Outstanding Southeastern Faculty & Staff

Dr. Tim Patton

A person is often more successful at their job when they put their heart into it, which is what makes Dr. Tim Patton such a great addition to the Southeastern faculty. Dr. Patton has been a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Southeastern for nearly two decades.

Spending time canoeing or fishing as a child influenced Dr. Patton to pursue a career in the natural sciences after graduating high school. After earning a bachelor of science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Arkansas Tech University, and a master’s and Ph.D. in Zoology/Physiology from the University of Wyoming, it is clear that he made the right choice in making a career out of his passion for the outdoors. He has since been able to conduct research on several relevant wildlife topics, teach classes, and even begun working towards the creation of an eco-park.

Dr. Patton was part of the research team at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit before coming to Southeastern. There he was able to research and study the conservation of nongame fish, amphibians, and reptiles, as well as perform research on rattlesnakes.  Recently, Dr. Patton has been conducting research on the conservation of turtles and alligators in Oklahoma and conservation work concerning desert fish in West Texas.

However, his most recent endeavor is his work with the City of Durant. Dr. Patton is hoping to work with the city to develop and open an eco-park. The park would allow people to learn about and enjoy nature while also providing a sanctuary for local wildlife. The work on the eco-park may still be in its planning stage, but the possible benefits of the park are already creating excitement for Southeastern and its students.

“The eco-park presents an opportunity for our students at SE to have an outdoor laboratory, gain some hands-on experience, and participate in the process,” he said.

The eco-park is just one of the many opportunities students are offered to participate in as a student in the natural sciences department at Southeastern. Many professors invite and allow students to be a part of their research programs or studies, a benefit that Dr. Patton accredits to the professional relationships students are able to build with their professors due to smaller class sizes.  When asked about what accomplishments in his work with the university make him the proudest, Dr. Patton said it was his student’s success after graduation that really makes it all worthwhile.

In addition to teaching, conducting research, and developing an eco-park, Dr. Patton is also a co-advisor of the Wildlife Club. The Wildlife Club is one of the longest active clubs at Southeastern and meets monthly. Wildlife Club members have the opportunity to hear guest speakers and participate in volunteer days. The Wildlife Club is “open to any students with an interest in wildlife and nature,” he said.

Dr. Patton would encourage any student interested in pursuing a career or degree in the natural sciences to visit with a Southeastern advisor to get a feel for what the field and profession is truly like.

“A lot of young people who are interested in nature don’t understand they could have a potential career in the natural sciences,” said Patton. “It doesn’t matter if you have a background in it or not.”