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Dr. Joseph A. Pate

Professor of Outdoor Studies, Chair, Department of Sport, Recreation, and Outdoor Studies - Professional Studies

(706) 379-5248

Dr. Joseph Pate joined the YHC faculty in 2012.  Dr. Pate specializes in experiential learning, education, and practice, specifically through leveraging outdoor and adventure contexts to achieve diverse educational outcomes. Some of Dr. Pate’s favorite classes include Environmental Stewardship & Interpretation, Leadership in Wilderness Contexts, Outdoor Risk Management, The Appalachian Trail, and Experiential Education and Practice.

Dr Pate’s background in the philosophy and theory of experiential education, professional experiences in therapeutic uses of adventure, outdoor recreation, outdoor education, and environmental programming, and research interests in qualitative inquiry, phenomenology, affect theory, and creative pedagogical practices inform his orientation to teaching, leading, and scholarship.

Dr. Pate’s research focuses on leisure and affective spaces of personal meaning, relevance, significance, and connection, as well as deeply sought-after and revered human experiences and interactions. Dr. Pate has greatly enjoyed his opportunities at Young Harris College working with students through a variety of undergraduate research opportunities, and helping students transition to graduate school or their professional journeys.

When enjoying his leisure time, he engages his passions of music, canoeing, hiking, and exploring the natural beauty and wonders in Young Harris and beyond.  


  • Ph.D. Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Georgia
  • M.Ed. Outdoor Education Administration, Georgia College & State University
  • B.S. Psychology, Presbyterian College
Areas of Teaching Specialties/Research Interests: 
  • Leisure Experience and Affect
  • Outdoor Education & Leadership
  • Experiential Education Theory, Philosophy, and Practice
  • Qualitative Inquiry, Methods, and Approaches