The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate 'apparently ordinary' people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people.

Dr. K. Patricia Cross
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Dr. K. Patricia Cross

A legendary educator who has spent her life improving higher education, Dr. K. Patricia Cross has had a distinguished career as a university administrator, researcher, and teacher. Author of eight books and more than 200 other publications, she is the recipient of multiple honors, including election to the National Academy of Education and receipt of the Howard Bowen Distinguished Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education. She is currently Professor of Higher Education, Emerita, at UC Berkeley.

Despite Dr. Cross's preference to not draw attention to herself, this page honoring her is included at the insistence of Elizabeth Barkley, Claire Major, and Terry O'Banion. We believe that the world needs role models who can inspire subsequent generations to live lives of dignity, substance, and service. Pat Cross is such a role model. As Terry observed, she has contributed more to higher education—especially community colleges—than any other leader of her generation. Her powerful legacy, grounded in scholarship that focuses on the reform of policy and practice, must be preserved and celebrated.

Legend & Legacy

An influential thought leader and best-selling author, Dr. K. Patricia Cross has received fifteen honorary degrees for her powerful contributions to higher education. Discover how she’s continuing to make a positive impact across college and university classrooms now.

A "Reasonable Adventurer"

Inspired to shake up the status quo, Dr. K. Patricia Cross is motivated by a natural sense of adventure. Get to know the inventive mind behind many of the most transformative movements in higher education today.

Learning can occur without teaching—and often does—but teaching cannot occur without learning; teaching without learning is just talking.

Dr. K. Patricia Cross