Pat Davis

Pat Davis

College of Pharmacy
Senior Fellow

What motivated you to become a PTF?

It was really working with the team that first developed the structure for the Provost Teaching Fellows Program. It was obvious that this Program had the potential for a very broad, positive impact across the whole campus, and I knew I would enjoy having a role in that. The positive interactions that I have had with faculty dedicated to the teaching/learning experience at the University have been a real joy, and have allowed me to learn much more about the exciting and innovative things that dedicated faculty are working on that impact their classes, as well as the broader university community. It has also been a great opportunity to interact with the faculty/staff in Faculty Innovation Center and see the kinds of synergies that can develop with well designed collaboration.

What inspired your passion for teaching?

There were a few “ah ha” moments along the way, but I think it was more a matter of having a number of excellent teachers that inspired me in both teaching and in research. Over the years, my passion has been sustained by seeing the positive impact we can have on our students, and the excitement of working with colleagues committed to improving in teaching and learning.

What advice do you have for other teachers?

Never forget what it was like to be a student. I have found that students quickly misinterpret this principle, because they conclude that it means “Take it easy on the students. Have you forgotten how tough it was on you?” Quite the contrary… What I recall is that every time the bar was raised my fellow students and I would strive to meet it (not always succeeding, but certainly trying). I empathize with their challenge, but I also remember that those same types of challenges often led to my personal "eureka moments" through a combination of my own hard work and the efforts of dedicated teachers. For me, this is a lesson learned as an instructor in TaeKwonDo over the past twenty years: “Never forget what it was like to be a whitebelt.” It’s easy to have high expectations of blackbelts. But it is also important to continue teaching beginning whitebelts as a reminder that I faced the same challenges; I rose to meet those challenges with the help of a dedicated instructor; and I have now been given the privilege of helping someone else at the very beginning of their own journey of self-discovery.

For more on Dr. Davis's work, please visit his homepage or email him at davispj@austin.utexas.edu.

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Dr. Davis is Chair of the Provost Teaching Fellows Program. He is also a Senior Fellow and serves as mentor for incoming Fellows. Find out more about this Faculty Initiative here.