Faculty Spotlight: Jonathan Chism, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor of History

“As a professor, I love and appreciate the opportunity to be a mentor to young men and to young women beyond just covering the course content.”

Jonathan Chism loves being able to inspire and motivate students from multiple backgrounds on their journey and show them they too can achieve.

“As a professor, I love and appreciate the opportunity to be a mentor to young men and to young women beyond just covering the course content.”

Growing up in Pine Bluff, Ark., Jonathan moved to Houston and earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from Rice University. While at Rice, he played football and was a varsity athlete. He is also an ordained minister and earned his Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University.

In addition to teaching at UHD, Jonathan is a fellow for The Center for Critical Race Studies, collaborates with UHD’s Men of L.E.G.A.C.I. Student Success Program and volunteers with the Urban Enrichment Institute, an organization serving economically distressed neighborhoods to overcome urban problems of crime, drug abuse, school dropout, gang violence and high teen pregnancy rates.

“I volunteer to help bridge the gap between the Fifth Ward community and UHD… to help students take an interest.”

As fellow for The Center for Critical Race Studies, Jonathan organized the 2019 Reflecting Black Symposium, a national symposium hosted by UHD that commemorated the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first documented Africans to North America. He found the experience extremely rewarding.

At UHD, Jonathan teaches History of Religion in the United States, History of Race and Sports and African American History. He’s also taken on a new course in the past year, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, a survey of civil rights history.

“I appreciate the opportunity of being in a small campus setting and love the family feel. I really get to know my colleagues and students.” He finds it especially helpful that UHD faculty are not as competitive with one another and instead work to together for the benefit of their students.

Jonathan also appreciates the very diverse student body and increasingly diverse faculty. He believes you can learn a lot from different people’s experiences.

Very few know that a few years ago Jonathan’s life and experiences changed with the birth of his son.

“I have a son on the Autism spectrum. Being a parent to him has expanded my view to the challenges many with various disabilities face. It has been transforming.”

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