Carol Logan Patitu
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Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
January 30, 2007
DeKalb — Long-ago empowerment from a third-grade teacher has carried Carol Logan Patitu to the associate dean’s job in the NIU College of Education.
Patitu, professor and chair in the Department of Student Personnel Administration at Buffalo State (State University of New York), starts work in March. Her journey to DeKalb essentially began in Mrs. Clark’s classroom in Marion, Ohio, about 45 minutes north of Columbus.
“She looked me in the eyes and said, ‘You can do whatever it is you want to do in life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.’ I have never forgotten that, and I tell students that to this day,” Patitu said. “The impact a teacher can have on a student’s life can make them or break them, and Mrs. Clark is the one who’s giving me that light. I always wanted to be the world’s greatest teacher.”
That inspiration took Patitu to the front of the classroom, as a middle school Spanish and English teacher in Florida, where the presence of fellow teachers continuing their education quickly coaxed her into graduate studies.
It kindled a love of higher education that hasn’t dimmed.
She holds an Ed.S. and a M.Ed. in student personnel services in higher education from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in educational administration and supervision from Bowling Green State University.
In Buffalo for five years, Patitu previously taught at Texas A&M University for nine years. In 2000, she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Durban-Westville in South Africa.
When Patitu started looking for new opportunities last summer and fall, NIU’s job description offered such a perfect fit it became the only place where she applied.
She will oversee the college’s curriculum development and assessment practices as well as the college’s recruitment and advising services. Meanwhile, she will work with Dean Christine Sorensen to ensure a positive image for the college through publications and personal interactions.
Other expectations and challenges include preparation for the university’s 2009 review by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education programs and mounting pressure to demonstrate accountability in all programs.
“It was evident when Carol was here interviewing that she is passionate about education and very well-informed about the higher education context today,” Sorensen said. “Her energy was palpable. Her collaborative style was very evident. I believe she will bring new ideas to the college and that she will be a positive force in supporting faculty teamwork and innovation.”
“I’m impressed with the things accomplished in the College of Education and at NIU itself,” Patitu said. “I love the people. I’m impressed with the fact that people have a passion for the work they’re doing there. The people are so genuine, kind and friendly. The people embraced me already as part of their family for the interview. People are working hard, enjoying what they’re doing and happy about it.”
For Patitu, a published poet, passion about work is more than a job incentive. It’s a research interest.
Since writing her doctoral dissertation in 1990 at Bowling Green, she has studied faculty job satisfaction as well as issues and concerns of women and minorities in higher education and minority students.
Patitu combined those interests for “Faculty Job Satisfaction: Women and Minorities in Peril,” a book she co-authored. She surveyed faculty at 32 institutions in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation region.
“What faculty are saying is that, yes, they are definitely very satisfied with their jobs. Most faculty love what they do. They love doing research. They love students,” she said.
She includes herself on that list, of course.
“I love helping people to become successful. Of the people I have mentored, one is now a president at a university. I always tease the students that they’re going to be making more money than I,” she said. “That’s why we love our work so much. It’s a good feeling when you know people succeed because of something you said or something you did for them.”
Her new work at NIU is “a job in heaven.”
“We have to prove to the public we’re preparing students to go into the field. The taxpayers, and especially the parents, want to know if their students are getting a quality education,” Patitu said. “NIU and the College of Education are doing a phenomenal job, and I’m going to help build and enhance the things that are already taking place.”
Patitu brings with her to DeKalb her husband, Tony, a native of Tanzania, and her sons Anthony, 14, and Madiba, 5.
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