Mary Martin Patton, Ph.D.

Mary Martin Patton, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Program Area: Early Childhood Education

(817) 257-7663  |

Texas Christian University
TCU Box 297900
Fort Worth, TX 76129


Dr. Mary Martin Patton is an associate professor and served as the 11th dean and first female dean of the College of Education. She came to TCU in 1994 as an assistant professor and also served as the Early Childhood Program Coordinator and Associate Dean. Dr. Patton earned her B.S., M.Ed and Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Patton’s career in education includes 17 years in public school teaching in special education and early childhood education in Texas, New York, Oregon and Alaska, as well as many leadership roles including serving as the principal of a PK-12 school on the North Slope of Alaska. Her 24 years in higher education include teaching early childhood education at the University of Texas, University of New Mexico and Texas Christian University. Prior to becoming Dean, Dr. Patton’s research and teaching focused on play, creativity and learning, and multicultural education.

Dr. Patton is active in many professional organizations, including the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Texas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and Texas Women in Higher Education and is an alumna of the Harvard Institute for Management and Leadership. Dr. Patton has received many honors at TCU including the Dean’s Teaching Award, Mortar Board Preferred Professor and finalist for the Wassenich Award for Mentoring in the TCU community.


University of Texas at Austin, 1990
Curriculum and Instruction: Early Childhood Education

Administrative  Portland State University, 1976
Certificate – Educational Administration

University of Texas at Austin, 1973
Special Education: Emotional Disturbance; Learning Disabilities

S. University of Texas at Austin, 1971
Special Education: Mental Retardation

Leadership Positions

Dean, TCU, College of Education, Fort Worth, TX. 2009-2019.
Interim Dean, TCU, College of Education, Fort Worth, TX. 2008-2009.
Associate Dean, TCU, College of Education, Fort Worth, TX. 2006-2008.
Program Chair, EC-4, TCU, College of Education, Fort Worth, TX. 2001-2006.
Early Childhood Consortium Coordinator, University of New Mexico, College of Education, Albuquerque, NM. 1992-1994.
Project Director, 2+2 Child Development Grant, Central Texas College, Killeen, TX. 1990-1991.
Principal, North Slope Borough School District, Wainwright, AK. 1978-1981.
Department Head, Special Education, Beaverton Independent School District, OR. 1976-1978.

Academic Areas

Play and Creativity
Early Childhood Curriculum
Family Engagement
Multicultural Education

Research Areas

Play and Learning
Family FunPacks
Intergenerational Play
Grade Retention of Young Children