This edition of Who Makes Millersville Special features Dr. Leslie Gates, assistant professor of art and design.
Q: Where are you originally from?
I grew up in Mount Joy, about 25 minutes from MU.
Q: What is your educational background?
I have a B.S.E. in Art Education from Millersville University, an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Shepherd University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland College Park.
Q: How did you become interested in art?
I think children are born as creative makers, and I was no exception. I appreciate that my parents supported my interests in art, music and dance as a child through summer camps, lessons, classes and many other informal ventures, like the time we were allowed to draw all over the living room walls before the wallpaper was applied.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A tall one.
Q: Do you participate in the arts outside of work?
Yes. I exhibit my work a few times a year, love visiting museums and galleries, and work with a friend to coordinate shows for a gallery space at my church. Perhaps more importantly, we have family dance parties in our living room.
Q: What about art education interests you the most?
Art educators are inherently activists when they give students choices and teach for creativity, given the increasingly standardized nature of public schools. What excites me is inviting my students to envision and enact an art education that will help to transform schools for the better.
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?
Birthing two “babies” in one year: the first was a daughter named Evelyn and the second was a doctoral dissertation. My second greatest accomplishment is probably co-founding Lancaster County Opt Out, an organization dedicated to informing local parents about their rights to refuse the standardized testing of their children.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?
I enjoy cooking and making my own cleaning products. My spouse and I spend a lot of time reselling valuable items we find at thrift stores, which I joke is our only shared hobby.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
Henry Van Dyke wrote, “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best,” which I find helpful as a recovering perfectionist.
Q: How do you want students to remember you?
I want my students to remember me as someone who kindly and carefully provoked their assumptions, desires and beliefs about art education, and supported their evolving teaching practice.
Q: If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
I would create some type of a retreat center where art teachers could come talk to each other about ideas, make art, eat, laugh and write letters to their legislators about the perils of standardized testing.
2 replies on “Leslie Gates”
I enjoyed hearing about your family dance parties – fortunate children! It’s a pleasure having you back at MU, Leslie.
Leslie is a first rate educator who inspires her students and who balances the life of an artist,educator, and mom. Millersville is lucky to have her on their team!