Ben Kilpatrick, M.A.
Bolivar, MO 65613
Ben Kilpatrick teaches journalism and communication classes at SBU. He also advises the student newspaper, The Omnibus. He holds a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Communication studies from Baylor University. He is married to Dr. Shelley D. Kilpatrick, who teaches in the behavioral sciences department at SBU. They have a son, Samuel, who was born in Jan. 2010.
Why SBU? First of all, we have wonderful students at SBU and working with them is a delight. It's great to be able to get to know your students as more than a number and watch them as they grow into the people they are meant to be. Second, SBU is a place where faith is celebrated and encouraged rather than being shunted to the sidelines. One of the most rewarding opportunities we've had at SBU has been leading two mission trips to Zambia, Africa.
Why communication? Communication is a great discipline to study because of its broad scope. I enjoy it because it is both theoretical and practical, and allows students to explore human interaction from a global scale right down to one-on-one settings. It is an ancient discipline, but also engages the leading edge of technological change. Whatever career one chooses, the study of communication can make that career more fulfilling.
What about journalism? Often times we don't realize just how important something is unless it isn't there. The right to criticize our government and speak our minds on any issue is a birthright we often take for granted in the United States, but while I was growing up in Zambia, Africa, the press was censored and basically acted as the propaganda arm of the government. Seeing that gave me a great appreciation for the rights embodied in the First Amendment.
Our country, and our world, needs people who will seek out the truth and make it known. Technical skills are important, but without an ethical foundation they are pointless, and even dangerous. Today, the need for dedicatied, ethical journalists has never been greater. I think SBU is well positioned to do this because of its commitment to integrating faith and learning. It is my hope that those SBU students who go into careers in journalism will embody the best traditions of excellence and evenhandedness.
What do you do when you aren't teaching classes? One of my responsibilities is advising the student newspaper, The Omnibus. Students produce about 12 issues each semester and gain practical experience in journalism that prepares them for jobs in their field. Helping students as they put together a real newspaper that means something outisde of the classroom setting is quite rewarding.
I also love spending time teaching our son Samuel, who was born in Jan 2010, how to communicate. I enjoy helping out at church with the four-year-old choir and singing in the church choir at the First Baptist Church in Bolivar. If you don't find me doing one of those things, I'll probably be cooking something.
What are some interesting facts about you? I was born in Lusaka, Zambia, and have lived in three countries and five states. I once moved from the county in the United States with the second worst traffic--Montgomery County, Md.--to the county with the worst traffic in the country--Los Angeles County, Calif. While I enjoy teaching the introduction to public speaking class, I never actually took one in college. Instead, I took a debate class.