Pioneer Spotlight: Dr. Philip Sealy

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Pioneer Spotlight
Dr. Philip Sealy
May 12, 2017

Dr. Philip Sealy is originally from Appleton, Wisconsin, and came to University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1997 to teach electrical engineering and physics. Now as department chair, Sealy finds most of his time occupied, but when he isn’t in the classroom or in department meetings he finds himself enjoying the great outdoors: fishing, gardening, canoeing, cross country skiing, or taking care of his chickens.

What captured your interest about physics and electrical engineering?

Every time I took a standardized test, it told me I should be a scientist, mathematician or an engineer. My dad always got mad at me because I would always tear up his watches and stuff. He had this big dresser full of junk, and I would find a watch, tear it apart and never be able to put it back together.

What does your career path look like?

It’s pretty straight really. I went from being an undergraduate at University of Wisconsin-Madison to being a master’s candidate at UW-Madison and then a PhD candidate at UW-Madison. Then I taught a class there. Then the opportunity came to teach class here, so I was here for a year as a “visiting professor” before they hired me for a permanent position, and I’ve been here ever since.

What duties do you have as department chair?

I make the schedules for each semester’s classes. I help students get into classes they need; I regulate class sizes; and I add new sections. I’m an advisor to all the transfer students. I run all the meetings. I shepherd policies through the curriculum, making curriculum changes. I teach. I do a little research on the side every once in awhile. I’m on a lot of committees. I’m on the commencement committee. I’m going to be in the Order of the Engineers ceremony; I’ve done that every year for about 10 years. Lately, I’ve been traveling to the collaborative engineering sites and doing commencement there. I schedule people in their offices, figure out who’s going where, hire new people and supervise the department.

What is your favorite part about your job?

Definitely the students: being with the students, talking with the students, helping the students get where they want to go. And teaching is all part of that. I like the advisor parts as well. I like meeting with the families when they visit campus. They come to my office, and I take them on a tour, tell them what’s good about the school, what kind of job opportunities there are and answer any questions that I can.

Are you working on any research right now?

Not right now. I like working on projects that are biologically related so I’ve worked with bats, and water run off from farm fields trying to protect trout streams. I find that I enjoy that kind of research the most.  I do have a collaborative research idea in the works, but it’s still in the beginning stages.

Interview conducted by Olivia Joehl, Student Writer, Communications. To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, contact


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