Professor of the week: Robert Prince
Years teaching at UAF: 4
What brought you to UAF?
My wife and I were looking for a little adventure. I’d just finished my master’s degree and so we were open to almost anywhere. I was applying to jobs all over the place and it was between UAF and Ohio University. Fairbanks won out because Fairbanks is a little more exciting.
Where were you and what were you doing before you came to UAF?
I was in Michigan working full time making videos and doing documentary filmmaking on the side.
Have you completed any documentaries?
I’ve done a couple. The last one I did is called “Finding Their Own Dance.” It’s about Alutiiq natives in the Kodiak Region of Alaska who have started performing their traditional native dances again after centuries of Russian and American influence tried to strip their culture from them. The documentary talks about the challenges of how, in a way, they had to start from scratch in terms of what their tradition is.
What is your favorite thing about being a UAF professor?
UAF gives me the opportunity to do the two things I love in pretty equal proportion, which is to teach and make documentaries. In other schools I felt like the teaching load was so heavy that I didn’t have enough time to do film making.
What do you do to keep material you teach fun and relevant for your students?
In terms of my video classes I pull from seventeen years of experience making films. In terms of the Introduction to Mass Communication course, I look for things that I feel students would either be surprised by, would find controversial, or are dealing with every day.
Is there a difference between the students at other colleges and those at UAF?
I really like UAF students. I think they feel because they are up here in this weird place that they can be themselves more than other students. I love that I have students who walk around in bare feet all the time. I like the guy who goes around on the unicycle all the time, I mean I’m sorry unicycle is not cool, but he does it every where and I love that!
Tell me something you’ve done in your life that would make your mama proud.
I would have to say donating a kidney freaked my mom out, as any mother would be, so she wasn’t very excited about the idea, but she was very proud.