I have learned more about engaging, empathetic, and effective pedagogy from Dr. Denial than from anyone else in my 20 years of college teaching. Her work has transformed my classes.
- Associate Professor Jennifer Sessions, Department of History, University of Virginia.
As an educator myself, Cate was the first person I sought out when tasked with designing a course from scratch. While my subject matter (data visualization) deviated markedly from hers, it was Cate’s instruction that I most wanted to emulate. During her generous consultation, we covered immense ground. From designing a syllabus to establishing grading expectations to encouraging camaraderie amongst peers, Cate walked me through the tactics she’s found successful while also highlighting the approaches she’s discarded along the way. Her pedagogical explanations were clear, memorable, and accompanied by an abundance of tangible tools that propelled me into action. Of all the resources I consulted, it was irrefutably Cate’s guidance that had the greatest positive impact on the course I went on to design and teach. As a former student and now educator, I couldn’t recommend her services more.
- Erin Waldron, owner of Data Dozen
I’ve had the privilege of knowing Cate for well over a decade, and she still astonishes me regularly with her commitment to her students and to improving pedagogy as a whole. Cate taught me the intricacies of crafting excellent research papers and how to use primary sources, but perhaps more importantly, she taught me the value in finding voices that are often sadly overlooked in traditional scholarship. This lens has served me through my entire career. Although Cate is a historian, she has been one of the strongest influences in my education as a scientist. As a public health professional, I regularly work with data from vulnerable populations. Because of Cate, I am firmly committed to answering the questions that people from those populations find most important and to involving community members in every step of the research process. Cate’s commitment to diversity is significantly deeper than simply incorporating it into classroom activities; she shows her students that rich scholarship is the product of the inclusion of many points of view. We don’t do this simply for the sake of obtaining many perspectives – our world is truly diverse, and by understanding that fact, we ensure that our research represents the rich reality we live in. Her commitment to lifelong learning and deeper understanding makes her one of the best educators I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and I cannot overstate the profound impact she has had on me and many others as a mentor, teacher, and friend.
- Madison Schaeffer, MS, MPH.
Professor Denial takes pedagogy more seriously than any professor I’ve had. She is creative in creating classroom exercises that engage students in learning and leave a deeply lasting impression–I still talk about things we did in her class, years and years later. She is so careful and deliberate in making sure her students are being represented in her curriculums, and she is open always about learning new things and incorporating them into her teaching. Her deep knowledge and understanding of how historians do their (our?) work means she can expertly shift between a number of skill levels, and manages to make all her students feel that they learned something new and deeply valuable to their lives. I would not be the historian, scholar, or teacher I am today without her influence, and I cannot strongly urge you enough to reach out to her as a resource that will fundamentally change the way you understand your teaching.
- Ai Miller ’16, graduate student, University of Minnesota History Department.