Dr. Northup is a professor at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. He lived in LA for seven years where he wrote in the entertainment industry. After writing for television, he decided to study the effects that watching television has on an individual. He currently teaches a documentary film class and persuasion.
Q: What made you want to be a professor?
A: It’s always something I’ve been interested in. I’ve had a lot of great professors who inspired me.
Q: What do you like most about being a professor?
A: One really nice thing is that we have a lot of freedom to do what interests us. Out of that freedom comes a lot of creativity. I teach a documentary film class and the focus of the documentary projects that the students do is food. And that’s purely an interest of mine – just food in general. So that’s a really great experience, to take a passion of mine and translate it into a classroom experience.
Q: How do you enjoy living on-campus so far and what have been the major benefits?
A: Getting to interact with other departments, such as, student life, student housing and residential life. We have a lot of people on campus who are so dedicated to the students and seeing them succeed. My daughter really gets the best deal. Now she’s surrounded by so many people that give her a lot of attention, and so this dorm has turned into her giant seven-story playground
Q: Do you have any tips for students on how to be successful?
A: First thing, go to class. It sounds ridiculous but it’s very true. Second thing is getting to know the professor. If you get to know them, it becomes easier to talk to them. Just go to their office hours and introduce yourself.
Q: What has been your favorite experience as a professor so far?
A: What was really cool was the documentaries from last fall. We held a screening at a local nonprofit here and the place was packed to the point there were people standing. It was a lot of work to put that event together and to be able to show the students’ documentaries to a packed room was a really neat experience.
Q: What do you know now that you wished you knew as a student?
A: If I went back I think I would try to be more involved in some of those student groups, especially related to my major. I think there are so many advantages to doing that. It gives you this group of people who are all interested in the same things. Now that I’ve interacted and seen what they do, I think it’s a really great way to make friends and give yourself something to do that you’re interested in.