Professor Profile: J. Spencer Fluhman

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Although Professor Fluhman hopes to one day communicate with sea creatures, for now his super power is not talking with animals, but the way he works in a classroom.

When one of his former students, Joseph Antley, 22, from Downsville, La., was asked who he has enjoyed taking a class from. He responded without hesitation:

“Spencer Fluhman. Spencer Fluhman. Spencer Fluhman,” he said.

Professor Fluhman is an assistant professor of history at BYU, where he teaches several classes on American religious history. This professor even has his own history with BYU. Not only did he graduate from BYU summa cum laude, but he is also an avid BYU football fan.

“I grew up coming to games and have only missed two or three home games in the past decade or so,” Professor Fluhman said.

Professor Fluhman, courtesy of byu.edu

Now with a family of his own, BYU football is something he enjoys watching with his four children, as well as hiking and watching movies together. Movies however, are something reserved strictly for free time and not for class time.

“All of my students are excellent,” he said. “Though I once caught one watching ‘The Matrix’ on his laptop, with an ear bud carefully concealed in his ear. It’s troubling to think I can’t compete with Keanu Reeves.”

For Professor Fluhman, there are three essential factors in creating a positive learning experience for students.

“(The key is) an open setting where students feel motivated to share ideas, ask questions and test their assumptions about the world.”

Julia Knecht, a graduate student in the information systems graduate program, is one of Professor Fluhman’s past students who gave a positive review.

“It’s like going to stand-up comedy, but you learn,” she said, “He always had new and interesting things to teach us, and you could tell he cared and really respected us all.”

Such care and respect comes from a professor who is dedicated to spreading knowledge about the world in which we live as well as the gospel of Jesus Christ.

At the young age of 18, Professor Fluhman could envision himself teaching one day and loving it. Although he may never be able to communicate with sea creatures, his dream of teaching is now a successful reality here on BYU’s campus.

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