Pop culture and music – these are two areas of communications that CFAC adjunct faculty member Scott Church finds fascinating and has thus dedicated his career.
“I spend a lot of time making music, doing research on music and pop culture and spending a lot of time with my family,” he said.
Church grew up in Denver, Colorado and eventually decided to spend his undergraduate years studying political science at BYU. Reflecting on his undergrad education, Church noted the lasting influence of Ralph Hancock, a professor of political science at BYU who taught him political philosophy.
“Classes from him were very rigorous,” he explained. “That was intimidating to me but I found later that that prepared me for my graduate school experience. I appreciated the rigor and thought that came out of those classes.”
After graduation, Church took a job in the banking industry. He also spent time working in the Utah House of Representatives as an assistant to the Speaker of the House in 2006. After a one year hiatus from school, he decided to return to pursue a career in academia.
“I missed the chance to learn, and I missed the chance to study. I never thought I would, but I did and I shifted my career from political science to communication, and I really liked it,” Church said.
During his first semester in his master’s program, one of his professors took interest in Church’s writing and proposed the idea of working alongside Church to compose a research paper that later would be accepted and presented at a conference in Chicago, Church knew from that point that he was in love with academics and teaching, a realization that led him to a PhD program in Nebraska.
Since receiving his doctorate, Church is as happy as ever and still feels a strong tie to academia.
“My favorite part of teaching is definitely mentoring, helping students with papers and giving them ideas. The serendipitous insights that come from dialogue and brainstorming with each other…get me excited,” he said.
Currently, Church teaches Mass Communications and Society, Popular Culture and Media, and Public Speaking.
“I like teaching the intro class the best because these are new students to BYU,” Church said. “Many of them talk to me afterwards and tell me that the class has made them excited about the communications industry.”
Church also stressed the importance of students’ ability to articulate their understanding of media concepts from a spiritual perspective.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that BYU’s motto is ‘Enter to learn, go forth to serve.’ BYU wants us to go and be leaders in other places when we leave here, so understanding these concepts from a spiritual perspective will help us to be assets to our communities in the future.”
Church and his wife Heather are the parents of three children and are expecting another in June.