Spotlight on Engaged Faculty: Erin Hoying

Engaged faculty like Erin Hoying strive to build connections and inspire caring actions through teaching, collaboration, and service-learning.

For Erin Hoying, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing, the inspiration she felt to join her field started when she was a child. “I grew up around the nursing and medical fields. My Grandma was a nurse, my mom was a nurse, and my dad was a physician. I knew I wanted to be the person with the patients,” said Hoying.

Hoying has always appreciated the personal connections that can be made in nursing while also applying scientific knowledge. Showing compassion and building connections with her patients has been a focus of Hoying’s career, evident from pivotal memories of her impact, which has come full circle through her teaching.

“My favorite memories of working in the field of pediatric nursing involve times when I felt I made an impact. Once, when I was working Christmas Eve, I was kind of bummed to be missing my own family’s Christmas, but one of my patients had a sibling there and I took him out to spread reindeer food on the helipad. With teaching, my favorite memories are when I see/hear the students take those caring actions either through communication or therapeutic touch. Whether it’s in a simulation, clinical, or service-learning. The moment I see them validate and connect with their patients and families; it all comes full circle to me,” said Hoying.

Much of Hoying’s research explores how social justice perceptions of newly graduated nurses, and social justice attitudes influence caring behaviors in undergraduate nursing students. Through her work, Hoying strives to inspire nursing students to be open to discussions on diverse topics, welcome challenges to their thinking, and find the humanity in each patient, child, and family, recognizing that everyone has a story.

Hoying has also found that when nursing students engage in reflection and activate social justice attitudes, they begin to make the connections that their care extends beyond the bedside. Hoying’s commitment to activating a social justice mindset in her students interweaves with her work in service-learning.

“Service-learning is just the first step in making fully engaged citizens. It is rewarding when all parties including students, partners, and faculty learn and grow while achieving a common goal. To me, service-learning is as a way for students and faculty to envision a world beyond the classroom or for nursing, hospital setting. I want my students to fully engage in society and see that they can have a voice in societal change,” commented Hoying.

Through persistence with her service-learning work, Hoying has grown as a civic leader, and now serves on the Bauer Board of Directors. One of her favorite things about service-learning and engagement is learning how to translate it to a teaching pedagogy and expand impact beyond the duration of the class to long lasting community change.

This is one of the reasons she is so excited about the 2024 Engagement and Service-Learning Summit. She wants to learn more about how her colleagues are impacting the community.

“I think we tend to get so siloed in our worlds and colleges, so I take great pride in sharing my work with others and hearing about what approaches they’re taking,” said Hoying.

This year the Summit features a total of six engaged faculty, students, and community partners, including Hoying, who will be speaking about their experiences with engagement and service-learning.

Hoying’s talk will detail how persistence can make meaningful community partnerships possible. For those who may encounter challenges in their engagement work, the theme of persistence is a big part of Hoying’s advice.

“Try to be vulnerable and appreciate when things do not go as planned. I could have given up on my community partnership or felt like a failure, but I faced each mishap as a way to learn and grow. The pandemic caused many challenges, especially when trying to find ways to keep the community partnership alive, but I overcame this by being flexible and always remembering the WHY. Thinking about the end goal helps calm me and remind me why the work is so important,” said Hoying. The Office of Engagement in partnership with the Office of Service-Learning is inviting community partners, faculty, staff and students from all Purdue campuses to the 2024 Engagement and Service-Learning Summit, where we are celebrating “Giant Leaps, Local Impacts” with lightning talks by six engaged faculty, staff, students, and community partners!