A Tribute to Professor Cat Pausé

The NCU community lost one of its own last month with the passing of Dr. Cat Pausé. Dr. Cat, as she liked to be called, was a faculty member at NCU since 2007. She served on dissertation committees and taught courses including research methodology, gender and sexual fluidity, gerontology, and health psychology. Her academic and research interests included adult identity and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

While we are deeply saddened by her loss, we want to celebrate her life and the wonderful work she did during her lifetime.

Colleagues, students, and former students shared their memories of Dr. Cat.

Cat was a gifted teacher and researcher and an amazing person. Often at the start of a new curriculum project we would meet and discuss different theories and concepts related to the new project. I always treasured these meetings, because they were intellectually stimulating, rigorous, challenging, and friendly. Cat was amazing when it came to curriculum development. She could explain complicated theories and concepts in a way most people cannot. It also was great to chat with her about her passion, which was researching the health and well-being of fat individuals. She was a trailblazer in this area of research. She is greatly missed.

  • Dr. Bettina Shapira, department director

I had the pleasure of working with Cat since I joined NCU in 2013, and I enjoyed every opportunity I had to chat with her. Her friendliness came shining through her beaming smile, and she always made me laugh. Cat’s students also commented on how she was warm and friendly while always pushing them to do their best. Cat was a wonderful colleague and teacher, and she will be greatly missed.

  • Dr. Mindi Mull, faculty

Cat stood out to me as a very dedicated and talented educator. If we needed someone to teach a new course or sub for a student, she was always willing to help. We were lucky to have such a talented professor who was skilled at teaching a variety of courses.

  • Dr. Maria Rodriguez, faculty

It is amazing to me how personable Dr. Cat Pausé could be despite the distance learning format. As a professor she was extremely knowledgeable, always positive and kind, and the biggest "cheerleader" to her students. She will be deeply missed.

  • Katelyn Ayer, former student

I'm writing this to honor of the memory of Doctor Caitlin Pausé, who was my teacher for all of my specialization courses, and if I'm not mistaken, it was five of them. That would equal over one full year of having her as my professor for all my classes. This equals 25% of my entire time at NCU was with her as my teacher and teach she did and did it extraordinarily.

I want to say from the outset that she was a hard grader. She was very firm but always very fair in what she wrote as feedback. Twice she sent back assignments, ungraded, and said to me that I didn’t respond to the instructions for that assignment at all. You can do much better than this, James, so prove it to me, because I'm giving you a second chance. She was right. In all of her classes, I achieved A's. Two or three times I came close to getting a 100% in her courses. When Cat gave you an A, you know you earned it. I earned it -- believe me, I did -- and I kept requesting her every time I had a specialization course. By the 4th course she said, James, I would love to have you as a student again because from you, learning so much more than I expect. That’s what keeps me coming back. You give me more than just the coursework. You add more depth to the coursework. When she saw how I responded to the work, she had me read other sources for information, opening up my mind to other views and research opinions. I did this for all those courses and assignments.

When I entered the dissertation phase, she told me how proud she was of me for my topic and what I wanted to do with stigma as that was one of her big interests also. I kept in touch with her through the defense and she wanted to collaborate with me on future research. Unfortunately, I never got that privilege. I will remember her the rest of my life, and since I have saved all my assignments from NCU I still have all her comments and feedback. On to your next teaching role, Dr. Cat. Thank you for everything!!

  • Dr James Gigliello, NCU Alumnus 2018, 2019, Alumni of the Year 2020; Online professor, St Joseph's College, Southern New Hampshire University

What I always admired about Cat is her intellectual curiosity. That determination to be willing to engage in this continuous learning and exploration seemed to help her cross all the boarders. I remember talking to her when she was visiting Cologne, where she was conducting research with her German colleagues, and then few months later, she was back in Australia. She always took time to explore and prioritize what was important for her, to make it right, to do it the best of her ability. I can imagine her full of plans, looking forward to her next adventure. Farewell, Cat, I will remember you fondly.

  • Dr. Yulia Waters, faculty

Cat and I were contemporaries at Texas Tech University as students in the College of Human Sciences many years ago. She was known by many as a force to be reckoned with for her wit and outspoken tendencies. Years later when I joined NCU and “ran into” Cat, I was happy, but not surprised, to discover that she was living on the other side of the world, an advocate and activist, a dedicated scholar, and a treasured part-time professor in our Psychology department. My communications with Cat were few and far between, no surprise because she was one busy lady. She leaves a lasting impression on many who had the opportunity to work with her. She is already missed.

  • Dr. Elaine Watters, faculty

I have felt sad all week after hearing of her passing. She and I shared a special bond in that our anniversary date of starting with NCU was one day apart in 2007. Every year, I wished her happy anniversary.

  • Aven Jorde, staff

She was a special person who fought for the rights of all. I will miss her.

  • Dora Finamore, faculty

From students and former students:

  • Dr. Pause was one of a kind. She taught me how to believe in my work and taught me to test everything.
  • One of my favorite professors here at NCU. I am profoundly saddened as she supported and always encouraged me each week in all my course work.
  • As a professor, she was incredibly smart, compassionate, kind, and the best "cheerleader." I wish I could have worked with her more. She will be deeply missed.
  • I was her student for only six short weeks when there was a change in instructors. In those short weeks I learned so much from her. She had a lot of compassion and kindness. She will be missed.