By Lauren Steinbrook
Aaron Hall chuckles a little when he recalls that his application to work at Trevecca first ended up in the department chair’s junk email.
“It was a God thing for me to come here. I never thought about teaching, and I didn’t know anything about Trevecca,” said Hall, associate professor of exercise science. “My application went into Dr. Patterson’s junk mail, so it was by chance she found my application…I wouldn’t be here without God.”
Hall is this year’s recipient of Trevecca’s Teaching Excellence Award. On March 2, Tom Middendorf, university provost, presented Hall with the annual award given to a faculty member.
“He is known for deeply investing in the lives of students,” said Middendorf during the Teaching Excellence chapel. “He is passionate, committed, inspired and faithful.”
The Teaching Excellence Award is presented by the Conference of Chairpersons, composed of academic deans and department chairs. Students, faculty and academic chairs nominate a faculty member for this award. The award, established in 1982, recognizes excellence in classroom teaching. Faculty are eligible by being employed full-time, and they have to teach at least one course annually.
Hall came to Trevecca in the fall of 2017 where he accepted his first full-time teaching position in the department of exercise and sports science.
Before working at Trevecca, Hall served as a clinical director at physical therapy clinics.
His first teaching experience was teaching anatomy and physiology at John A. Gupton Mortuary College for a year and at Lipscomb for a year, as well as running his own practice.
“On my first day there (Gupton College), I told the students I wasn’t familiar with morticians. I asked them why they were interested in this field,” said Hall. “I got some interesting answers, some said it was a lucrative field, one student said they liked death, and another told me that they just wanted inspiration for their novel series.”
Hall was raised in Knoxville. He grew up playing baseball, which made him want to do something in the medical field that would help athletes.
Hall went to Lipscomb for his undergraduate degree, and he played on their baseball team.
While at Lipscomb, he fell in love with medical missions. He has been on more than 20 trips and has led 10. Hall says he has been lucky to be able to go to places like Guatemala, Peru, Honduras and Nicaragua.
“At Lipscomb, you had to do an eight-week internship, so I did a medical evangelical training program in Guatemala,” he said. “I learned real quick I didn’t want to be a doctor. I pulled teeth, did colon exams, and I did all these things that proved I picked the right degree.”
Hall was accepted into the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s graduate physical therapy program and earned his doctorate in physical therapy in May of 2011.
Hall has helped restructure exercise science curriculum at Trevecca as well as bring new interest to the program.
“The most beneficial thing he instilled in me was to not be concerned with the letter of the grades,” said Ben Moroney, a former student. “He taught me how to really strive to gain an understanding of the concepts and to think outside the box.”
Hall has helped in the development of the new master of science in human performance and fitness degree. This new graduate program is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2023.
“I would say Dr. Hall is probably the most influential teacher I have ever had,” said Jenna Bivens, a former student. “I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am for him. He helped me figure out PA school was the right place for me.”