File returns to Simpson to teach

by Amanda Hintgen

Patrick C. File, once a student at Simpson College, has now returned as a one-year visiting assistant professor in the Communication Department, teaching Media Law and Intro to Mass Communication.

File graduated from Simpson in 2002, he studied History and Journalism Mass Communication. File is currently finishing his PhD in Mass Communication from The University of Minnesota. During his high school experience in Mount Pleasant, IA, File participated in the yearbook and the student newspaper. File transferred to Simpson after his freshmen year of college.

“As strange as this may seem, the student newspaper and the jazz band met at the same time and I wanted to be involved in both and there was really no way to do that,” File said. “I decided to be in the jazz band and felt like I was really missing out on the opportunity to work with the newspaper and do journalism, which is something that I really wanted to do.”

During his college search, File had already looked into Simpson and decided to think about transferring. Admissions directed File to Professor Brian Steffen who assured File that the newspaper and jazz band did not meet at the same time and encouraged File to do both.

Steffen is still playing a very important role in File’s life.

“He and I stayed in touch professionally and personally since then,” File said. “He has been at the top of my reference list on my resume and stuff like that ever since.”

Steffen notified File of the job opening when former Professor Tracy Lucht took a job offer at Iowa State University.

“There were people on the [interview] committee that I had had as professors here, which was another additional interesting thing,” File said. “I don’t know what it was like for them but it was an interesting experience, to go from being their student to interviewing to be their colleague.”

A large number of File’s memories from Simpson College revolve around The Simpsonian. File was a reporter for a year, then news editor and finally, Editor in Chief.

“I hate to turn it into a big promo for Simpson College, but I had opportunities to interview presidential candidates when they were on campus,” File said.

File was the Editor in Chief of The Simpsonian during Sept. 11, 2001.

“We were on deadline, we put the paper to bed on Monday nights and Sept. 11 was a Tuesday morning, so it was like okay, everything was up in the air,” File said. “We had to get pictures and art and write new content for the paper. It was one of those on deadline kind of crazy experiences. My memories of that day and even that week are really tied into the experience of rushing and trying to get this thing done and covering it locally as a news event.”

Besides writing for The Simpsonian and playing in the jazz band, File was also involved in theater. His work-study job was working backstage in the shop building sets. He even ran the lighting for the production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

“I actually sustained a minor head injury during tech week,” File said. “I cut my head open walking on the catwalk above the auditorium in Pote.”

The 711 house, the former offices of Residence Life and Security before the opening of Kent used to be The Performing Arts House where File resided.

File has fond memories of that house and finds it strange that it has been transformed into offices.

“When I walk in, what I see, the main room right there was the living room,” File said. “A couple of my friends, the room off to the left, which I think was a Residence Life office, that was their bedroom. I remember literally sitting on the bed, with another lofted bed above it, the TV was right there with the stereo and the front porch. I spent hours hanging out on that front porch.”

Through the friendships that File made from Simpson and through living in the PA House, File joined a band consisting of four other Simpson students.

“We were called Thicket, I never really liked that name frankly,” File said. “We played some gigs at Drake, around Des Moines and Iowa City.”

File still enjoys playing music and finds it a good way to relax.

After graduation, File worked as a freelance reporter in New York and eastern Iowa.

“I did one story for City View as well,” File said. “I wrote about Blues on Grand, the old blues bar that was on Grand Avenue.”

As well as being a freelance journalist, File also took an internship with the Student Press Law Center.

From March of 2003 to March of 2004 and September 2004 to September 2005, File went abroad to South Korea to teach English.

“The model in South Korea is that you get in touch with a recruiter and they are the middle person,” File said. “They put schools in touch with teachers and teachers in touch with schools. I went through a recruiter called Footprints.”

After completing two years of teaching abroad, File decided to take the long way home and travel the Trans-Siberian Railway, an idea given to him by Professor Nick Proctor when File was a student at Simpson.

Upon returning to the Indianola area, File received a position at Simpson for one-year.