Professor Profile – Bob Hendren

Bob Hendren is a communications instructor who specializes in speech and creating engaging PowerPoint presentations.

Communication major or not, every student at UNA is required to complete Communications 201, or Fundamentals of Speech, before graduation.

For many students, speaking in a public forum is their top fear. But it’s easy for students to overcome the fear of public speaking with a professor that has been known to Photoshop his face onto a Jedi for a class PowerPoint, or wow students with his ability to know the approximate number of index cards used for their speeches—without counting them beforehand.

Working on what he calls his encore career, Bob Hendren has been a full-time speech instructor at UNA for six years, after first working as an adjunct for the department.

Hendren has found the keys to success in teaching, and the rapid filling of his course sections pays tribute to that.

“Students line up to take Hendren’s speech course every semester, and if the course is full, they beg to be let in,” said Sue Jeffreys, administrative assistant for the communications department.

Hendren said he believes in making the classroom a place where each of the students feels comfortable speaking around others.

“My classes are free of judgment,” Hendren said. “I want everyone to feel comfortable, and usually, by the end of the semester, it’s like we’re one little family.”

Because he teaches a required course, Hendren realizes the importance of capturing students’ attention from the beginning. His PowerPoint presentations are punchy, vibrant and no two slides will ever be the same.

“I change the PowerPoints each semester,” Hendren said. “None of them are the same. I want to keep students engaged, so one semester I’ll have my face on a Jedi, and it’ll be something different the next.”

Hendren’s teaching style is one students can easily relate to. He said he understands he is teaching a highly visual generation, and he stays updated on technology and trends.

“Technology is something that’s not going away, so you should learn to adapt,” Hendren said. “If what you’re doing isn’t working, you have to try something else. It’s about me staying one step ahead of the students so I can be a better teacher.”

Hendren received his undergraduate degree from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, where he also learned to read and translate Koine Greek in his minor.

“It’s something I really enjoy,” Hendren said. “I was also able to serve on the translation committee for the New King James Version (of the Bible) a few years back, which was fun.”

In addition to teaching, Hendren has also been in ministry and spent 10 years serving in the Marine Corps. He has traveled all over the U.S. and to Canada, Russia, Germany and Argentina to give various presentations.

These days, Hendren devotes his time to his wife, former UNA flute professor Ann Hendren, and his family, as well as teaching. Hendren also serves as the faculty adviser for the Japanese Student Organization, and he received the UNA Outstanding Service Award in 2011.

Hendren said he enjoys teaching immensely, but said if a day ever comes when he does not, he will stop.

“Teaching is more of an art than it is a discipline,” Hendren said. “It’s almost like a higher calling. If I ever stop enjoying teaching, or it becomes a chore for me, I should quit. It’s the same for everything; if you fall out of love with what you’re doing, don’t do it anymore.”