Behind The Scenes Of A Professor: James Wicks

Dr. James Wicks teaches his COM 3000 class (Narrative Documentary Film) about post-colonialism in film on Dec. 8, 2022, in Bond Academic Center. Photo Courtesy of Grace Cook

James Wicks, Ph.D., is a professor of film studies at Point Loma Nazarene University. He is constantly working on film and other creative projects whether that be for a student, one of his alumni, or a personal project. On top of this, Wicks teaches 12 PLNU courses related to the creative arts.

This may seem like a lot for one person to take on, and that is because, well it is. Not only does Wicks devote his time and energy to his students, he is proud to never compromise time with his family.

“I try to surf and skate three times a week. And I’ve been doing that since the age of 28, so I’ve been doing that 19 years now. I would say that I love my free time and I love my job, so the two really are blurred. I’m constantly engaged with my family, which is something I can’t and won’t compromise,” Wicks said.

Although born in Taiwan, Wicks is no kook when it comes to coastal breaks and skateparks in Southern California. Wicks and two of his buddies know how to properly tear it up on any given Saturday morning.

“I have two surfing buddies and we go every Saturday morning. We’ve gone in all different kinds of waves. We’ve surfed Ocean Beach for like three years, Dog Beach for another three years, then we surfed the [OB] pier for another three years. And now we’ve been at Del Mar 25th Street for the past couple of years. And we just tried to find a place where we can all meet up and get in the water before it’s too crowded and we all have family obligations,” Wicks said.

‘Everyday’s a vacation when you love your occupation’. A common phrase used when people love their jobs but more than true when it comes to Wicks’ time at PLNU.

“I think that teaching here overlaps with some of my core interests, so I really feel like I can’t take it for granted. I love cinema and then I have an occupation where I get to be with students who love it, or are introduced to it and discovered that they love it too,” Wicks said

The impact that professor Wicks leaves on his students can have a ripple effect on others. The alumni that come from his department have been very successful in their respected fields.

“I have a student that’s starting a production company right now. I have two students in Japan right now teaching English, then they’re applying to graduate school and putting on their application that they’ve gotten teaching experience abroad,” Wicks said

Wicks gets very excited when he sees his students succeed in the film business. He loves helping students develop a love for film and turning that love into a dedicated passion.

“When you see that, like, ‘okay, these students are having a ripple effect that I will never, ever see. So that’s cool for sure, it keeps me encouraged,” Wicks said.