This week, we visited Professor Hans Barnard‘s office in the basement of the Fowler Museum. Barnard, originally from the Netherlands, ditched his background in medicine for a job in archaeology so he could travel and work with his wife, who also teaches at UCLA.
The first thing in his office to catch our eye was his piano, which he doesn’t play often because of the thin walls between him and his busily working neighbors. But he said it comes in handy when colleagues bring their children in to the office.
On the walls of his office are many colorful woven baskets, collected by his wife. He also has a small collection of pottery, which he uses as examples for his class on the archaeological analysis of ceramics. He said his goal of the class is to combine science with art in a way that helps break down the “North Campus vs. South Campus” way of thinking.
Check out our footage of his office, stories of his career and his piano-playing skills in the video above.
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Rosenblatt is also one of Fortune’s “Top 50 Smartest People In Tech,” and received the runner-up spot to Steve Jobs for “Smartest CEO.” How did he go from racing scooters around Westwood Village to being an extremely successful CEO? We attempted to figure it all out by picking his brain about his time at UCLA.
Can you tell us a little bit about the class you teach or how you stay involved with UCLA?
I have taught with Peter Guber over the last few years in the film school and last year in the business school. We focus our courses on the intersection of technology and media and teach through a Q&A format centered around well known knowledgable guests. Our guests have included tech luminaries, such as the CEO of Twitter, to traditional media personalities trying to expand digitally, such as Carson Daly. I lecture because the students inspire me with their energy, brains and overall enthusiasm to be successful.
What were the most memorable parts about your time at UCLA?
Westwood was a super happening and busy little city. I was excited to be in the middle of it and my tuition was only $400 a quarter back then. I also remember having a red motor scooter that my friends and I would race around campus in the middle of the night. (He laughs).
How about campus life?
In my day, the lottery determined if you were admitted to a dorm and I was not. I lived off campus and definitely am sorry I missed the dorm life. I co-founded Alpha Epsilon Pi on campus and loved it a lot. I made amazing friendships. I met my wife at a fraternity party and we never looked back. We were engaged 18 months later and now we’ve been married for more than 20 years. She has kept me in line all these years.
You were involved with Myspace. How do you think social media affects students differently today then during your time at UCLA? Maybe you would have met your wife over the Internet instead of at a party!
Social media is the most amazing communication device ever created and changes everything. No one even had cell phones so you had to set specific times and places to meet people or be tethered to your phone at home or – God forbid – we used pay phones. Now, you can constantly meet new people, keep in contact with your friends and share photos and information day and night. It’s like a college within college.
How did you start your first business from campus?
I worked for a small paper called the Village View, the Daily Bruin’s competition, when I was a sophomore. I was selling ads over the phone for whatever price the advertiser would pay. I realized that my clients needed to expand their business beyond our little paper, so my wife and I started a new business. The new business, in essence, was a reseller of newspaper ads across the Country. We offered clients the ability to reach millions of people in every state by buying ads from us. The business grew quickly and we expanded in 1993-1994 to selling bulletin board and Internet ads. That led to my first Internet business (iMALL), which led to the next one and so on.
Do you have any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs and students?
Yes. Be passionate. Don’t give up. But make sure you have a business model that is scalable and repeatable. Don’t focus on how much money you make, just learn.
This week we stopped by the New Genres room in the UCLA Art Department to talk to visiting instructor and artist Jeffrey Vallance, who carries a copy of The Vallance Bible (yes, written and illustrated by the man himself) to class. We sat down with him for a quick Q&A.
What were your initial thoughts when starting this ambitious project in creating your own bible?
I was invited to do this exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland scheduled in 2009 (I was there in 2007), and at that time, they were having this big Calvin [Editor's note: Calvin refers to John Calvin, a protestant reformer] festival for the 500th anniversary of his birth. I wasn’t expecting that, but I thought I would take the opportunity to make a Calvin bible for the anniversary. I’m always thinking about this stuff since I was raised in a Lutheran church, so it seemed like the most logical thing to do at that moment.
Did anyone think it illogical?
It freaked people out in Switzerland because they thought it was going to be ironic, funny and really absurd but when they realized it was actually serious, they freaked out.
Where did you exhibit them in the U.S. and how did people react?
I first exhibited the bible at The Andy Warhol Museum. Everybody liked it, even those that were brought up Catholic. I think it’s because it didn’t intentionally put anyone down or blame anyone.
You are the father of infiltration art…would you consider this work as one of them?
Yes, because it’s part of my rule of infiltration to never mess with the original. I didn’t want to necessarily criticize the bible or people’s faith; I just wanted to write a new chapter. I learned that if you do something that makes people mad, they won’t even look at your work. They won’t consider it.
What did you do with the bibles you published?
I sent out around 40 of my published bibles to different people (everyone that was mentioned in the bible that was still alive – I had a list of prophets). I sent a copy to Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela and even received letters from them. I also sent some to the pastors of all the churches I attended as a child. They thought it was the greatest thing ever and most weren’t offended by it at all. One of them even praised it saying it was a good exercise in trying to find the meaning of things and that everyone should try to find their own meaning.
How do you justify all this?
I do what I do because I’m crazy…Everything else comes later.
This quarter, we’re launching “Office Hours,” a series of posts profiling UCLA faculty. We’ll be paying a visit to their offices to get a behind-the-scenes look at the quirkier traits of your professors.
This week, we talked to a music history professor who actually encourages his students to take out their phones during class… to tweet!
Professor Jerome Camal is teaching the History of Rock n’ Roll this quarter. In a huge lecture of 360 students, Camal said it’s difficult to facilitate dialogue between students.
So he created a Twitter handle for his class (@UCLAMusHst5) so that students could pose questions during the lecture, give feedback on the class or just talk about rock n’ roll. This is the first time Camal has experimented with using Twitter in the classroom, and so far, he’s happy with the results.
“It takes a class that could be very impersonal and creates a community,” he said.
Even after the first day of class, student discussions were rocking the Twitter feed. Camal said he enjoyed spending his Monday afternoon responding to student tweets and getting a feel for the personalities of his students.
Students also got to know Camal better as he tweeted his favorite song of the moment and discussed different versions of Otis Redding’s “A Change’s Gonna Come” with the teaching assistants on the Twitter feed.
Camal said he hopes to broadcast in-class discussions to the rest of the world and he encourages people not taking the class to follow the feed, too. Check out @UCLAMusHst5 on Twitter and listen to the class’s Spotify playlist, which is constantly being updated.
We asked Camal about his most interesting professors and he told us about Gerald Early, an English and American Studies professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who is an expert on everything including jazz, boxing, baseball and the history of cartoon studies (WHAT?! Neat, right?). Camal remembers him as a subdued man who nevertheless transformed into a powerful preacher in front of a class.
Check out some of the class account’s tweets below: