John Hancock: A unique professor

In his time working at UMHB, professor John Hancock has become notorious for his unique characteristics and teaching style.      In his time working at UMHB, professor John Hancock has become notorious for his unique characteristics and teaching style.       For example if a student walks into his class late, they will hear commentary from him that provides a laugh, such as: “And that, class, is how to win 1 million dollars. Oh hello, I can’t believe you missed that.”  Junior graphic design major, Mikala Mulligan said, “Like a lot of other art professors I’ve known, he has that blunt sense of humor, but he doesn’t come off as completely sarcastic,”  “It’s very humorous and it’s fun to play along with. It’s a fun experience. Don’t come in with common sense, just don’t.” Professor Hancock was first introduced to the art world by his brother in college. After experiencing making a print for the first time, he switched to being an art major and never turned back. After graduating, he taught for a while as a sabbatical replacement at Oklahoma State University. Then Hancock worked as a commercial artist in Waco and later moved to the Belton area. See Art, pg. 3Working on his own for some time, he had grown close to those in the art community, such as department chair of the art department, Hershall Seals.

While out grocery shopping one day, he bumped into Professor Seals.“I saw Hershall at the grocery store and he asked me if I still made baskets and knew how, so he said: ‘here, teach fiber arts,’” Hancock said. “I was an adjunct, so I’d work my commercial art job then after clocking out I’d teach for a few hours. Then I just stuck, and here I am now.” While at the university, Professor Hancock has made a lasting impression with many of the students. His humor is a mix of sarcasm and satire, and he can often be spotted around the art department in a dark smock, carrying his brown coffee mug. Even more iconic: his unruly hair. His caring nature is also widely appreciated. “It’s been a pretty unusual class experience, I’d have to say.” said Junior Graphic Design Mikala Mulligan when asked about her experience as a student of Hancock’s. “Usually there’s the syllabus and set times for things, but his classes are more of a learn how to craft things yourself instead of him having to tell you how to do it.” “I think Professor Hancock is an impactful teacher.” said Nan Dickson, former dean of the art department.

“It’s just him. He is creative, talented, brilliant and caring. He takes time for his students and is always willing to help and encourage. He helps students discover by being eager to experiment with new ideas and methods.”  In his Photography 2 class, Professor Hancock is teaching his students how to work film photography in a unique way. From bird houses to oatmeal cans, he helped each of his students to build a working film pinhole camera. The process teaches students about important functions of a camera, such as its aperture, f-stop, and shutter speed. These functions are what help create and control the elements in pictures, such as the amount of focus and light.  By learning their processes on a personal home-made camera, the hope is that the students will be able to apply what they learned to digital cameras. “My big concern is the students,” Hancock said, taking their finances into consideration in his plan.

“I understand that it can be a lot to buy and I wouldn’t want them to have to spend so much on just my class. So building our own camera is a better way financially to learn film. Also, it’s a cool learning experience to say you’ve built a functioning camera,” Hancock said.From working at a big 12 university to the small Baptist campus that is UMHB, Professor Hancock has become an integral part of the art community on campus. With a curiosity to learn about new techniques and willingness to help on new projects, students know to go to Hancock for their unique and strange projects.“I know I can’t affect every person the same,” said Professor Hancock. “but those I do affect I can stand behind, and I’m sure they’ll appreciate that too. I’m not here to teach, I’m here to share, that way we all learn together.”

Author: Jasmin Ortiz

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