Faculty Spotlight: Pat Artz
Meet Pat Artz, Bellevue University Professor
How long have you been at Bellevue University? Since July of 2000.
Tell us about your previous work/schools? I taught social studies and coached cross-country, basketball, and track at the high school level for 18 years before coming to Bellevue University.
Degrees/awards: B.A. Social Science, M.A. History, M.S. in Computer Information Systems, M.B.A.
What do you love most about teaching at Bellevue University? I love it when my students say things like, "I wasn't sure that I was going to make it, but now I am the first college graduate in my family. Thanks for your help."
What motivates or inspires you? I am inspired by African and Hispanic immigrants who I see on my walks through south and central Omaha. They work amazingly hard, they sacrifice to help their kids gain better lives, and yet they still have time to celebrate with family and friends. It is like watching the American dream unfold before my eyes each day.
What experiences or people had the most influence on you? Meeting a beautiful young woman 26 years ago and raising four children together would be tops on the list. After that, I had the opportunity to study in Jerusalem for a summer and visit various sites with my classmates and professors as part of our studies. It was a life-changing experience.
What interests you outside the classroom? What are you passionate about? I make tables and picture frames from reclaimed wood and other materials, I like taking off-beat photographs, I write an occasional creative piece, and I enjoy going to events with my wife to watch our children play sports and participate in activities. As I get older, I get less passionate about the big issues of the world and more passionate about shared experiences of daily life.
What is your favorite teaching experience or memory? I remember drawing up a play during a time out at the state basketball tournament with 30 seconds left in triple overtime. The players went out on the court and executed it perfectly except for the last step, which was to make the shot. The experience taught me a valuable lesson: Prepare for success, and then hope for a little bit of luck, too.
What career did you dream of when you were a child? As a child, I wanted to be either a time traveler or play center for the Boston Celtics. It was hard to decide.
Where did you grow up? Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in a working-class neighborhood near the meat-packing plant known as the North End.
What is your favorite book? Giants in the Earth, by Ole Edvart Rølvaag. It is a novel about Norwegian immigrant homesteaders near my hometown of Sioux Falls. The book was my first inkling that important stories are not just far away; they are all around us.
What is the most important piece of advice you give to your students? The mere existence of a problem is not evidence of a solution. Sometimes, the best we can hope for is to reduce a problem to a more manageable level and then learn to live with it.