Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Aaron Bartula, UNT Dallas

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Aaron Bartula, UNT Dallas

Many people have a stake in the success of UNT Dallas and associate professor Aaron Bartula ranks near the top of the list of most-involved faculty. He teaches in the Department of Criminal Justice/Sociology and over his nine years on the southern Dallas campus he's -- get this -- served as a program coordinator, interim assistant dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, director of Holistic Enrollment, faculty athletic representative (he was key in starting UNT Dallas' intercollegiate athletics program) and Faculty Senate President. Don't discount his work to get UNT Dallas' Esports program launched. Married to UNT System Associate General Counsel Lindsey Bartula, Aaron is a father of two little ones, yet with all that he still finds time to keep his mind and body right. Now, there is one thing about Aaron you might know, and we're not clowning around about this. Read on and get to know Dr. Bartula.


What is your favorite aspect about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is the opportunity to engage with students in and out of the the classroom. The UNT Dallas students’ hunger for education continually fuels my passion to educate. 

You’ve been key in getting UNT Dallas’ Esports program up and running. How did Esports become a passion of yours?
Esports merges two of my favorite hobbies: athletics and technology. Esports blends technology with sport in a way that is very competitive, but also highly inclusive.

How will plans for a new Dallas Police Academy on the UNT Dallas campus benefit Criminal Justice students?
The potential of housing a state-of-the-art police training academy on our campus is exciting for students interested in criminal justice. The academy can provide a vast number of experiential learning opportunities for students. Specifically, it would allow students to get hands-on with content discussed in the classroom -- putting theory into practice. The police academy would not just benefit students though. In partnering with the Dallas Police Department, UNT Dallas can provide research and resources to help the Dallas Police Department become the model of police training.  

What is your proudest work moment?
My proudest moment at the university is not a singular event, rather a collection of events. I am most proud when I get to see the accomplishments of my former students. I have always said that as an educator I will not change the world, but it is my goal to prepare my students to make positive impacts that will create change. Thus, I am delighted when my students take the knowledge they have gained while in my courses and apply that in their own way to create positive change.

What is your proudest non-work moment?
My proudest non-work moments are the births of my two children; they will always be my greatest works. Watching them grow as individuals brings me joy and fulfillment that is beyond words.  

What is a fact about you that may surprise your work colleagues?
Something that might surprise my colleagues about me is that I have a fear of clowns (coulrophobia). I cannot point to any single event as to why, but they are terrifying.

Book?: Fiction -- Ready Player One. Written by Ernest Cline, this book speaks directly to my childhood. The references and themes are everything I loved growing up. It perfectly captures the reasons why I fell in love with science fiction and technology.
Hobby?: Kenny’s Wood Fire Grill. My wife and I have been going to this local spot for many years, however it has taken on a greater importance during the pandemic as it is our go-to for a nice takeout dinner at home.
Hobby?: Fitness. I believe in a holistic approach to health, this includes strengthening the mind as well as the body. Conducting research, nutrition, playing games, lifting weights and running/biking are some of the ways I maintain my body and mind. Additionally, the gym is a great stress reliever.