Elizabeth Pate has been teaching with The University of Texas at San Antonio since 2004. In addition to having more than 30 years of experience in the field of education, her writings and research have been featured in over 70 publications. She has also had the chance to present her work locally, nationally and internationally at numerous professional conventions.
“Dr. Pate is an outstanding mentor and leader in the department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching,” said Alycia Mauer, a 2010 Regent’s Award winner and ILT senior lecturer. “Her inspiration has led UTSA students and faculty to create positive change in many communities throughout San Antonio. She facilitates positive energy and inventive transformation for our program, and because of this, our students participate in life-changing community-based projects.”
Pate believes in democratic education where students and teachers work collaboratively in making decisions about what is to be learned and how its study and assessment should be implemented.
“Each undergraduate course I teach begins with a ‘blank syllabus,’” Pate said. “During the first class session, I ask students to individually write their responses to four questions: What do I want to learn in this class? How do I want to learn this information? How do I want to be assessed? Why is it important to learn this information? We then use a consensus building strategy to identify course themes.”
Pate says this type of consensus building in which every member of a group has input in decision making allows for productive dialog, debate, and a better understanding of multiple points of view.
“Dr. Pate‘s relevant instruction and willingness to tirelessly advise her students were vital in my growth and development as a teacher,” said Alexandra Villalobos, UTSA COEHD student. “She is an exceptionally devoted professor who never hesitates to step outside of her required duties to guide and advise her students with genuine concern and care for their success.”
Pate’s teaching interests include middle level education and curriculum instruction. Her research is framed by systems thinking and focuses on service-learning/community-based research; the Conceptual Framework of Teaching Practice; democratic education; and STEM curriculum instruction and assessment.
Story and photo by Deborah Silliman Wolfe