David R. Coon, Ph.D., is an associate professor of media studies and the Culture, Arts and Communication division vice chair here at UW Tacoma. He brings a passion for film and media into the classroom, and enjoys the unique perspectives his students offer. Within his busy schedule, he sat down with the Ledger to tell us a little about himself and his hobbies.
WHERE DID YOU ATTEND COLLEGE, AND WHAT WAS YOUR FOCUS IN STUDY?
I got my bachelor’s degrees in business administration and mass communication from Miami University, and within the communication program I had an emphasis on video production. In the business program, my emphasis was on marketing. After working for a few years, I went back to school and got my master’s degree in popular culture from Bowling Green State University and from there I did my Ph.D. in communication and culture with a minor in gender studies at Indiana University.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO STUDY WHAT YOU STUDY?
It was actually a family trip to Universal Studios that led to a fascination with film and television editing. I started doing some of my own editing and shooting and kind of just playing with video production and decided that’s what I really wanted to do. So I ended up shifting my focus in college to emphasize media production, kept the business degree as a backup, and pursued film and media production for a few years after college. While I enjoyed working on that, I began to realize that I missed the opportunity to study and analyze media. I enjoyed producing videos, but I was always doing it for someone else. So that’s when I decided to go back to graduate school.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT TEACHING AT UWT?
Teaching allows me to keep learning, which I really enjoy. I always get to explore new things. The students here come from such a wide variety of backgrounds and the perspectives they bring to what we’re studying make things very interesting. I really enjoy the variety of perspectives offered by the members of our campus community.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES?
Where did hobbies go? One of the challenges is that activities that a lot of people do in their free time is so tied to my work … I enjoy going to movies, but it’s hard to completely separate that from my work. I enjoy watching TV but, often tied to work. So to get completely away from work, I enjoy running, occasionally hiking. I don’t know that I enjoy gardening, but the yard gets out of control pretty quickly, so I put time into that to keep the neighbors from disliking me.
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER UNDERGRAD STUDENTS?
I would encourage people to take advantage of the opportunities offered on campus that aren’t directly tied to classes. Whether it’s student organizations or lectures, or events that happen on campus in the evenings, or even just things that are going on around town that might build on what’s going on in classes but not be directly tied to it. I know a lot of students have jobs and they have families, and so sometimes just managing their course work is all they really have time for, but there’s a lot more to learning beyond that. I know, for me as an undergraduate, I think the most valuable things I learned were through the extracurricular activities I was involved with. Not to discount what goes on in courses, of course, but seeking out additional learning opportunities that will enhance coursework is definitely worthwhile.
Fun Facts About Dr. Coon:
• He used to be involved in improvisational theater and improv comedy, and created a class on improv theater you can take here at UW Tacoma!
• He loves roller coasters and will travel a long distance for a good one.
• His favorite films include “American Beauty,” “A Fish Called Wanda” and “Thelma and Louise.”
• His favorite TV shows include “American Horror Story,” “Jeopardy!” and “Twin Peaks,” which is his all time favorite. Dr. Coon also watches a lot of “The Golden Girls,” which he finds “soothing.”