Randy Hollingsworth walked into his public speaking class one day wearing two different shoes: a tennis shoe and a dress shoe. His purpose for his mismatched shoes was to symbolically represent his professional side (the dress shoe) and his personal side (the sneaker) as he taught class.
Hollingsworth, who earned his doctorate degree from Florida State University, is the new addition to the communications department at John Brown University. As such, he strives to educate the whole person and showcase the many aspects of education.
“Randy brings tons of experience to the communication department. His unique approach to teaching, where he’s all in and works to engage students, is exactly what we needed in the department,” said Marquita Smith, head of the department of communication.
“I am also delighted that he and his wife Jennifer are very passionate about building relationships with our students,” Smith said.
“He is relaxed and not afraid to make mistakes,” Grant Jones, freshman communication major, said in reference to his teaching methods.
Hollingsworth teaches a variety of courses at the University such as Faith, Media & Calling, Public Speaking and Masterpieces of Film.
His background in teaching has incorporated “face to face” interactions with small groups and speaking in public. Under the umbrella of communications, Hollingsworth mentioned that there are two aspects: the communication side and the medium side, such as journalism and film.
Hollingsworth, originally from Florida, graduated from Florida State with a degree in communication. He needed an internship so he took one as a youth pastor.
As a youth pastor, he realized how much he enjoyed the position and described his experience as the “cart before the horse.” He continued being a youth pastor for the next ten years and attended seminary school at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary thereafter.
Hollingsworth and his wife then spent some time reflecting and trying to figure out their next journey in life.
Hollingsworth wanted a change of pace since he traveled often with his youth pastor position and could not see himself as a head pastor. He considered his dad, who was a community college professor, and how he had enough time to also be a dad. This influenced Hollingsworth to go back to school and become a professor.
Hollingsworth and his wife always thought they would retire and live in the mountains in east Tennessee. When his wife discovered John Brown University, he asked, “Who goes to Arkansas?”
Once they started researching, Hollingsworth learned that his school and the university were similar. His previous school’s slogan is “Christ above all” and at John Brown University, “Christ over all.”
Hannah Pickle, freshman communication major, enjoys having classes with Hollingsworth.
“Hollingsworth is super excited about being able to incorporate faith,” Pickle said.
Hollingsworth enjoys being able to “fill in the gap” where he is needed. He is excited about brainstorming the “what ifs.” He can see potential now in himself and his students.
“His enthusiam rings about campus,” Smith said. “And for that I’m extremely grateful.”