Panorama: Sautter connects with students, colleagues and technology

Fall 2011. Retrieved online October 14, 2011 by Susan Prosoco Aggie Panorama

Pookie Sautter

Elise Pookie Sautter. (Photo by Darren Phillips)

Elise Sautter may not be a widely recognized name around the New Mexico State University campus, but ask for “Pookie,” and you’ll find your gal.

Pookie Sautter got her unique nickname from her father who, when she was still a baby, would poke her stomach and say, “Pook, pook, pook,” prompting her to giggle. After that, the name Pookie just stuck.

Lucky NMSU. Sautter came to Las Cruces and brought her skills, her husband and her nickname with her.

Sautter earned her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Florida State University. While at FSU, she met her husband Michael in an oyster bar. Michael, who also is in the education field, teaches at Mayfield High School, but his primary position is head coach for their successful volleyball program.

Sautter currently serves as the department head for marketing in NMSU’s College of Business. She has been a faculty member in the college since 1989 and served as assistant dean in 1996 and 1997.

“I don’t see myself as being an administrator long term, I see it as more of a service to your colleagues. But some people really have a calling to it,” she says.

Sautter says what she is most passionate about is the teaching and interaction with students. She teaches her principles of marketing class in blended and online formats. In her classroom, she always tries to use methods incorporating student involvement.

“I’m very much willing to experiment with new things, namely technology,” Sautter says. “It’s about constantly learning and developing. You can’t let anything get stale. It’s also a good way to keep students engaged.”

Sautter was part of a team of NMSU faculty that previewed the online virtual learning environment WebCT in the 1990s. Now owned and operated by Blackboard, WebCT serves as a valuable course tool for instructors systemwide.

Now, 20 years later, Sautter is still working to bring new learning technologies to the classroom, specifically those found in the social media sphere, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to name a few.

“It’s about figuring out whether the new technology is worth the time,” she says. “You keep the ones that prove useful and it keeps the students comfortable with change.”

As for her own academic endeavors, Sautter has turned her most recent research to the use of graphic novels in marketing and how they can be interesting and valuable in the field. She collaborated with Kelly Tian in marketing, Jim Kroger in psychology and two marketing doctoral students on the project, which won an Interdisciplinary Research Grant to continue work.

“When it’s interdisciplinary research or service, you get the different tastes and perspectives, and what those faculty members’ challenges are,” Sautter says.

She is obviously doing something right. In 2005, Sautter won the New Mexico Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, one of the many awards she values. In addition, she holds high regard for her Westhafer Award for Teaching Excellence, one of the highest recognitions NMSU gives faculty.

Upon retirement in the not-so-distant future, Sautter says she and her husband will most likely enjoy the outdoorsy life they adore so much – traveling with their dogs, camping, fishing and hiking. But she’ll miss the day-to-day interaction with students. She says that’s what keeps her from retiring right now.

“I like to stay connected,” she says.

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