Kandace Hinton

Kandace Hinton

Professor of Educational Administration: Higher Education Leadership

If one were to ask Dr. Kandace Hinton, PhD, about her teaching methods, her heartfelt response would be: “I’m the woman on the side, not center stage. Students have a lot of say in class. This is their time.”

But to her students, Hinton is a mentor who deserves her moment to shine. As professor and coordinator of Indiana State University’s hybrid educational leadership and higher education leadership doctoral program, she instructs students on the history of higher education, strategies for academic leadership, and education ethics and philosophy. Hinton collaborates with her students on research projects, and she encourages them to express their opinions.

“I’m hoping to teach my students to be excellent listeners, because that’s important in higher education. Higher education leaders understand their environment, and they need to have a vision that is collaborative with others,” she explains.

Additionally, students in the higher education leadership doctoral program solve problems facing today’s higher education professionals, with an emphasis on academic affairs, organization and governance, financial policy and legal concerns, student affairs, and social foundations within colleges and universities. Many Indiana State graduates pursue careers as university presidents, chancellors, orientation leaders, admissions directors, residence life directors, and provosts.

“Our students apply what they’re learning in class to their future careers. The course material will help them perform better at their jobs,” Hinton explains. “Indiana State’s program is transactional and transformative. Our vision is to interact with our students so we can motivate them to achieve their goals in higher education.”

Dr. Kandace Hinton, a Black woman with short black dreadlocks, poses in an atrium, leaning against a brown railing with her right hand on the railing. She wears black glasses, a black-and-white necklace, and a black leather jacket dress.

Hinton knows what it’s like to lead teams in higher education. Before joining Indiana State’s Bayh College of Education faculty team in 2003, she was an admissions administrator at the University of Southern Indiana. She has always liked college campuses, she says, and believes in the opportunities waiting for students in higher education.

As it turns out, Hinton also thrives on opportunities. That’s why she decided to run for office in Terre Haute’s District 1 City Council race, which she won in November. In her youth, Hinton had wanted to be a United States senator, and years later she spent time working as a city planner in her hometown of Evansville, Indiana. She had witnessed critical areas of need within that community, and instead of complaining, she wanted to help. In Terre Haute, Hinton feels this same passion for improving the community.

“There are people without tap water. I want to connect them to better water. We need affordable homes, and we need to fix the infrastructure problem in the city. We need to grow the economy and help small businesses,” explains Hinton, who was elected to a four-year term on the city council.

“I want people to live comfortably. I don’t like to see people struggling,” she adds.

Hinton has the distinction of being the first Black woman to serve on the Terre Haute City Council. She describes this as a bittersweet designation, but she knows she isn’t alone in working to make a difference in the community.

“Terre Haute has had many successful Black people, but many of them left the city. I’m grateful for them. I want to see what else I can do,” she comments.

Between educating Sycamores at Indiana State University and serving her Terre Haute community in elective office, it might be surprising that Hinton has any spare time for a hobby – but the professor says she also has a passion for gospel music. She previously served as co-choral director of the Evansville Philharmonic Gospel Night production, “Joshua Academy’s Gospel Night,” as director of Evansville’s city-wide Black History Month Musical Celebration, and as guest clinician for church choir workshops. In addition to gospel music, Hinton has performed in theatrical productions in Evansville and in the Community Theatre of Terre Haute.

“I come from a family of singers and musicians. I love church and gospel music, and being involved in these groups has allowed me to meet other people and have a community,” Hinton says.Dr. Kandace Hinton, a Black woman with short black dreadlocks, poses in an atrium, leaning against a brown railing with her right index finger on the side of her face. She wears black glasses, a black-and-white necklace, and a black leather jacket dress.

When thinking about the future, Hinton says she plans to do even more. She aspires to serve her community to the best of her ability while also searching for other opportunities to make a difference.

“I’ve learned that opportunities come and go. You can either walk in the door or go out the door. I walk in,” she says.

Just as she advises her students at Indiana State University to search for new opportunities, Hinton continues to work hard to break barriers while always remembering her mission: to create positive change. Because successful leadership begins with BLUE!