Leah Pate

Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing
Email pate@usc.edu Office JEF 150 Office Phone (213) 740-1980


Dr. Leah Pate joined the Writing Program in the Fall of 2013. She has taught a wide array of courses for the department, from lower-division classes on values and ethics  to graduate seminars on pedagogy. She has served as the directing coordinator for the Writing About Contemporary Issues in Economics and Writing About Aesthetics courses and will assume that position for the Writing About Globalization course in Fall 2023.  She also administered the Writing Program’s Master Teachers Program from 2017 to 2020 and has served on and chaired a number of committees dedicated to curriculum, mentoring, and fiscal oversight; she has been particularly involved in training and supporting junior faculty and graduate students new to teaching. In the years prior to landing at USC, Dr. Pate taught writing, literature, and film courses at the University of California, Irvine; Loyola Marymount University; and El Camino College.

Dr. Pate’s research is largely dedicated to the use of grading contracts in the writing classroom and democratic pedagogies. Having been part of the largest pilot study of grading contracts to date, she has presented her research at multiple national conferences, primarily focusing on faculty experiences with grading contracts and issues pertaining to emotional labor.  

In addition to her academic commitments, Dr. Pate is extensively involved with a number of non-profit organizations. She has twice taught for the South Central Scholars’ Summer Academy, as well as provided college essay writing tutorials to students in USC’s Neighborhood Academic Initiative Program. She also works to lobby for the Humane Society of the United States’ legistlative agenda as a Congressional District Leader and volunteers for local animal rescue organizations. Her interest in the problem of mass incarceration led her to teach creative writing through USC’s Prison Education Program.

In her free time, Dr. Pate competes in long distance triathlons.