Sam Finch is passionate about film and video

Film and video guru: Sam Finch, lecturer of mass media, appreciates the passion shown by Washburn's film and video students. This characteristic was a strong contributor when Finch made the decision to teach in Topeka.

Sam Finch, lecturer of mass media, has been teaching film and video at Washburn since fall 2018.

"Film and video have always been my passion. This [passion] allows me to be more excited and invested in what I am teaching," said Finch.

Finch comes from Michigan, and has a plethora of international experience. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University and Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University. After graduating from Michigan State University, he worked at San Francisco in a film laboratory. Then Finch went to South Korea where he taught English for eleven years.

“What I gained from teaching English in South Korea was a teaching philosophy,” said Finch. “I learned how to approach education. I learned that not all students learn the same. That has served me really well at Washburn.”

When Finch started his journey at Washburn, he designed a studio production class where students learn about the equipment that’s involved in live television productions. Additionally, Finch teaches film editing/theory and introduction to mass media.

“I understand my film and video students much more because I see a lot of myself in them,” said Finch.

Before he started teaching at Washburn, Finch met some film students who brought him to campus to do a series of interviews. It was then that he realized Washburn would be a possible fit.

“The film students really impressed me,” said Finch. “They were generally interested in films. They were very smart and very motivated and I thought 'these are the type of students that I want to teach.'”

This shared passion for film led the mass media department to develop a new event, the Washburn International Film Institute Festival (WIFI), that was originally created by Matt Nyquist during a conversation with two-time Emmy-award winning film director Allan Holzman.

Finch was the Content Director for WIFI, which ran from April 11 to 13. He led the selection committee who reviewed a total of nearly 2,000 films which was eventually dwindled down to around 90-100 selections.

"It was a big job but it was a lot of fun and a good learning experience," said Finch.

In the studio production class and as part of the WIFI festival, students did a live interview with Holzman. When Finch proposed the idea of doing the live interview production, students immediately said “yes” and did it on top of their class projects.

“They did it because they [the students] were truly interested in gaining the experience as film professionals,” said Finch.

Jake Roberts, a sophomore criminal justice major, is taking Introduction to Mass Media with Finch.

“I like the way he runs his class,” said Roberts. “It’s very easy to understand and follow. Finch doesn’t just lecture but he allows for productive discussion.”

Outside of class, Finch is a screenwriter. This summer, he will focus on writing screen plays. His next step is to prepare and design curriculum for next fall semester.

“Here [at Washburn] I wake up excited to teach every day,” said Finch. “The feeling of imparting my knowledge onto my film students is very exciting and rewarding.”

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