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Forecast: A Bright Future for Students Under This Teacher of the Year

Ten questions for a journalist and meteorologist who is now UF’s 2020-21 Teacher of the Year

Harrison Hove started his career as a television reporter and meteorologist, and he brings his experience to UF, where he was honored as UF’s Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021.

Harrison Hove (BA ’05, BSTEL ’05) entered teaching out of a desire to give back. And the University of Florida returned the favor this past year, bestowing the honor of 2020-21 Teacher of the Year on the College of Journalism and Communications lecturer.

Hove, a 2005 UF graduate with degrees in telecommunications and political science, went on to receive a bachelor’s in meteorology from Florida State. His meteorology career took him to Lafayette, Louisiana, and then to Columbus, Ohio, where he also worked as news anchor.

While in Columbus, he began pursuing a master’s in journalism online. “I knew at some point I wanted to be in a classroom setting,” he said.


Hove, right, during his early days as a meteorologist at KLFY in Lafayette, Louisiana. Hove worked the weekend shift, a common starting point for young journalists, and also served as an environment and science reporter and a live field reporter.

That desire has benefitted UF. Hove’s real-world experience — he’s won numerous industry awards, including the National Award for Excellence in Science Reporting from the American Meteorological Society and regional Emmy awards in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 — combined with his passion for teaching has made him a dynamic and popular instructor. The UF Teacher of the Year honor is just the latest for Hove.

Ted Spiker, journalism department chair, says “students cite (Hove’s) ability to hold high standards, to teach best and current industry practices, and to care for them as people and students. He expertly embodies the ‘tough love’ approach to balance empathy for students while continually pushing them to do professional-quality and award-winning work.”

We turned the tables on Hove and asked the journalist some questions:

What was your first job?
I worked at a pizza shop starting at age 15. I burned myself often on the hot pans, so I usually stuck to taking the orders.
What did you want to be when you were young?
There were two jobs when I was in middle school. I wanted to be a football referee and a meteorologist. Only one came true.
Who or what motivated you to do well in school?
School was my sanctuary growing up. Some of my most positive moments as a kid happened in an educational setting. I credit so many teachers and professors along the way. I feel lucky that I get to pay the favor forward now and help elevate our students and push them toward successful outcomes.
When you’re not teaching, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to travel and see what our world has to offer. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit all seven continents including Antarctica while on a reporting assignment in 2012.
What is your favorite travel destination?
Hove visited Antarctica on a reporting assignment in 2012. Travel is a passion, he says.
New Zealand is probably my favorite place on earth. There are so many diverse microclimates you can experience. From exploring glaciers, to walking along beautiful beaches, kayaking in the fjords … there is something for everyone.
Describe, weather-wise, the perfect day for you.
February in North Central Florida. Crisp morning, 70s by afternoon. No humidity and blue sky as far as you can see.
What is just one memorable news story you covered?
In 2010, I covered a very strong tornado in northwest Ohio, near Toledo. I was the only meteorologist on duty that night, so there was certainly pressure to “get it right” as the storm was happening in real time. The next day, I was sent to cover the damage. I witnessed the destruction first hand from Ohio’s deadliest tornado in more than 20 years. It helps you remember why you serve. Ultimately, it is to help community members when they need it most.
What’s one piece of good advice you received in life?
Control what you can control. I tell my students all the time to focus your energy on outcomes you can influence or things you can change.
When you look back over the students you have taught, what are some attributes of the best ones?
I am so fortunate to teach incredible people at UF. I’ve seen firsthand how hard work and dedication can help a student blossom. I talk about sports a lot in my courses, using the analogy that no one is great at anything right out of the gate. It takes patience and practice. In my courses, I don’t expect perfection because it is not really realistic in applied learning courses. Instead, I coach my students to use every opportunity as a chance to grow. That growth mindset means we will continue to build throughout the entire course and end up with something special by the end.
If you could give just one piece of advice to all UF students, what would it be?
Be proactive and define your experience at UF. Any student here can be whatever they want to be. Use your time here to propel you forward as you strive to achieve your goals. Every path will be unique, but it is uniquely yours … so embrace it and own it. Also, you are your best advocate, so don’t be afraid to knock on doors, articulate your needs and share your vision. You can’t do it until you can dream it.