Pamela Tate

Pamela Tate

Hall of Fame Class of 2018

Throughout her career, Pamela Tate has become known as a highly influential, effective, and knowledgeable national and international advocate for the adult learner. Her policies and programs have significantly impacted individual adult learners, private sector businesses and workplaces, colleges and universities, and both state and federal governments.

Tate’s contributions to adult and continuing education include bringing the concepts of Prior Learning Assessment and Competency-Based Education to colleges and universities, and has advocated for the adoption of on-line education throughout the country. She has led effective efforts on behalf of quality Prior Learning Assessment, industry-led online learning, and the advocacy of policy options that favor education for workers. She can be credited with helping hundreds of colleges and universities to develop Prior Learning Assessment programs and improve the quality of their services for working learners.

In 1990, Tate assumed leadership of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), then a small nonprofit that relied on foundation grants for modest research projects on Prior Learning Assessment methodologies. As president and CEO of CAEL, she has led the organization's growth and involvement in public policy, innovative workforce education services for employers and adult learners, and systemic change efforts throughout higher education and the private sector. She partnered with higher education institutions, corporations and unions, widening CAEL’s scope until it included career services, online education programs for telecommunications and electric power industry workers, and a successful tuition reimbursement service for workers in corporations. Her efforts made it possible for CAEL to evolve into a national, nonprofit educational organization committed to expanding lifelong opportunities for adults and advancing experiential learning and its assessment. Tate’s unique initiatives to improve resources for adult learning have benefitted more than 100,000 learners and have had unmistakable impact on the field.

Among Tate’s many professional activities, she serves as Secretary of the Board of Trustees for Excelsior College and is a member of the Commission on Quality Assurance and Alternative Higher Education, formed in 2013 by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. She also served on the Consortium for Quality in Alternative Learning and was a founding member of the National Consortium for Adult Learning.

In 1996, Tate was acknowledged for a career devoted to expanding lifelong educational opportunities for adults with the Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, conferred by SUNY Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She also received honorary doctorate degrees in humane letters from DePaul University’s School for New Learning in 2005 and from Thomas Edison State College in 2007. In 2011, she received the degree of Doctor of Public Service honoris causa from St. Leo University. In 2013, Tate was awarded the President’s Medal from Excelsior College in recognition of her continued dedication to expanding opportunities for adult learners.