Faculty and staff members standing and clapping together outside.
Patricia Dotson Pettit, Ph.D.

Patricia Dotson Pettit, Ph.D.

Professor of Health and Human Performance
Health and Human Performance Department Chair
Health and Fitness
Health and Human Performance
Office location

Weary Center 209

pdp [at] NebrWesleyan.edu

Dr. Pettit (Pat) is the Department Chair and Professor in the Health and Human Performance department at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Pat serves as advisor to Phi Epsilon Kappa Honorary, and is the faculty athletics representative (FAR) for Nebraska Wesleyan University to the American Rivers Conference. She has coached volleyball, softball, and basketball at the collegiate level.  She organizes and runs camps during the summer. Pat is married to her husband Paul. She has two children Amber (husband Ryan) and Jonathon, one granddaughter Belle and one grandson Buck.


Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from The University of Nebraska – Lincoln

M.S. in Physical Education, Coaching, and Athletic Administration from The University of Nebraska - Lincoln

B.S. in Health and Physical Education from The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Courses taught

Her current teaching responsibilities include understanding human sexuality, and drugs in modern society. In addition to her advising and classroom teaching, she also coordinates internships for the department, working with interns and supervisors to maximize the learning experience.  

Research and academic interests

Outside of the classroom, my primary interest is taking students on short term study abroad trips. I have taken over 100 students abroad.  Traveling abroad is a life changing experience for students and they should take advantage of every opportunity. It is a chance to learn about another country and culture, to meet and bond with other students, and to grow personally. I have traveled with students to: Australia in 2012, 2014, 2019, and 2023: Ireland in 2013, 2015, 2018, and 2022: Netherlands in 2015, Germany in 2015: Greece in 2017: England in 2018: and New Zealand in 2019.

Service interests

Academic recommendations for students from Dr. Pettit:

  • Do excellent work at all times. Be your best!
  • Develop the ability to listen and communicate with others.
  • Engage in your class experiences learning as much as you can from each class
  • Take advantage of opportunities; such as, study abroad, student senate, honoraries, majors clubs, and advisory boards.
  • Build lasting productive personal and professional relationships.
  • Listen to and ask for advice from people in your field and others that you respect (mentors, network).
  • Look for and take advantage of opportunities; including practicums, field experiences, shadow, volunteer, internships, clinicals, and part-time work in the career that you are planning to enter.
Professional and community affiliations, certifications and awards

Faculty Mentor of the Year: 2021-2022