Each summer, David Hof takes a group of undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty to the Pine Ridge reservation, a community plagued with high rates of alcoholism, drug use, poverty and school dropouts. “Many of our young folks haven’t traveled a lot and don’t have diverse experiences, and here we have something that’s six hours away and it plunges them into diversity.” Students and faculty are immersed in the culture of the reservation – participating in sweats, sun dances and visiting schools. The trips are one of many ways Hof promotes hands-on learning.
Hof, who grew up in Holyoke, Colo., received his bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College in 1991 and earned his master’s from Chadron State College in 1992. During graduate school, Hof worked as a graduate assistant and taught undergraduate psychology and graduate level statistics classes. It was then that he realized he wanted to teach. As a therapist, he helps one person at a time. He liked the idea of having a broader impact as a teacher.
Hof, who specializes in treating kids with sexually deviant behaviors, says he related better to young kids, and has always enjoyed treating a younger population. “It’s also because I was that kid. I was the naughty, delinquent kid that got into a lot of trouble. I would have appreciated having a counselor in my life.”
After earning his master’s degree, Hof directed and supervised middle adolescent sex offender program in Northern Minnesota. He then worked as a therapist in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for over three years before beginning his doctoral studies at the University of South Dakota. He earned his educational doctorate in 1999. Hof has taught at UNK since 1999, practices therapy at Michael Burke and Associates. “I still believe that to teach you have to be fresh. You have to be up to date and you have to be doing therapy.”
Hof comes from a family of counselors and educators. His father was a school counselor for 15 years before becoming a dean of student affairs. Hof’s younger brother was a school counselor, then principal, then a superintendent. Hof’s twin brother was a mental health counselor before becoming a school psychologist.
Personally, he enjoys reading, traveling and has been to many countries including Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Dominican Republic and Jamaica, and spending time with his daughter and wife.