Over the last 17 years, the University of Northern Colorado has seen two presidents, five provosts, five deans and even the physical campus itself has changed, but now, the departments of journalism and media studies is losing one of its predominant professors. Dale Edwards is retiring at the end of the semester.
Edwards joined UNC in 2005, and since then, he’s been influencing, teaching and guiding the students in the journalism program. He joined as a term assistant professor, but since then has become a full professor as well as a student adviser for the department.
While he has grown to love Colorado, he initially only came here for the job. He had been applying to colleges around the country and ended up choosing UNC. While he was open to other opportunities, he said there were some places that he wouldn’t go. The University of Alaska Fairbanks reached out to Edwards to teach there, but he declined the offer. He said that he knew at the time that he would never live in Alaska, so even though UAF offered to fly him out for the interview, he didn’t take the job.
Even though he wasn’t a professor before he joined UNC, he had been teaching at other colleges. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he was a voice and presentation coach and a graduate assistant instructor, and at Treasure Valley Community College in Oregon, he was a producer, adjunct instructor and the director of library services. While he was at TVCC, he also was an anchor and play-by-play announcer.
Before he was a professor, he was an anchor, reporter and producer at KBYU-TV, a program director at KSUB-AM-FM and a news director at KRPX-AM. He was also a sports play-by-play announcer at both KSUB-AM-FM and KRPX-AM.
He said that Colorado was distinct from where he’s been before. Compared to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Northern Colorado is a much smaller school. That required him to be a much more versatile professor, but also allowed him to know his students better. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill didn’t need him to teach outside of his expertise, but the University of Northern Colorado required him to grow past what he knew and teach outside of his comfort zone. For example, this semester is his first time teaching the Impact of Mass Media class.
While Edwards enjoyed the news business, he said that out of all the things he’s done, being a professor is his favorite.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in higher education,” Edwards said. “I would not want to go back to working live in the business again. I’m past that. It’s a stage in your life and I’m too old.”
He said that his favorite occupation has changed throughout the stages of his life. While he reminisced on his days in the industry, he said that as he got older and had his priorities change, being a professor suited him much better.
Ashe Hajek, who was a student of Edwards and has him as an adviser, said that she’s going to miss him. She’s a senior majoring in journalism at UNC and had Media Law with Edwards last semester.
“He is so attentive,” Hajek said. “You can tell when he’s passionate about the subject, and I think that really lends way for students to also care about him and the subject he’s teaching.”
Hajek said that when she was taking a class with Edwards, his passion really ignited her interest. While she is going to miss him, she said that she was happy for Edwards.
“He deserves it,” Hajek said about his retirement. “He’s done so much for the faculty of the department, and he’s done so much for the students of the department, that he really needs to start putting himself first. And I’m really happy that he’s doing that.”
Hajek said that she has grown attached to Edwards. She said that she enjoyed his class and wishes that he gets to use his retirement to its fullest.
Christopher Ashworth also enjoyed Edwards’ class. He is a senior with a minor in media studies, and he is taking Impact of Mass Media with Edwards. He said that he agrees with Hajek’s point of view.
“While I haven’t been with the journalism program long, working with Edwards has been a pleasure. His class and way of teaching are interesting and are great,” Ashworth said.
Hajek’s hopes for Edwards will probably come true. He already has plans for his retirement. He’s going on a road trip with his wife, which he never got to do because of his job. They wanted to see the leaves change in the Northeast, but the school schedule never allowed him to do so. He also plans to do some volunteering and possibly teach a class as an adjunct professor.
While he said he’s ready for retirement, he also said he’s going to miss the community on campus.
“I’m going to miss the people I work with, whom I’ve gotten to really appreciate and be fond of, and I’m going to miss working with the students,” Edwards said. “That’s probably what’s kept me young for the last 25 or 30 years.”