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Paul Van Hulle


Paul Van Hulle

Associate Professor, Manufacturing Technology

Norco College School of Applied Technologies & Apprenticeships

Paul Van Hulle tells his students all the time that if he can be a success, they can be one as well. That statement is normally met with confusion, until they learn that he has struggled many years with dyslexia. Having a learning disability, however, did not stop him from getting his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts from California State University, Los Angeles, or his Master’s degree in Career and Technical Education from California State University, San Bernardino. He credits the Disability Resource Center (DRC) as being invaluable to him during his college years. Nor did having dyslexia prevent him from teaching for the past 20 years. In fact, Paul’s efforts to overcome his circumstances are the reason why he is such a hands-on teacher, and why he has dedicated his life to education. “Back then, when you were diagnosed with dyslexia, it’s like that was it, your opportunities were limited,” Paul says. “There was a time when school counselors didn’t even know what learning disabilities were, never mind how to help students who showed signs of having them. My middle school counselor enraged my mother when she told her that I was stupid, and that there was nothing the school could do about it. I refused to buy into that though, and I make sure that my own students don’t buy into any doubt thrown their way either.”

Unlike people that find their callings during or after college, Paul knew early on that he wanted to be a teacher, and actually began teaching in high school. One of his instructors asked him to learn AutoCAD, the software for design and drafting, and handed him a giant textbook. Two months later, Paul had taught himself the entire textbook, so his teacher asked if he could teach him and the rest of the class how to use the program as well. He has been at the head of classrooms ever since. For a time, those classrooms were in a middle school, until one of his own students told him that his talents were being wasted at the middle school level.

“One of the 8 graders in my exploring technologies class came in one day and told me that I needed to be teaching at the collegiate level, and that she had found me a new job,” Paul laughs. “The job was with her father teaching drafting and machining at Mt. San Jacinto Community College. It was a huge risk, I took an enormous pay cut when I quit my full-time job for a part-time one. It paid off though and her father became a fantastic mentor, one who guided and supported me as I went for my Master’s while teaching.” Eventually Paul made his way to Norco College, where he has been for the past decade. At Norco College, he teaches a wide array of classes including Computer Numerical Control Machine Setup and Operation, Program Writing for Computer Numerical Control machines, Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems, Robotics for Manufacturing, Computer Aided Manufacturing (Mastercam), Programmable Logic Controllers, and Drafting.

“The best part of teaching is seeing my students improve their lives, whether that’s moving forward with their careers or creating entirely new opportunities for themselves,” says Paul. “I have students that come to me in dire situations, people whose circumstances demand that they get a vocation now. It’s an amazing feeling to guide them through that, and to watch them turn those circumstances into possibilities, like I did.”

When not in the classroom, Paul often practices martial arts including Aikido and Ninjitsu, and is heavily involved with his church, once serving as a certified youth minister. He is also a Scout Leader for the Boy Scouts, guiding his troop through everything from community service activities at the church to intensive, 80-mile overnight hiking trips. A longtime woodworker, Paul made all the furniture in his house, including four Morris Craftsman chairs!

To view the Manufacturing program page, click here.


Norco College