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Barbara Patton-Walker, the Department of English’s new Assistant to the Chair, wants people to know one thing about her position: there is no such thing as a typical day.
“I love a challenge—I get bored easily if I’m not challenged,” Patton-Walker explained. “That keeps me on my toes and that keeps me coming every day.” This job has the perfect mix of challenges and rewards for her; since she joined the department last June, she has worked with all the approximately 200 faculty members in the Department in assisting with annual reviews, promotions and tenure cases.
A Cleveland native, Patton-Walker previously worked at the University of Minnesota before settling in Phoenix. Her plan was to earn her doctorate in education, but after a change of plans, she chose to stay in Arizona, working as a freelance technical writer before making her way back to ASU.
This is Patton-Walker’s second time living in Arizona; luckily, she was used to the heat. One surprise she found at ASU was the fast-paced culture. “The area around Phoenix is quite different from other educational institutions that I’ve worked at,” she said, indicating her experience in both K-12 and higher education.
Outside of work, Patton-Walker might be found as a theatre audience member, as she loves live productions. Her interest in them was sparked when, as a journalism student at Ohio State University, she held a job as a theatre critic, which granted her access to “media packets and tickets to every live theatre production that came to town.”
“Although the critiques had to be written up that night before I went to bed,” she recalled, “that opened my eyes to live theatre productions, and to this day I really like going to them.” Although the new job has taken up much of her time, Patton-Walker says she is planning to see some ASU Gammage shows as soon as she can.
Patton-Walker is also a self-proclaimed “political information junkie,” an interest which stems from her first post-college job in Ohio’s House of Representatives. “I basically knew nothing about politics when I was first hired,” she admitted, “but that was a really interesting position [that] opened my eyes to a lot of things.”
The Department of English is thrilled Barbara Patton-Walker has found her way back to Arizona and to her new position at ASU.
Photo of Barbara Patton-Walker by Bruce Matsunaga