Harrison Hove and Clay Calvert, J.D., Ph.D. — two faculty members within the College of Journalism and Communications — were named Teacher of the Year and Teacher/Scholar of the Year respectively for the 2020-2021 school year.
Faculty members are nominated by students, faculty and staff members, or even themselves to be honored with the UF Teacher of the Year award. Nominees were judged based on their excellence, effectiveness, and innovation within the classroom.
Each college also nominates one faculty member annually to receive the UF Teacher/Scholar of the Year award for their scholarly work. The winner receives an honorarium of $6,000, an SEC Faculty Achievement Award, and is UF’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year award.
Following CJC professor Moni Basu’s win last year, Hove is the second member of the college to receive the esteemed award, as well as the sixth to win the award within the last 15 years. With a dual appointment within the CJC and the Levin College of Law, Calvert was the first member to receive Teacher/Scholar of the Year through both colleges.
Teacher of the Year: Harrison Hove
A commitment to truth and compassion guided Harrison Hove through his career as a journalist. Now, his devotion to instill these values into the next generation of young journalists has earned him an assortment of teaching awards — with his 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year award being most recent.
Sixteen years after earning a bachelor's degree from UF in telecommunication and political science, Harrison Hove never expected to be named the university’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year.
“It’s really special,” Hove said. “When you think about the quality of this university and the quality of the faculty members across all the colleges — thousands of them — and for you to be singled out with this honor, it’s something that’s really special.”
Before returning to UF as both WUFT News Manager and a faculty lecturer, Hove built a notable career in broadcast news, winning 7 regional Emmy awards. Following his graduation from UF and FSU, Hove spent a majority of his career with Ohio News Network and WCHM-TV as a reporter and meteorologist.
Recently, however, Hove found his calling teaching— serving first as a lecturer at Ohio State University, and now at UF.
“You think about how you want to give back and how you want to help others through the same process that you went through,” Hove said. “I can think of no way that’s more gratifying than helping someone get a world-class education that can never be taken away from you.”
Although Hove has only been a faculty lecturer since 2019, his impact on the student population has been limitless.
Jolena Esperto, a 21-year-old telecommunications news senior, has taken two courses with Hove — Writing and Reporting for Electronic News and Investigative Reporting for Broadcast Journalists — that she said have shaped her career as a student journalist.
“He introduced me to TV and really just made me comfortable with how I can be a media practitioner and a reporter,” Esperto said. “If I hadn't had him as a teacher, I don't know if I would feel that way.”
Hove said creating a teaching environment where students of all backgrounds are welcome is essential. By attending professional development programs within the UF Center for Teaching Excellence, International Center, and Center for Instructional Technology and Training, Hove said he attempts to better his teaching practices to ensure a formative learning experience.
“I’m constantly reshaping my own lens to be more inclusive, more diverse, more equitable to make sure there’s a pathway to success for every student and that I’m comfortable in my ability to connect with every student,” Hove said.
Winning Teacher of the Year during a year stricken by a global pandemic was especially rewarding to Hove, who continued to work diligently with his students.
“I think my students have done some of the best work I’ve ever seen in the pandemic,” Hove said. “That’s a credit to them and their hunger to continue to work hard and achieve in very creative ways.”
Teacher/Scholar of the Year: Clay Calvert
Clay Calvert is no stranger to the academic excellence required to be a UF Teacher/Scholar of the Year. Authoring over 150 law journal articles, Calvert has been a preeminent scholar in the fields of communications law and freedom of expression — all while teaching a CJC course in the fall and a law course in the spring.
“I was both surprised and highly honoured to receive this award,” Calvert said. “I feel fortunate to have won, given that there are so many well-qualified and excellent teachers and scholars at UF.”
Calvert’s esteemed career in First Amendment law began in 1986, where he enrolled in an undergraduate class similar to the Law of Mass Communication course he teaches today. Now, nearly 35 years later, Calvert’s career has led him to co-author the most recent editions of the same textbook he used as an undergraduate: Mass Media Law.
“It’s good to (write) the textbook because it forces me to be able to write in a clear, coherent and concise style,” Calvert said.
Calvert remains busy outside the classroom as director of Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, which seeks to address issues affecting the First Amendment. Through the organization, Calvert works closely with a small cohort of undergraduate students to conduct legal research.
“What I write about is largely dictated by what’s happening in the courts and in the legislative bodies today across the United States,” Calvert said. “Which is nice because I focus on timely First Amendment free speech and free press issues as they arise.”
The unique experience of holding a joint appointment between the CJC and Levin College of Law has also allowed Calvert to interact with both undergraduate and law students at UF.
Jaci Schreckengost, a 23-year-old digital marketing manager and UF alumna, had Calvert as both a professor and an advisor for her senior project for her major.
“He has always been so uplifting and is always pushing you to do your best, but also always being there to help you to make sure you’re doing as well as you can,” Schreckengost said.
In both his CJC and Law course, Calvert holds himself to one rule: make class as engaging as possible. Through the constant updates of his lectures to incorporate new topics, Calvert achieves this goal with ease.
“The highest compliment that I could be paid is when a student says after the class that they came into the class expecting to be bored and not interested,” Calvert said. “But when they left, they actually found it to be one of their more interesting classes.”
Contact Makiya Seminera at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MakSeminera.
Makiya Seminera is a UF international studies and Arabic senior, with a minor in mass communication. She's currently the editor-in-chief of The Alligator, but has previously served as university administration reporter, The Avenue editor, social media manager and opinion editor. She also serves as managing editor for Florida Political Review. Over summer, she interned with The State in Columbia, South Carolina, as a politics & government reporting intern.