People of Eastern: Meet Dr. Hatch, the Chair of the Communications Studies Department.

Dr. John Hatch has been the Chair of the Communications Studies Department here at Eastern for almost a decade now. I sat down with Dr. Hatch and spoke to him about his journey to Eastern along with interests he has that students may not know about.

To describe his path to Eastern University, Dr. Hatch said “it was a long and winding road” with a smile as he used The Beatles’ famous line. Dr. Hatch actually grew up in Bryn Mawr which is only minutes from Eastern’s campus. Dr. Hatch’s earliest memory at Eastern was actually as a pre-teen when he and his friend went skateboarding on Eastern’s campus. He began his undergraduate journey at Messiah College before taking a year off. He then returned to school at Temple University studying psychology. After two years at Temple, Dr. Hatch then spent five years working with the Youth With A Mission organization in Colorado. This was a turning point for Dr. Hatch as he then resumed his studies and spent three years at Colorado State College finishing off his bachelor’s degree with a double major in English and secondary education.

Dr. Hatch returned to Colorado State College for his master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. This is also where he happened to meet his wife Christie. After finishing his master’s degree, Dr. Hatch and his wife spent three years from 1994 to 1997 in Kazakhstan where he taught English.

After the life-changing trip to Kazakhstan, Dr. Hatch returned to school to get his Ph.D. at Regent University. His reasoning for going to Regent was wanting to attend a Christian university where he wouldn’t have to separate his faith from his academics. The closest program Regent had to English was Communications, and I think it’s safe to say it ended up working out well for him. Even though Dr. Hatch’s college journey was long – eleven semesters over eleven years for his bachelor’s degree alone – he wants students to know he can relate if they don’t feel like they know where they want to go in life.

Shortly after getting his Ph.D., Dr. Hatch took a job at the University of Dubuque. By his own admission, Iowa wasn’t necessarily the first place he went looking for a job, but it ended up teaching there for eight years and is grateful for his time there. It helped him establish himself as a professor and refine the trade he has been doing since.

Something Dr. Hatch has always loved to do was analyze literature. He named poems specifically as a medium he always enjoyed analyzing. While in school, he discovered the art of rhetoric and finds it rewarding to dig into an artifact and its significance. It has become his new expressive outlet. What fascinates him is how certain artifacts shape perspectives, worldviews, and identities. His most recent published work is a rhetorical analysis of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was three years in the making but was completely worth it for Dr. Hatch. While nothing is set in stone, his next potential analysis could be of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album What’s Going On.

The overall theme of Dr. Hatch’s journey has been that despite an unconventional journey, he has seen God’s providence time and time again. The right opportunities presented themselves at the right moments and led him to where he was meant to be.

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