RCC Spotlight: Joey Hinson Faculty Member of the Year
Patient. Kind. Genuine. Respectful. Awesome. Best Teacher Ever.
These are words students used to describe the RCC Instructor of the Year, Joey Hinson. Hinson is a psychology instructor at Robeson Community College, a position he has held for ten years.
Prior to coming to RCC, Hinson taught for several years at Bladen Community College and also taught while in graduate school at Appalachian State University for Caldwell Community College.
Throughout his career, it is evident that Hinson has made an impact on his students.
“Mr. Hinson is a superb teacher inside and outside of the classroom,” his nominator for faculty of the year wrote. “He is kind and compassionate. He leads by example and his open-door policy allows students to frequently communicate with him. Inside the classroom, he engages students and ensures they have a clear understanding of the material.”
“Between mentoring students by being an advising coach, Mr. Hinson assists students and pushes them to succeed. He is an encourager and motivator. Mr. Hinson works hard to move students to the next level,” the nomination reads.
“The fact that I was nominated by my peers, means more to me than winning,” Hinson said. “I’m just trying to do my job, I have never wanted to be in the spotlight, I take the responsibility of teaching students seriously, but the recognition is much appreciated.”
Hinson was a bit shocked and in disbelief when it was announced he was selected as faculty of the year, saying that there were others who were just as deserving.
“I am humbled, grateful, and shocked,” Hinson said. “I always thought I did an okay job, it’s nice to get recognized for what you do, but I had no idea that this was coming. I want to use this as an opportunity to reflect well on RCC.”
To have been named the Instructor of the Year in 2023 has an even more special meaning for Hinson.
“It has been a tough year,” Hinson said. “My father has cancer, and I have spent a lot of time at UNC, going back and forth and doing a lot of teaching from a hospital room… so this has been an emotional time for me, at times I felt like I was hanging by a thread… so to get that recognition this year is just very special to me.”
Seeing students succeed inside and outside of the classroom is what Hinson calls “the reward.”
“It’s why we do this,” Hinson said. “I’ve seen students come through my classes and really flourish, that is truly the reward, and it doesn’t get much better than that…it’s amazing to see what some of our students are doing, and to know the sacrifices that some of them are making just to go school and earn a degree.”
Hinson says that teaching is a rewarding career. Many of his students – now graduates – have gone on to become nurses, owners of salons, and business executives, and some have even become his co-workers.
“I wanted to make a difference,” Hinson said. “I like helping people and motivating them, and teaching allows me to do that… it’s something that I love.”
Like many of the students Hinson serves, he didn’t always know what he wanted to do with his life. When he was an undergraduate student at North Carolina State University, he changed his major three times.
I was interested in several subjects in school – math, English, history, etc., but I wasn’t extremely passionate about any one of them,” Hinson said.
But he didn’t give up on his pursuit to discover his calling.
With a combined love for biology, math, writing, philosophy, and research, it was while taking general psychology, that Hinson knew he had found the career path he would eventually take.
“General psychology had lots of mathematics, statistics, and philosophy in it,” Hinson stated. “It was the perfect fit for me, it was so multifaceted and included work and research in several different areas of study.”
“Teaching was a tough choice based on my personality,” said Hinson, who prefers to stay behind the scenes and not be in the spotlight. “But it was very attractive because I liked studying psychology and doing research.”
Overcoming his fears of public speaking, Hinson found his niche working with community college students and motivating them to greatness, but his service goes far beyond teaching at Robeson Community College.
Hinson serves as an advisor for the Minority Male Success Initiative and for the C3 Partnership with NC State University, he is a member of the curriculum advising committee for RCC’s Cosmetology program and also a member of the North Carolina Community College Sociology and Psychology Association, and he serves as the assistant editor for the North Carolina Community College Journal of Teaching Innovation.
In his spare time, Hinson says he loves music and playing his guitar.
“I have played in a few different bands over the years, but now I mainly jam with some of my friends from time to time.”
Which brings us to the only way that Hinson says he would ever leave his career in teaching.
“If the Rolling Stones or the Foo Fighters called and asked me to go on the road and play guitar, I might change my mind,” Hinson said laughing. “That would be too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
“But until that happens, I’m satisfied with just sitting on my couch with my guitar,” Hinson said. “I really love being at Robeson Community College and in the learning environment. I love helping to transform lives and making a difference.”
Hinson adds, “I have the best co-workers I could ever ask for, we make a good team.”