Lionhearted Leaders: Pat Obi
PNW’s Lionhearted Leaders are faculty recognized for their exceptional work inside and outside the classroom.
Meet Pat Obi, professor of Physics and a Lionhearted Leader in the White Lodging School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
What are your proudest academic accomplishments?
I would summarize them in four respects: earning a PhD, becoming an international scholar, publishing a series of educational materials, one of which is a textbook used overseas, and becoming an endowed professor.
Earning a PhD in Finance and Econometrics from The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) remains my undisputed top accomplishment. It set the stage for the many other recognitions that came afterwards. Because I had a weak quantitative background going into the doctoral program, I had to first enroll in lower-level courses in mathematics and statistics in my first year in the program. Doing so helped prepare me for the rigor of the PhD Finance program.
It is worth mentioning that the kind help I received from instructors and colleagues at Ole Miss inspired me to become the passionate teacher and mentor I strive to be. In that respect, I am fortunate to be the recipient of several teaching awards including PNW’s Outstanding Teacher (2000), EMBA Outstanding Professor (multiple years), and Academy of Finance Teaching Excellence (2015).
My book on financial education is currently used in some universities to teach Personal Finance. And my textbook in Business Finance is translated into Lithuanian language and used in Lithuania. My research awards at PNW include Distinguished Faculty Lecturer (2010) and Outstanding Faculty Scholar (2015). External recognitions include awards from the Institute for Business and Finance Research, Global Business and Technology Association, and Global Business Conference.
In all of this, being named the White Lodging Professor of Finance in 2014 is undoubtedly my most significant accomplishment since my Ph.D. graduation. Combined, these recognitions helped position me for my recent international scholastic engagements, including Carnegie Africa Diaspora Linkage Program at the University of Ghana (spring 2021) and European Union Erasmus visiting scholar program at Lithuania Business University of Applied Sciences (fall 2021).
How has your YouTube educational channel changed the face of teaching?
There are three distinct aspects. First, it caused content creators, like me, to become particularly innovative in how educational material is prepared and delivered on social media. Second, and because of the first, it has provided students everywhere with easily accessible small bites of concepts that would otherwise be challenging to seamlessly convey in a long in-person class. Third, it has enabled me to create a unique brand around my videos which feature both college-level and graduate-level material in Finance, Statistics, and Econometrics. All my videos are easily accessible by simply searching ‘Pat Obi’ on YouTube.
Pursuing this visual approach to teaching and learning has tremendously helped me hone my teaching skills further. And this is because to produce a video, I would first have to master the content at a superior level to ensure that I can explain it in such simple ways that the learner’s interest is sustained. As of November 2022, my channel featured over 200 videos with more than 17,000 subscribers, one of the highest in the educational media domain.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy traveling and engaging with students in other countries. Fortunately, my international scholastic engagements make this possible. Although my travels are mostly educationally-based, they also give me the opportunity to engage with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. For example, over a period of five years beginning in 2012, I joined a team of American educators to volunteer in a private university in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.
Earlier in 2009, I spent almost a year in Asia – at Kyung Hee University in South Korea and Khon Kaen University in Thailand. Although many of my travels are facilitated by the inviting institution, I am forever grateful for the benefit of my endowed professorship.