Creative Business

Family roots grow deep in Southern Arkansas University soil for Dr. Tim Wise, professor of management and marketing in the College of Business.

His grandfather graduated from the campus in the 1920s when it still had a high school division. Many of his relatives received some of their education at SAU. Even so, Wise grew up wanting to be everything but a teacher. He imagined himself as an archaeologist, while playing with his “G.I. Joe and the “Missing Mummy” play set. The rest of his growing up was spent trying to decide if he wanted to write novels, draw comics or make movies.

“I usually did well in the literature part of English classes,” said Wise. “I also loved speech once I got over the initial fear of public speaking.”

By the time he was in college at Louisiana Tech University, he mainly wanted to be a novelist, but he knew he had to make a living, so he chose education as his undergraduate degree.

“I thought the broad curriculum and summer vacations would be conducive to that,” he said. “Somewhere along the line, I also found that I just liked to teach.”

His first experience was teaching in a middle school, which he described as a nightmare. He was unprepared for the discipline issues on that grade level and the pay was dismal. He retired from public school teaching right before his 23rd birthday.

Though he considered journalism, graphic design and pastoral careers, he wrestled with his decision to get a business degree. Business seemed a foreign concept to someone motivated by creative drives.

“I wasn’t sure I could see myself as a business guy, but I thought the knowledge would give me foundations I needed to start my own studio or publishing company,” Wise said.

There were many times he wondered if he had chosen the wrong field, until he had an “aha” moment in one class when a business professor showed videos of Disney World and Apple Computer.

“Those stood out like shining lights from all of the number crunching that I was having to do in other classes,” he said. “Those videos showed me a side of business that fit me completely.”

Wise, who is currently chair for the Department of Management, Marketing and MIS, has been teaching marketing and management classes since the fall of 1993 and continues exercising a creative streak for novel writing that he started developing in high school.

Wise doesn’t sit still for long. In addition to his teaching, he also writes articles and case studies for “really cool companies like Pixar, Big Idea and Moonbot.”

He is working on three novels, two non-fiction books and a computer-generated graphic novel (what he calls a “comic book with a spine”) and is learning Greek as part of his seminary degree in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology.

His most proud accomplishments were finishing his doctorate, being selected as SAU Honor Professor (an honor given by peers) and getting his first book published.

“But there’s also a sense of accomplishment you get when you help other people succeed in their goals,” he said. “When you reach the end of your life, do you want people to read off your titles or share stories about the difference you made in their lives? Those aren’t the kinds of things you can list on a resume, but they mean even more.”

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