Patricia Jennings, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs & Administration
Like many young women of my generation, my goal was to attend a community college and major in nursing. Then I enrolled in Introduction to Sociology and that ended my nursing aspirations. I found Sociology to be a compelling area of study. When I was a kid, I often wondered why some families had so much more than my family. Sociology helped to answer this question by providing me with a framework for understanding the structural causes of class-based inequality. After completing a BA and MA in the CSU system, I entered a Ph.D. program in Sociology at the University of Kentucky. By the time I entered the doctoral program, my academic interests had broadened to incorporate a focus on the complex ways that class inequality intersects with race and gender (commonly referred to as intersectionality). I selected the University of Kentucky for graduate study because at the time feminist faculty were developing intersectionality as an area of concentration. The University of Kentucky also provided me with the opportunity to earn two interdisciplinary certificates, Social Theory and Women and Gender Studies.
My first academic position out of graduate school was as an Assistant Sociology Professor at CSU, Bakersfield where I taught courses in research methods and social inequality and served as Director of the Women and Gender Studies certificate program. I joined the Sociology faculty at CSUEB in 2008. After earning tenure and promotion, I served two terms as the department chair. I joined the College as Interim Associate Dean (AD) of Faculty Affairs and Administration in AY 17/18 and became the permanent AD in AY 2018/19.
Sarah Nielsen, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Curriculum
Sarah Nielsen began her English teaching career at the Beijing Institute of Iron and Steel Technology after earning a B.A. from U.C. Santa Cruz in language studies (French and Mandarin Chinese). Upon her return to the U.S., she earned an M.A. in linguistics (TESOL emphasis) and a Ph.D. in education (language and literacy emphasis) from U.C. Davis. After seven years of freeway flying in the Sacramento area, she taught and coordinated the ESL program at Las Positas College. At CSUEB, Sarah coordinated the M.A. TESOL program from 2004 to 2013 and served as the chair of the English department from 2013 to 2018. Her scholarly interests include adult second language learning, extensive reading, student-generated language learning materials, and the development of teacher expertise.