Jim Herstine

Dr. Herstine is now Professor Emeritus at University of North Carolina Wilmington. I began my career in academia believing my purpose was to serve as a teacher and encourager of students. I ended my career finding that students could encourage me as much or more than I encouraged them. I retired on June 30, 2018 after teaching almost 40 years. I taught my first college class at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall 1978. I taught my last class as a tenured professor at UNC Wilmington during the 2018 summer session. I have taught more than 5,000 students at 3 different universities in over 180 classes. But that does not begin to tell the whole story of my journey. My journey began with me believing I had the answers to life’s questions and the responsibility to teach those answers to the students in my classes. My Christian background had given me a deep sense of compassion for others. I wanted to live in such a way as to lift the hearts and souls of young, impressionable college students and help them through life’s challenges, while strengthening their walk with Christ. What I discovered was that I needed the example of Christ’s compassion, uplifting and strengthening just as much as the students. I always let my students know I was a Christian and I was there to assist them in any way I could. Anytime I discovered a student struggling with an issue, I offered that student my thoughts and prayers and an opportunity to talk if they so desired. But over the years, more and more students were encouraging, counseling, and praying for me! I may have been helping one at a time, but MANY were always coming forward to help me. Over the years anytime I struggled, it was the students who came to my assistance with encouragement. They showed me a strength and understanding that always put my feet back onto the proper path and lifted me up. They reminded me God is always there and always loves me and that I may not know God’s mind when I am experiencing a struggle, but He does have a purpose and will never let me down! The example of Christ’s compassion was never more clearly presented to me than in 2014 when my daughter-in-law discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer and was given 18 months to live. We were devastated and could not understand why this was happening to a 35- year-old mother of 2 young boys. What happened then was nothing short of a miracle. My daughter-in-law started a vigorous program of chemotherapy. Several of my students formed a prayer chain to pray daily for my daughter-in-law and our family. Upon the completion of the chemotherapy the doctors reported all signs of the cancer were gone and she is fully recovered and hopefully will be declared cancer free in another 7 months. I believe God heard the prayers of the students! I encourage all teachers to openly acknowledge in the classroom they are Christians and to offer yourselves to your students. Then wait and experience the wonderful joys and blessings your students will bring into your life as they teach and encourage you!

My Life

Favorite Quote

The greatest teacher is failure!

Friends describe me

Enthusiasist, detail oriented, reliable, compassionate and youthful

My hobbies

Kayaking, hiking, camping and sports

Fantasy dinner guests

Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa and my father

Best advice I ever received

Think about what you can live with and what you can die without

My undergrad alma mater

Wake Forest University

My worst subject in school


In college I drove

Pontiac Le Mans

If I weren't a professor, I would

Be a basketball coach

Favorite books

Lincoln, Team of Rivals and the Bible

Favorite movies

Big, Pete's Dragon and The Quiet Man

Favorite city

Munich, Germany

Favorite coffee

Never drink the stuff

Nobody knows I

I can't think of anything that nobody knows about me

My latest accomplishment

I retired on June 30, 2018

Current Research