Jennifer Hamer hired for new faculty affairs-faculty development position

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jennifer Hamer, vice provost of diversity and equity at the University of Kansas (KU), has been named Penn State’s first associate vice provost for faculty affairs-faculty development. Hamer, who also will join the Department of African American Studies as a faculty member, will begin her appointment on July 1.

In her new role, Hamer will serve in the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and lead strategic efforts to expand and reconceptualize programs and services related to the professional and leadership development of the more than 6,400 full-time faculty throughout the University.

Jennifer Hamer has been named Penn State’s first associate vice provost for faculty affairs-faculty development, effective July 1.  Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer HamerAll Rights Reserved.

With a career spanning 23 years in higher education as both an administrator and faculty member, Hamer has wide-ranging experience in program creation and assessment, strategic planning, mentoring and adult learning, relationship development and more. In her current role as vice provost of diversity and equity at KU, she specializes in access, equity and inclusion for students, faculty and staff. Hamer is an accomplished author, researcher and teacher with an academic focus on working-class and African-American families, equity, qualitative methodologies, women and gender studies, and higher education. 

“We are so pleased to be welcoming Jennifer to Penn State as the first associate vice provost for faculty affairs-faculty development. She brings with her a deep appreciation for supporting and collaborating with faculty, as well as demonstrated experience fostering a diverse and inclusive campus environment,” said Kathleen Bieschke, Penn State’s vice provost for faculty affairs. “As a faculty member herself, Jennifer has first-hand knowledge of the opportunities and challenges today’s educators experience. She is committed to addressing their needs and goals as part of our mission to the recruitment, promotion and development of faculty and academic leaders throughout the University.”

At Penn State, Hamer will develop and implement a strategic vision for faculty development and provide leadership in programming that supports faculty from recruitment to retirement. She will be responsible for creating and managing a range of programs for faculty and academic leaders that enhance excellence at Penn State, including implementing a new faculty onboarding program and University-wide mentoring program, training new administrators, and enhancing the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty. 

Hamer will collaborate with faculty and administrators across the University, in addition to networking with colleagues at peer institutions and the Big Ten Academic Alliance to identify and outline best practices for faculty development programming. 

In her current role at KU, Hamer provides leadership for a range of university offices, including the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Center for Women and Gender Equity, Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, Jayhawk Student One Stop and more. She developed KU’s first strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion; an office resource to address faculty and staff workplace concerns; and a new hire faculty handbook to incorporate diversity into faculty and staff search and recruitment activities. She is currently implementing a professional development series for faculty and staff that includes required base-line learning on equity and inclusion topics, as well as a diversity, equity and inclusion badge for undergraduate students to support career preparation across majors. She also serves as the executive director for KU’s Multicultural Scholars Program. 

“I am excited to join the Penn State and State College communities. I am thrilled to assume the inaugural appointment of associate vice provost for faculty affairs-faculty development, as well as to be part of the Department of African American Studies, which has stellar faculty and exceptional leadership,” said Hamer. “As one of a university’s greatest resources, today’s faculty are tasked with educating future generations of leaders, producing scholarship and finding creative solutions for 21st-century problems. My role will supplement the considerable efforts of Kathy Bieschke and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs to foster and implement institutional support, professional development and care for those who do such important work.”

Before her current leadership role, Hamer was associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at KU; chair of American Studies at KU; and associate dean of the Graduate School at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Hamer has taught courses in American studies; African and African American studies; race and ethnic relations; sociology; women’s studies and other subjects at KU, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Wayne State University and Southern Illinois University. 

She is the author of two books, “Abandoned in the Heartland: Work, Family and Living in East St. Louis” and “What it Means to be Daddy: Fatherhood for Black Men Living Away from Their Children”; and is founder and editor of the scholarly journal Women, Gender and Families of Color. Her research and essays have been published in the Journal of Marriage and Family and Critical Sociology, among other publications. 

Throughout her career, Hamer has been recognized with various awards, including most recently the Elizabeth Kolmar Award for teaching and mentoring in American studies by the Mid-America American Studies Association in 2016. She is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and the American Sociological Association. She has volunteered as an equity consultant for the Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Lawrence Public School System in Kansas, among other service activities. 

Hamer earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a master’s degree in sociology from Texas A&M University, and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Last Updated March 18, 2019