Dan Flenniken
Dan Flenniken


Faculty profile: Dan Flenniken

There’s a rumor going around Colorado Mesa University that Dan Flenniken, associate professor of mass communication, is retiring. The rumor is true… kind of. “The Board of Trustees approved [my retirement], but it’s a transitional deal,” he said. “I’ll be here through fall full-time, and then next spring I’ll go transitional for a year. So you haven’t seen the last of me.”

It’s good timing for the mass communication program director. The program recently hired two new faculty members, including an alumna of CMU, who start next fall. “We’re hiring two great faculty members. It kind of felt like if we got that done, the transition is easier to think about,” Flenniken said.

His career has been one of intersecting circles — his first job after obtaining his master’s degree in radio and television from the University of Colorado was teaching media to high school students in Clear Creek County, Colorado. Eventually, he would join the Colorado Mesa University faculty on the Bishop Campus, teaching the high school media technology program. Along the way he worked in higher education at the State University of New York and for the Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting System (RMPBS). And PBS is what brought him back to higher ed years later.

He was working as the statewide education manager for RMPBS, commuting regularly from the Front Range to work with Mesa County Valley School District 51, when the KRMJ station manager position opened on the Bishop Campus. His family relocated to the West Slope and he held both jobs for the next five years. In 2003, he took on the high school media technology program. Two years later he began teaching on CMU’s main campus. He never left RMPBS far behind, though.

Today, mass communication students gain first-hand experience in the RMPBS studio in Escalante Hall. This practical application aligns closely with part of his teaching philosophy. “Being hands-on is so important in our field,” Flenniken said. “I’m not the theory guy. I pretty much think that if we can apply it and you can see it in real life applications, that’s good.”

The other half of Flenniken’s teaching philosophy will be the thing his students remember when he eventually leaves CMU. “Dr. [Kerry] Youngblood, who was my first mentor and supervisor at the Bishop Campus, said, ‘They’ll probably never remember what you taught them, but they’ll always remember how you treated them,’” said Flenniken. “That’s stuck with me and I think it’s really true. What made a difference in my higher ed career were the people who showed me they valued my abilities. I’ve always tried to live up to that.”

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