By Matt Melia
The life of a professor at Bridgewater State University (BSU) is not as easy as some would think.
Between teaching curriculum to students, grading their students’ assignments, and even teaching some classes at other schools outside of BSU, it can be tough to maintain their day-to-day lives.
It sounds almost impossible for a professor to balance their personal life with their work life, but for communication studies professor Mike Russo, this is not the case.
Russo, a Kansas City native and graduate of the University of Missouri, teaches radio production, introduction to videography, and advanced audio production at BSU, while also teaching at Roger Williams University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
That’s not all Russo does, as he is the Vice President of a record label and coordinates an annual music festival, which are both based out of Kansas City.
“In 2003 I started my own record label called ‘The Record Machine,’” Russo said. “We are now the curator of the fourth annual ‘Middle of the Map Fest,’ in Kansas City and we’ve had a lot of success with that.”
Russo, who received his master’s in arts education at RISD in 2012, has an impressive resume that he brings into the classroom.
Before he began teaching, Russo had a plethora of experience within the entertainment industry.
“I worked at Atlantic Records from 2006 to 2009 on their digital video production team,” Russo said. “I previously worked at MTV on a channel called TV Land, and those were my jobs, as well as various things, but mostly I’m just teaching and running the [record] label at this point.”
Russo’s students seem to thoroughly enjoy his classes, teaching style, and overall relaxed attitude, as they maintain a desire to learn.
His laid back, yet passionate teaching style not only engages students, but can also help them find an outlet to creatively express themselves.
While some students might take a class with Russo just to fill credits, others are genuinely interested in the material he teaches, and admire his passion for the information he presents.
Junior Brendan Simpson takes advanced audio production with Russo, and discussed how taking the class has helped him become a better disc jockey.
“I’m pretty interested in pursuing a career in music, so it’s cool to know that one of my professors has a lot of experience in the music industry,” Simpson said. “Taking Russo’s class has definitely made me a better producer, paying attention to the mixing techniques and everything else he’s taught me has improved my own personal work.”
With such a busy schedule, Russo still finds time to help his students, and aspires to make positive changes for the entire student body.
Russo was recently named the faculty advisor for BSU’s radio station, 91.5 WBIM, and looks to help restructure the station so it may become a successful part of the college community at BSU.
“I think the radio station is great,” Russo said. “What I’m really here to do is to bring some drive, organization, and initiative [to the station].”
Russo and several of the students that work at WBIM are putting together the first live outdoor music event at Springfest in years, which will be held outside of the East Campus Commons at the clock tower from 4-7 p.m. on April 24.
“We’re going to be having a live event hosted by WBIM and we already have some of the bands booked,” Russo said. “Our goal here is to have some local bands, and some actually students that go to Bridgewater play the event, so that students see that there is a music scene they can be a part of.”
Matt Melia is a Comment staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.