A typical day in the life of Assistant Professor of Communication, Nick Burns, looks like a marathon. As the coordinator of the Communication Department at SLCC he has a lot of responsibilities but is very much passionate about teaching.
Burns is a full time instructor at SLCC and a part time instructor at the University of Utah, teaching Journalism, Broadcasting, Intercultural Communication and Film Studies. He has been teaching class at SLCC for seven years with three to five classes each semester. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Arts and his Master’s Degree at Oregon State University in Journalism, English and Creative Writing.
“I love helping my students, I try to be conscious with things that they don’t understand,” Burns said.
He thinks that to be a good communicator in life we should apply these tips: “know your message (what you want to communicate) and know your audience, and finally, know yourself.”
Burns affirmed “I have been very happy in higher education, because it’s all about research, and learn about Intercultural Communication.”
Burns grew up in Michigan and has been traveling all around the United States and the world. He is planning to stay in Utah for the rest of his life.
He keeps a quote by Gandhi up in his office, “Be the change you want to be in the world”
The world of journalism is a big part of Burns’ life. Burns became a journalist and used to write fiction and some poetry.
At that time, his girlfriend was the art critic for his campus newspaper. He worked at the campus movie theatre, and his job included editing short critical blurbs that they gave as handouts w/each ticket. The school paper needed a film editor. He applied and they hired him, and a few months later, they offered him the entire Arts section.
He discovered he really liked the pace of journalism, the quick deadlines and turnaround time: write, edit, publish, it’s done and then begin again. He went on to write for another campus newspaper while in grad school, then he wrote for a couple alternative newspapers and web sites.
Burns then got into radio, and also some TV. He actually has a show every Tuesday at 6 pm on KSL.
Burns has seen George Seldes, an independent journalist who eventually published his own left-leaning newsletter, as a mentor and a good influence. In 1940 Seldes was the first journalist to write the story about smoking causing cancer, when no other news outlet would touch the story. Burns admires his independence, his unique view, and that the fact that he never compromised.
He told the stories that others would not write, which is what Burns tries to do nowadays on KSL.
Burns is convinced that, in the future, communication will increase; news and prints will not go away. In the future, there will be more contents online, and the intercultural communication will improve. Nick Burns is a wonderful teacher who taught his students with passion, emotion and energy.