Whether you’re in the multimedia communications major or not, you’re bound to have a class with, or at least meet professor Brian Steffen during your academic career at Simpson.
He’s the professor who can inspire you with his vast amount of knowledge and expertise, but he can be the professor who challenges every viewpoint and opinion you have on a particular stance. It’s all for good reason, though. He plays the role of devil’s advocate so students thoroughly research their stance and have the confidence to defend it without second guessing themselves.
Pushing students out of their comfort zone is exactly why each student who graduates through the multimedia communications program has a strong mentality and the matching confidence of someone who graduated from well-known university specifically specializing in the field of communication and media.
Read the Q&A to get to know professor Steffen better and to learn all of the changes made to the department throughout the years.
How long have you been at Simpson College?
I’ve been here since 1989. Longer than most of you have been alive.
How have you seen the department change over the years?
It’s obviously grown a lot. When I started, we had only two faculty members – 1 speech professor and 1 journalism professor. It has grown into a much broader program with more opportunities for students to get involved with The Simpsonian, ID Magazine, PRSSA, Speech & Debate and even Mock Trial.
The most important thing is demonstrating the value of media and communications in a liberal arts environment. There are a lot of liberal arts colleges who don’t believe in this kind of major to offer to their students.
How do students set themselves apart by going through the multimedia communications department?
Our goal is to have students build a sense of confidence in themselves both professionally and academically. We want them to have the confidence and mindset that they can take on anyone, anywhere in the world.
I’ve seen it first hand – nothing stops Simpson students from working on a bigger stage than Des Moines. We have graduates in great jobs in several big cities. We want our students to know they are capable to own that bigger stage.
What do you love most about teaching within this department?
I have never thought of teaching as a job. I get up every morning , and I love doing this. I can truly say I’ve spent my life doing something I love with students I love and seeing them develop and grow over the years.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I had a hole-in-one on the fly at Chester Park golf course on the 8th hole!