Posted: August 2, 2023
Dr. Joyce Yang, who recently stepped into the Dean’s position for the Hope International University College of Education (COE), says that career change has never been difficult for her.
“When it’s time to move on, I try to lay down what I want to do so I can do what God wants,” she explains. “Every time I am at the point of change, I pray for just one offer, and God is really funny...I think he knows that I would struggle with the decision, so my choice becomes very clear!”
Dr. Yang was raised in Chicago, part of a strong, Korean, Christian family, in the Christian Missionary Alliance denomination, and several of her uncles are pastors. She became a Christian at the age of 16, but said that she did not actually experience the Lordship of Christ until she grappled with the concept in college.
She began her bachelor’s degree with an art major, but switched to education after a spiritual gifts assessment identified teaching and administration as good options. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana; her Master of Science degree in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL; and her Doctor of Education degree from California State University, Fullerton.
Her broad experience includes teaching in charter and public schools, education administration, consulting, and human resources in Northern California and Minnesota. Her work in Christian higher education began at nearby Biola University. Most recently, Dr. Yang served as Coordinator for the Teacher Induction Program for the Orange County Department of Education, and she applied for the HIU position at the recommendation of a friend who is an adjunct professor, an experience that reminded her, once again, of divine intervention in her career journey.
“I had already applied for another job that seemed perfect when I interviewed with President Paul Alexander,” she said, “but I felt totally at home when we talked, and I just knew I belonged here… and I also knew that I wouldn’t have learned a thing at that other job.”
Dr. Steve Edgington, Vice President of Academic Affairs, expressed a great sense of anticipation regarding Dr. Yang’s ability to build upon the College of Education’s advancement under the leadership of Dr. Doug Domene, who recently retired after seven years at HIU.
“She brings a wealth of experience in K-12 education as a teacher and administrator in public schools, as well as experience in teacher education and preparation at the university level,” he said. “We’re looking forward to Dr. Yang continuing to lead COE along that path, enlarging its influence and effectiveness in preparing outstanding classroom teachers and school administrators.”
The idea of creating a teacher induction pipeline at HIU is what most excites Dr. Yang about her new position. Teacher induction is a mandated two-year process for teachers who have earned a preliminary credential. New teachers are mentored in the practical aspects of teaching and are mandated to complete two inquiry projects. These projects require the teachers to identify issues in their own classrooms and then utilize California state teaching standards to address them. They present their work to a panel, which then determines the completion of a clear teaching credential.
“HIU is the perfect place to launch a teacher induction pipeline,” she said. “This environment is ideal for many teachers, and I’m especially thinking about charter schools and private schools.”
She knows that HIU is a place where students are supported and equipped and wants to use that to create an induction pipeline to forge an even stronger community of teachers, helping to prepare new teachers for the realities of the classroom.
“They must learn to balance, “ she said. “Five years after beginning their careers, 50% of teachers have left the field; we must fully prepare new teachers to persevere.”
She also looks forward to the development of new programs in counseling and special education.
In her personal life, Dr. Yang loves to travel and spend time with her family: her husband, Jim; her son, Payton; and her daughter, MacKenzie. She also gives credence to that need for educators to develop a good work/life balance, when she confesses her affection for watching Korean television dramas while walking on the treadmill.