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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Bryan Patterson

As a born leader, Dr. Bryan Patterson discovered early on in life that his passion is to be an agent of change in the communities in which he serves. From first-generation college student to dissertation chair and adjunct professor for ACU Online’s Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership program, Bryan has seen first-hand how education has shaped our world and continues to transform individuals professionally and personally. Read on to learn how Dr. Patterson’s educational background has informed his views of leadership and how his call to teach is impacting our student body. 

An Investment in Education

Bryan has been leading by example long before becoming the professional educator he is today. As a first-generation college student, Bryan began a legacy in his family to pursue higher education after earning his Bachelor’s in Education and Master’s in Higher Education Administration at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

While attending James Madison, Dr. Patterson became interested in K-12 education systems and curriculum development which eventually led him to the University of Florida. There, he spent a decade working in career services while simultaneously earning a specialist degree in special education and teaching, as well as his Ph.D. in agricultural education and communications with a focus in organizational leadership.

During his time as a University of Florida student, Bryan explored different learning styles within the education sector and how they specifically pertain to students who navigate learning differences such as dyslexia or ADHD. He also gained professional experience serving the university’s athletic association where he acted as a career counselor and CHAMPS life skills coordinator for various athletes. Through both of these experiences, he discovered a passion for helping students reach their potential and successfully transition into the workforce.  

From there, Bryan went on to work for the University of Tennessee, Northeastern University and as an assistant professor and program chair at Johnson C. Smith University, a private historically black college in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he currently serves while also being an adjunct professor at ACU. 

With over 25 years of collegiate experience, he believes his range from working with small private institutions to large public universities has given him diverse teaching and administrative experiences that have been beneficial to both students and co-workers. 

“I know that every position I have assumed has been purpose-filled,” said Dr. Patterson. “I’m personally driven by achievement and it’s my goal to help students graduate with a stronger sense of self so that they can walk into educational settings equipped and confident.”

Supporting Students

Bryan joined the Wildcat family in the fall of 2019 and has thoroughly enjoyed helping non-traditional students succeed in their educational journeys through a virtual platform. As a long-time adult student himself, Bryan’s understanding of the work-life balance dynamic, and the potential challenges it presents, makes him an effective addition to the dissertation committee and a role model to many students. 

Dr. Patterson’s teaching methods focus on meeting students where they are and making them feel heard while providing the academic support they need from a holistic perspective. He enjoys creating relationships with his students and learning what they need individually to thrive beyond the classroom. 

“Through my experience with online teaching, my sense of perspective has been renewed and has encouraged me to be attentive to details,” Dr. Patterson said. “I believe I’m able to minister to students through the humanistic approach I take to teaching and continually try to fluctuate and adjust to my student’s unique needs so that they can find their greater purpose.” 

A Servant Mentality

Another way Bryan’s perspectives are benefiting students is through his passion for social justice and how it pertains to the educational system. He enjoys educating students in ways the workplace should approach diversity, equity and inclusion and encourages them to promote goodwill as it relates to developing new higher education systems while breaking down the old.

“If you’re a self-starter and have your own level of energy around making changes in your personal community or even in bigger ones, this program is a good fit for you,” he reflected. A doctoral program is not for the faint of heart, but Dr. Patterson is encouraged daily by the level of tenacity his students have to reach their goals and play their part in creating change. 

Bryan’s “servant leadership mentality” expands beyond his profession and into his everyday life as well. Dr. Patterson is heavily involved in his church where he serves as a trustee and finds fulfillment in volunteering through community outreach events. 

Want to be a proponent for change in your community like Dr. Patterson? Visit or contact us at 855-219-7300.

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