Alumna of the Month

Patti Kurtz, DA (2001) 

A graduate of the D.A. program in English (2001), Patti Kurtz is currently an Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at Minot State University (Minot, ND).


A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Patti received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania longer ago than she cares to admit. Partway through an MS in the Mass Communication program at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Patti was hired as TV production technician at WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio.  For the next 15 years, Patti worked behind the scenes in television for such stations as WVIT-TV in Hartford, KTUL-TV in Tulsa, and WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh.


Patti always knew she wanted to teach, however, so she left her television work to obtain an MA in English from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, where she was first introduced to Writing Center tutoring as part of her assistantship. Patti went on to teach as an adjunct for Jefferson Community College in Steubenville, Ohio before she finally came to Idaho State University in 1996 and enrolled in the D.A. (Doctor of Arts) program.  Her doctoral papers focused on using creative writing to teach composition and on analyzing the differences between face to face and online discussions.  She also tutored in ISU’s Writing Center.


After graduating from ISU, Patti worked as an Assistant Professor of English at Heidelberg University in Ohio for two years before finally moving to Minot State. where In addition to her work in English and the Writing Center, Patti also teaches online courses and is a firm believer in interactive and engaging online instruction. She is the Master Course designer for the English online classes at MSU and is co-adviser to The Coup, MSU’s art and literary publication for students. She also maintains the English department’s web site and teaches composition, creative writing, linguistics, and young adult literature courses. Patti enjoys teaching writing especially, because she has been a writer herself and loves to share her enthusiasm for the craft with her students.


Patti has been writing fiction for many years, but to take her craft to the next level, she enrolled in the low-residency MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University in 2014. Her thesis (still in progress) is a young adult novel about a 16 year- old female race car driver who must cope with the risks of the sport she loves. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Patti is actively pursuing publication in the field of contemporary young adult fiction. Several of her short stories have won awards over the years, and a historical novel manuscript was awarded a Letter of Merit from the SCBWI's WIP Grant program.


Patti’s interests include writing fiction for both adults and teens, photography, and auto racing. Patti enjoys living in Minot with her husband and two fur children, but Pittsburgh will always be her true home town.