A Conglomerate of Wise Wisdom from Stout’s Finest Pt. 2

Like the post from last week, this post includes some wise wisdom from a Stout professor. I don’t take this kind of stuff lightly because I want you all (and myself) to do well while you’re at Stout. Whether that’s in your social life or your academic life! Here is one of my current and dear professors, Dr. John M. Spartz.


What’s your name? When did you start teaching at UW-Stout? What do you teach (department and courses)? 

My name is John M. Spartz, but some (clears throat) call me Dr. John Spartz. Why the middle initial, you might ask? Well, I’ve come to learn that there are other John Spartzes out there, and during a dissertation-prospectus-writing-distraction strategy, I Google-Image searched myself (a recommended exercise). The results were…let’s just say they didn’t paint a pretty picture of a John (no M.) Spartz who was about to seek a job as a professor. So, I officially embraced the M. It’s made all the difference.

As a new Assistant Professor since the fall of 2014, I’ve been teaching a variety of courses. Like all instructors in the English & Philosophy Department, I teach English 101: Composition 1. But, I also teach English 125: Elements of Professional Writing Style, English 425: Usability Design and Testing, and a course for our MSTPC program, English 730: User-Centered Research for Technical Communicators. Finally, I am the Director of the newly minted User Experience Center (UXC) here on campus. Right now, that’s housed in a closet in Callahan hall, but we’ll have a shiny new space in Harvey, once it is back in business.

On a scale of unfolded cardboard boxes to a 70-degree sunny day biking near a lake, how would you rate your overall experience since you’ve started?

This is a tough one; I happen to love cardboard in any fashion. But, since you asked, I’ll give you my rating: It’s basically been a decent steak, accompanied by a Flemish sour.

Do you like the environment of your office, considering it’s in an old dormitory? 

Honestly, I spend very little time there. Not only are students reluctant to walk ALL THE WAY to North Campus, but there are lingering smells of undergraduate life from years gone by. It makes it quite difficult to concentrate on work.

Have you considered buying, or do you already have, a pedometer to measure the benefits of having to walk from North and South campus all the time? I think it’d be a good investment. 

“I think it’d be a good investment” makes me think that I’ll never go into business with you. I’m already taking the steps, how does knowing them translate to something meaningful or lucrative? I’m confused, Rachel.

(I still stand in proposition of buying a pedometer. -Rach)

What do you like most about Stout?

Selfishly, one of the things I like most about Stout is its location. Not only is it close to Minnesota, where every relative I have resides, but it is also very close to my house. Living just north of town is awesome, especially considering that my two previous commutes were 296 and 78 miles round trip, four days per week. But, other than that, I’d say it’s the students, especially our PCEM majors. They’re cool and smart (see question #7 for more details).

If you could make up a course on the spot right now that would encapsulate everything you’d love to teach, what would the course be called?

ENGL 499: Rhetoric and Linguistics for UX Entrepreneurs.

What realistic advice do you have for incoming freshman and students to Stout?

I’m still trying to figure out some of the nuances of Stout for myself. So, I’ll give my typical advice to students—freshman and upper classman, alike: If something is assigned to you (and that includes reading assignments) by a professor, do it. On time. That small thing will engender a lot of good will should something serious occur to impede your academic experience. Also, approach your professors and other members of this academic community with respect. Taken together, these simple things will not only help you in the classroom, but also in life. Professors are giving people by nature, but our giving is in direct correlation with the above-mentioned advice. Make it easy on us to make it easy on you.

See you all next week for some wise wisdom from Stout students!



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