Communication Connection

Friends of Com Newsletter

Faculty Profiles

The Secret Lives of COM Professors

Friday, June 13, 2014

By: Allen Wooten

You know what they cover and have seen them in class, but what do your professors do when they aren't teaching? Revealing the secret lives of COM professors.

They teach our classes, advise our clubs, and push the limits of our understanding. Chances are you've got a few professors you love and a few you'd rather not hang around with. Believe it or not though, they exist after the clock ticks off those final minutes of class, and not just for office hours.

When the work is done, many professors love to kick back almost as much as students do. Three professors were interviewed and asked a series of questions regarding how they spend their free time. Their responses may just shock you.

David Bollinger

Dr. Bollinger enjoys gardening and both deep-sea and freshwater fishing, but spends most of his free time acting and playing music. He was classically trained in music and played semi-professionally in a band called Freehand during the 80s. He's a quadruple threat on vocals, guitar, keyboard and electric violin. He is currently a member of the band, Via. He has also done quite a bit of theatre in downtown Wilmington. He acted in the play In the Next Room, which was nominated for Best Play of the Year at the most recent Wilmington Theatre Awards. He's performed in various supporting and extra roles on film, including Captain Pike on Star Trek and is a frequent extra for Under the Dome. If you want to know more about his work, check out his LinkedIn profile at

For every actor out there, there's a movie buff to complement them. That's where Dr. Roberts comes in.

Chadwick Roberts

Dr. Roberts loves movies and theatre. He especially loves Netflix, and enjoys the original series House of Cards in particular. Even after years living in Wilmington, one of his favorite trips is still downtown Wilmington for live theatre and good movies. He enjoys going to Cinematique, a series of classic, foreign, and notable movies shown regularly in Thalian Hall. "I'm a tourist in my own town" Dr. Roberts says. He feels most of what he does in his free time relates back to his job as a professor. For Dr. Roberts, being off the clock doesn't mean being off his game. He constantly searches for new and upcoming material for his media classes. "That's the great thing about doing something you love and appreciate. You don't mind being on all the time," Dr. Roberts says. In addition of all of this, he frequently goes to the Rec Center between lessons as a refresher and to stay healthy.

"Where did you get the idea of going between your lectures?" I asked Dr. Roberts as he went to grab his gym bag. Dr. Roberts laughed as he recalled an image of Dr. Olsen owning a few of his students in a game of basketball.

Richard Olsen

Dr. Olsen spends some of his free time playing keyboard and singing for The Schoolboys and the other part schooling people on the basketball court. In fact, Dr. Olsen loves playing basketball with students. He religiously goes to the Rec Center at noon to shoot hoops. "It's great to let students see a different side of me and to see a different side of them" he says. He recounted to me a story of how one of his students earned his very own nickname from a famous Olsen hot streak. "I'm going to call you Candlestick, because I just lit you up!" Dr. Olsen said, laughing as he recalled the good-natured smack talk between him and his student. When he's not shooting hoops, he's practicing his keyboard and preparing for his band's next gig. While talking about the dynamic of the band, he reminds students that the communication doesn't stop when you get out of class. "The band is actually an ongoing group project," Dr. Olsen says.

All three professors said that they're pretty much the same person in and out of the classroom but are more open and relaxed outside of it. "What you see is what you get," Dr. Bollinger says. Professors are dynamic people. I noticed this even as I was interviewing them. Each time, I introduced myself and made some small talk about classes, and each time the professors would smile and laugh a bit and refer to the papers on their desk in need of grading as their free time. As each interview progressed, the smiles cracked and became genuine as each professor talked about what they loved. You see, COM professors don't lead top secret lives. Within just these three interviews alone, I listened to a new band and new style of music, was given multiple suggestions for movies and plays, and was invited to play basketball at the Rec Center. Each has their own passions, ones they're more than willing to share with students.