BYU professors taking selfies with students


Fifty-five percent of all Millennials have posted a selfie, according to Pew Research. But there’s another group that’s catching on to the social media wave.

BYU professors are experiencing the hype as they tweet, post and share their own selfies.

Holzapfel takes a selfie with his third class of the day on Tuesday. An increasing number of professors are posting selfies with their students. (Richard Holzapfel)

Richard Holzapfel is a BYU religion professor and stake president. Holzapfel posted nine selfies on his first day teaching this semester. He posted from four classes, two meetings and two social events. Then he posted one just for fun.

“It was a whole day of selfies,” Holzapfel said. “In all four classes, before the end of class, students would follow me (on Instagram).”

Holzapfel used to post selfies to Facebook and a blog, but then he discovered Instagram. He said it opened up “a whole new world” of photo taking.

Professor Sweat took a selfie with his on the first day of school. An increasing number of BYU professors are taking selfies with students. (Sweat)
Professor Sweat took a selfie with his class on the first day of school. An increasing number of BYU professors are taking selfies with students. (Anthony Sweat)

“I started taking selfies as a mission president when we got iPhones in 2013,” Holzapfel said. “When we came home, I continued the practice but decided to document even more with students when I got an Instagram account. I learned about hashtags, which I didn’t know about before.”

Holzapfel frequently uses the hashtags #byu, #foundationsoftherestoration, #lds and #sharegoodness. Students are often surprised by how tech savvy he is, Holzapfel said.

“When I say we’ll just take a selfie, students are all, ‘Did you just say selfie?'” Holzapfel said. “Then they say, ‘You’re the hippest professor.’ It lightens things up a bit. If I would’ve known about it, I would’ve started a lot sooner.”

Other BYU professors are stepping up their selfie game, and they’re getting more likes than most Millennials receive. BYU religion professor Anthony Sweat also posted an Instagram selfie on the first day of school. His caption read, “And it has begun.”

Perhaps the wave of professors posting selfies has officially begun.

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