ada.
“I have already felt warmly welcomed by the ECU team, the Ada community, and I look forward to engaging with students when the school year starts,” Hill said.