Pat Hartman ~ Celebrating 25 Years of Teaching at SHC
Nearly 25 years ago, when the advertising and public relations concentration at Spring Hill College was in its infancy, Pat Hartman began her career on campus as an adjunct instructor. Hartman, an experienced advertising professional in Mobile, Ala., was recruited to SHC by then-communication and fine arts division chair, Bettie Hudgens.
“Bettie had decided that her Spring Hill students should compete in the National Student Advertising Competition, but needed someone to offer guidance to the team’s media buyer, since the school was just starting to teach these courses,” says Hartman. “So, she called me in to help. Not long after, she asked me to become an adjunct instructor, twisted my arm a little, and the rest is history.”
Hartman taught her first courses, copywriting, persuasion and media, to a dozen Spring Hill College students in the barracks building behind Moorer Hall. At the time, the barracks served at SHC’s communication arts building. Hudgens later procured a grant to move the program into Moorer Hall, which today houses SHC’s mathematics and physics departments.
Born in Boston, Mass., Hartman grew up in Norfolk and Springfield, later moving to Atlanta, and finally Mobile, where she attended high school. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Alabama and completed graduate work on the USA campus.
“My first real job after graduating from USA was as a radio DJ and sales person at WMOO—and later—WBLX. I really didn’t like sales, so I interviewed for a media buying position at All Southern Advertising,” says Hartman. “The year I began teaching at SHC, I co-founded Imagery Marketing & Research Consultants, Inc., a marketing, advertising and public relations agency which serves clients all over the United States.”
Over the years, Hartman has brought her real-world client experience to the classroom. Her favorite and most challenging course to teach is “Student Agency,” formerly known as “Ad Campaigns.”
“It’s the most fun because the students are actually working as an agency for a real client. It’s the hardest because I can only give advice; I can’t tell the students what the concept for the campaign will, or should be,” says Hartman. “They create everything. I do set the deadlines and schedule, but everything else is their work.”
Hartman enjoys watching her students grow, learn, and graduate into colleagues and peers. She is happiest when graduates use their intelligence, skills and learning to advance into the real world. To date, many of communication arts graduates work at well-known agencies and prestigious companies, including Disney World, M Booth agency in New York City, Land’s End, Emereo Creative, and Red Square Agency in Mobile, Ala.
“I think I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. And they definitely keep me feeling young,” says Hartman. “My husband and I joke about Spring Hill students being our adopted children. I do stay in touch with a number of them through mail, visits, email, and Facebook.”
Hartman enjoys the supportive community and atmosphere at Spring Hill College, and says that the people make the campus feel like home. She is proud, too, that her husband, Paul, her nephew’s wife, Emily, and several friends are also graduates of Spring Hill.
When students and graduates of the college ask Hartman for career advice, she has a definitive answer, based on her own experience. “First, study what you have a passion for, and do what makes you happy. If you’re happy with the type of work you do, you’ll never hate going to work. Too many people chase after the big paycheck, but I can tell you from experience, the big paycheck doesn’t always mean that you’ll be happy in your job.”
This summer, Hartman will enjoy reading, writing, painting, traveling, walking her dogs, and working with her business partner to help her clients succeed.