Spencer Haacke shook with excitement as he opened the door to the future office site of the Presentation Practice Center in the David O. Mckay Library. It was the next step in a vision he had for the tutoring center at BYU-Idaho.
“I want the PPC to be the Communication Center,” Haacke said. “When people need to get a message across, I want them to come to us.”
This new office has been a goal of Haacke’s since the beginning of his position at BYU-I.
Haacke said, “I hope to work hand-in-hand with the Writing Center, Visual Communication, and anyone that is putting out a message.”
While the Presentation Practice Center primarily has public speaking students attend, all students are welcome. “I want people to come here to really solidify their presentations, whatever it may be,” he said.
His vision for the center is contingent on other pieces falling into place, “I can only foresee that happening when I am able to be in closer proximity to the Writing Center and those other people.”
Hired in 2010, Haacke found himself immediately in charge of the newly created PPC. “It was my baby,” he said. “I went from running the pilot to having it serve over 2,000 students a semester today.”
The PPC currently has 14 student employees that Haacke supervises. Each employee has taken public speaking or professional presentation classes from Haacke and other communication teachers.
The frequent visitors are Haacke’s students and students from other classes requiring a presentation.
Alongside his duties as director of the PPC, Haacke also teaches Professional Presentations and the Study and Life Skills class for first-year students.
The class is designed to help students succeed and thrive in their college and life experience. “It’s a cool class because it’s very applicable to where everyone can grow and do better,” Haacke said.
Haacke’s journey to teaching is concurrent with his desire to lead and serve others. “I got involved,” he said, “I was the student body president here at Ricks College, I was the intramural director, I just filled my time with serving.”
The involvement led him to work as the campaign manager for a friend who was running for a political office.
“I offered to him to let me make a flyer or something for him if he needed,” Haacke said, “but he called me up a couple weeks later asking if I would run his campaign instead.”
Haacke spent the next few years looking for opportunities to work and gain experiences, one of which was moving out to Tennessee with his brother and waiting tables.
“My friends were all driving the buses and having adventures with a cruise line in Alaska,” he said, “but as cool as it sounded, I just didn’t feel like that was right for me, so I stayed in Tennessee.”
It was that decision that led Haacke to meet and later marry his wife.
“She followed me back to Idaho, and we started dating and got married. She has a beautiful Southern accent and it has never gone away in 15 years of marriage.”
A father of four, Haacke spends his time doing various activities with his children, attending their athletic events and other school activities. This is a role he cherishes deeply.
Nearly 20 years has passed since Haacke first entered the halls of Ricks College.
A lifetime of decisions and opportunities has molded and shaped him into the teacher he is today. There is still a vision for the future in his eyes as he continues to embark on his quest for the Presentation Practice Center.
A new office in the library may not seem like much to ordinary folk, but to Haacke it represents everything he has worked to achieve in his life.