Ask the professor: Rik Andersen


Photo by: Emily Merrill

The Prairie News brings you Ask the Professor, a brand new biweekly column.

Rik Andersen is a part time instructor (PTI) for West Texas A&M University’s Department of Communication. Rik graduated from WTAMU with a Bachelor’s degree in applied arts and a Master’s degree in communication. He has been a photographer for the university for 28 years after working in the field 15 years prior.

Q: How were you approached in being asked to come teach here at WTAMU?

A: I was approached because there were people who had the photography class in their degree plan, but it hadn’t been taught for several years because at that time it was chemical photography, darkroom.I was the only one on campus who knew how to work in a darkroom. I taught it one semester, and the next semester is when everything went digital. So, I continue teaching that.

Q: How has working in the field helped with your teaching?

A: I feel like people should work in their industry if they can before they teach so they understand the industry. They don’t only understand it from an academic point of view, but they have real world experience.

Q: For anyone who is wanting to teach, but not obtain their doctorate degree, how do you think that this position you’re in is available for them?

A: The university, as I understand it, if they need a position, they’ll go seek it out. They are going to look for people with master’s degrees. Since a lot of the master’s degrees that the positions that we need are awarded here, we know the students, the university knows who it is. If you’re wanting to stay in academia, I would say to go ahead and complete your doctoral degree.

Q: What is the biggest difference between PTIs and doctoral professors?

A: I think the research is probably the biggest difference and that’s what would take more time and effort and committees. As a part time instructor, I developed my class, I teach my class I grade papers, but I don’t have to serve on committees and I don’t have to do research.