Julie Hite Retirement

Julie M. Hite received her PhD in business administration with a specialization in strategic management and entrepreneurship from the University of Utah. She came to the BYU Educational Leadership and Foundations Department in 2000, where she was advanced to full professor in 2013. She primarily taught strategic organizational leadership in educational organizations and qualitative data analysis. During her 18 years in the department, she has served in many leadership capacities including Associate Department Chair, Graduate Program Coordinator, and as a member of the Executive, Faculty, and Resource Committees, to name just a few. She also chaired the Assessment and Evaluation Committee and was responsible for preparing several department program accreditation reports. Leading the program accreditation efforts was a huge undertaking, and our department will always be grateful for her contributions.  

Julie’s service to the McKay School of Education and BYU is just as impressive. She chaired the McKay School Rank and Status Committee, was a member of the Public Relations Committee and the Research Committee, and served as an ORCA reviewer. Julie also served the university as a member of the BYU IRB Committee and as the associate director of the BYU Uganda International Volunteers Program through the Kennedy Center. In her work as co-director of the BYU Uganda International Volunteers program and the EdLF Uganda Project, over 120 students participated as research assistants in the field in Uganda. She provided students an opportunity to have “inspiring learning” experiences even before the term was invented. Over 30 students participated in more structured mentored research experiences in Uganda, including four who completed their dissertation/thesis research and at least 12 with publications based on their field research.  

Julie has published 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and 14 book chapters. A great example of Julie’s exemplary publishing is her 2010 book chapter titled "Strategic Co-opetition: Headteacher Networking in Uganda’s Secondary Schools," in the Harvard Press. The Harvard Press publication is significant for three reasons: (1) this was, literally, the first book ever published addressing social network analysis in education, which means this book and Julie’s chapter stand out as ground-breaking; (2) the chapter on networking in the Ugandan school context demonstrated that Julie used her expertise in doing field work in challenging field-based circumstances to make both theoretical and practical contributions; and (3) Harvard Press is simply an incontestable first-tier book publishing venue.

Julie has also been actively involved in her professional field. She selflessly provided service to the academic community by reviewing journal articles, participating as session chair and discussant, and co-organizing a pre-conference social network research workshop. She has been an avid academic conference presenter at the regional, national, and international levels. Julie has presented papers in four highly competitive and blind peer-review conferences and has delivered 55 national and international peer-reviewed conference presentations. She was invited several times to the Free University (VU) of Amsterdam, Netherlands, to present her work on strategic entrepreneurial networks, network evolution, and relational embeddedness; to participate as a strategic network conference discussant; and to continue her work with her VU research colleagues. Finally, she has been a reviewer for 20 different journals, including earning the distinction of Best Reviewer Award for the Academy of Management, Entrepreneurship Division in both 2000 and 2004. 

As a result of her contributions and expertise, Julie has received multiple awards and opportunities. She received both the McKay School Annual Research Scholar Award and the Faculty Women’s Association Scholarship Award. She was a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar at the Delhi University in India, hosted a Fulbright post-doctoral faculty member in the EdLF department for a year, and is currently serving and will continue to serve as a distinguished professor at Xi’an International Studies University mentoring junior faculty on research development.  

Stemming from their academic research in Ugandan schools, Julie and her husband Steve co-founded TRUE Africa, Inc. (trueafrica.org), a nonprofit education charity that provides school access through sponsorships for orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda to attend primary and secondary school as well as vocational and college programs. This public charity also provides school development for rural community schools, including educational leadership support, physical infrastructure (e.g., classroom buildings, latrines, water, teacher quarters and girl’s dorms), textbooks, and other classroom school supplies. She has a deep dedication to the education of Ugandan children and has traveled to Uganda nine times (for 3–10 weeks each) to provide service and to conduct research.  

In addition to her impressive academic career, Julie is the mother of four beautiful daughters and one son. She and Steve are also the proud grandparents of 13 grandchildren. She is constantly in touch with her family though Facebook, Skype, texts, and Marco Polo. Her family really enjoys being together, even though everyone lives out of state, and they are always planning family reunions, girls’ weekends, and boys’ activities (e.g., BYU football, fishing). For example, a couple of years ago four of her children participated as a team in the Questival challenge in Salt Lake City (and won 17th out of over 300 teams). She views her lovely family as her greatest accomplishment. Julie is also a family history consultant. In her “spare” time, you can always find Julie indexing, researching, and preparing names for the temple.

It is hard to sum up all of Julie’s amazing contributions in a few short paragraphs. She has established an impressive research agenda, is a well-cited network scholar, and has been an early ground-breaker for social network research in education. She is a master teacher and is willing to share her knowledge with others. Best of all, she is a good friend to all of her colleagues and students. She is one of the most intelligent and articulate people around, yet she is able to communicate effectively with everyone. She is able to perceive whether the person comprehends what she is discussing and then either re-phrases the content or uses examples to demonstrate what she is talking about. One of Julie’s strengths is to sit back and listen to a discussion and then summarize the important points for the group. She presents her opinions in a calm, succinct manner, which makes her highly respected by all of her colleagues. 

As you can surmise, Julie Hite is one of a kind. She is able to strike the perfect balance between her work as an avid scholar and researcher and being a warm and caring teacher, colleague, and friend. She is also a dedicated and loving mother. Julie has impeccable character; she is honest, caring, and trustworthy, and can be relied on to do what she says she will do. It will be difficult to have such an important and beloved faculty member retire, but we know that she has many plans for the next chapter in her life. 

Julie, it is with love and respect that we all thank you for your amazing contributions to our department, the McKay School, BYU and to your field. We wish you all the best!