Patricia Alvarez McHatton is dean and professor in the College of Education and P-16 Integration at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Patty has served in a multiple leadership positions including chair of the Department of Inclusive Education at Kennesaw State University, associate dean of teacher education at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and currently as dean. In addition, she served as president for both the Division for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners and the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and is on the editorial board of several journals.

We need to shift from a culture of compliance to a culture of inquiry that is focused on program improvement.

Why did you decide to join Deans for Impact?

I found the organization’s positive and data-informed approach to accountability in educator preparation a breath of fresh air. We need to shift from a culture of compliance to a culture of inquiry that is focused on program improvement. Ensuring access to data that will provide the necessary information to highlight areas of strengths as well as identify areas for growth and improvement is essential.

What is one pivotal moment in your career in educator preparation that left a positive impact on you or others?

We worked with a cohort of special education majors and speech-language majors throughout their two-year program. Each semester, the students took a special-topics course on special education and urban education. We believed it was essential to immerse them in community and school settings, and to provide them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and dispositions to engage with culturally and linguistically diverse children, youth, and families from an asset-based perspective. These students made a profound difference in the lives of the children, youth and families with whom they worked.

What most excites you about the opportunity to transform the field of educator preparation in the years ahead?

What excites me the most is the ability to truly make a difference that will positively impact our children, youth, and families. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” For me, this quote embodies the opportunities we have if we open our minds to possibilities. Once imagined, we can find a way to bring our ideas to fruition; we just need to be brave enough and diligent enough to see them through.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter