An executive for The Walt Disney Co. will be joining the Boulder community, according to a CU news release.
Preston Padden, executive vice president for government relations for The Walt Disney Co., will become an adjunct professor in the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program as well as a senior fellow at the Silicon Flatirons Center next fall, according to the news release.
Dale Hatfield, adjunct professor of telecommunications and interim director of the Silicon Flatirons Center, said in the news release that he intends for Padden to co-teach a course on new media and cable television.
“Preston understands the media business probably as well as or better than anyone in the U.S.,” Hatfield said in the news release. “We’ve been talking to him for a long time about coming to teach at CU.”
As a lobbyist for the entertainment industry, Padden has been in charge of working with the business units of Disney and their relationships with the U.S. government, according to Disney’s executive biography of Padden. He began his position with Disney in 1998.
Padden has recently announced plans to retire from his position at Disney and move to Boulder where he has family, according to an article from Broadcasting and Cable.
Carol Rowe, the director of communications for the College of Engineering and Applied Science, said in an interview that Padden’s adjunct teaching is with the Telecommunications Program, which is based in the College of Engineering.
Rowe said Padden will be co-teaching the course with Hatfield and Richard Green, a senior fellow with Silicon Flatirons and former president and chief executive officer for CableLabs.
“The faculty of the Telecommunications Program have come from different backgrounds and different places, so as far as his faulty position goes it’s with the Telecommunications Program,” Rowe said. “But his affiliation with the law school is with the Silicon Flatirons, so it’s not a classroom, but more involvement with conferences.”
The Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program is the nation’s oldest graduate telecommunications program, according to the program’s Web site. Offered as a graduate program through CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, ITP potentials can earn either an MS in telecommunications or professional certificates in computer and network security or wireless networks and technologies.
Silicon Flatirons, an affiliate of the ITP program, is a center for entrepreneurship, technology and law at CU, according to its Web site.
Together, the ITP and Silicon Flatirons co-organize and implement several prestigious academic conferences each year, according to the CU news release.
Padden has been a regular speaker at previous conferences and will be lecturing from Jan 31 to Feb 1 on “The Digital Broadband Migration: Examining the Internet’s Ecosystem,” according to the news release.
Vivek Ganti, a 22-year-old first year graduate student in the telecommunications program, said he has attended some of these conferences in the past.
But despite his exposure to these forums, Ganti said he had not heard the news about Padden teaching at CU.
“Honestly I didn’t know about it,” Ganti said. “And I’m not sure how many people know about it.”
Ganti said he has just finished up courses in technical management and policy, but he probably won’t be taking the course co-taught by Padden.
“I’ll have to look at the syllabus and the class materials, but I don’t think I’ll be taking up the course,” Ganti said. “But yes, it’s nice to have great people from the industry come teach us. It feels good.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sheila V Kumar at Sheila.firstname.lastname@example.org.