Prior to July 1, 2018, Pamela J. Tate served as President and CEO of The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), a national, non-profit educational organization committed to expanding lifelong opportunities for adults and advancing experiential learning and its assessment for 28 years. Throughout CAEL’s history, Tate 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.
Tate is known for helping hundreds of colleges and universities to develop Prior Learning Assessment programs and improve the quality of their services for working learners. Tate has also worked with hundreds of employers on tuition assistance policy, implementation of career and educational advising for employees, and exemplary practices in employee learning and development—with a focus on credentialing the front-line workforce. She led CAEL in the development of projects that unite business, government, labor and postsecondary education to address workforce skill shortages – resulting in industry-sponsored degree and certificate programs on-line, industry-wide and statewide career pathways technology, and regional lifelong learning and talent development initiatives. Under her leadership, CAEL helped tens of thousands of employed adult learners through career counseling services, CAEL’s on-line portfolio assessment service, and its facilitation of on-line degree and certificate programs sponsored by industries such as telecommunications and utilities.
As a presenter, she is regularly sought out for her vision and insights into adult learning and workforce development and their vital relationship to the future of the economy. Among her numerous presentations throughout her career, she has focused on workforce education, adult learning and public policy, including speeches and presentations at the University of Surrey in England and various universities in South Africa; the annual conference of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA); the annual conference of the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE); the annual convention of the American Association of Community Colleges; the Presidents Institute of the Council of Independent Colleges; the national conference of the National Community College Hispanic Presidents and Chancellors; the annual conference of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges; the annual conference of the Higher Learning Commission; the annual conference of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; the national conference of the American Association of State College and Universities Chief Academic Officers; the annual conference of the International Association of University Presidents; the annual conference for Asian Pacific Islanders in Higher Education; the national convening on Quality Assurance in Competency-Based Education; a congressional convening of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; a conference on veterans sponsored by the Association for Health Information Management Foundation; the Education and Workforce Committee of the U. S. House of Representatives; the Chief Learning Officer Symposium; the annual conference of Great Places to Work; the national conference of the Communications Workers of America (CWA); and several National Technological University and College Board/PBS teleconferences.
In addition, she has facilitated and presented at summits and conferences in numerous states, including California, Indiana, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Idaho, Texas, Massachusetts, Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Ohio and Utah.
From 1994-97 she served on the Executive Committee which guided the creation of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded Commission for a Nation of Lifelong Learners. The Commission’s work culminated in November, 1997 with a major report, A Nation Learning: Vision for the 21st Century, identifying the barriers to lifelong learning for adults and recommending solutions.
Prior to joining CAEL in 1987, Tate served as lead consultant to the UAW-Ford National Development and Training Center in the design and implementation of the College and University Options Program (CUOP) for Ford’s unionized workforce. She had the primary role in leading CAEL to implement the CUOP program in eight cities in the Midwest.
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. In 2018, Tate was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame, and received CAEL’s first-ever Pamela Tate Rise Award, which is given annually to a person “who has risen to the challenge of bridging higher education and the workplace, enriching the lives of adult learners and strengthening our nation’s workforce”.
Among Tate’s many professional activities, she currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Excelsior College, on the Board of the Guide Dog Foundation/America’s Vet Dogs, and on the Board of American Forests. She is also president of the Advisory Board for the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at DePaul University.
Tate was born in Davenport, Iowa, and grew up in East Moline, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with masters degrees in both English and Journalism. She completed her doctoral course work at the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Pennsylvania.