National Forum Legendary Musician Penny Pasque Earns Tenure at University of Oklahoma

Dr. Penny Pasque, a 2007 graduate of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) and a legendary musician of the National Forum, has recently earned tenure and been promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma (OU).  Penny began working at OU after graduating from the University of Michigan and was awarded tenure in only five years – a year ahead of what is normally expected.  After some great experiences at both the Forum and CSHPE, Dr. Pasque credits her recent success to a great environment at OU.

As an assistant professor, Penny, who confesses to being a “research dork,” has focused her research on social justice and how institutions should be involved in social change.  “No matter what area, engineering or humanities, either locally or globally, institutions can make and lead change,” Penny says.  “Whether that change be in human trafficking or education, institutions have a role to make social change.”

Penny explains that her research interests stem, in part, from her work at the Forum.  “While I was at the Forum, we had many discussions on what is the public good.”  Having those discussions helped Penny form her ideas about the role institutions play in society.  While working at the Forum, she was not just sitting on the sidelines and learning about the research on social change in higher education, but getting involved with it.  “The Forum was great,” Penny says, “because you not only read the pieces that are out there, but get to be a part of the pieces and help make them.  You get to meet and work with the people who are leaders in the field.  When working with these leaders, you hear their passion for the issues and also the importance of the topics and the nuances involved.”

In addition to her research in social change, Dr. Pasque has also written about qualitative research methodology and methods, and taught in OU’s higher education administration and student affairs programs and helped to strengthen the curriculum of both programs.  She has also enjoyed the benefits of staying in contact with the people she met at Michigan, which she highlights as one of the benefits of the Forum and CSHPE.  “I connected with the people in my cohort and the cohorts before and after me and remain connected to them,” she says.  “I have friends all over the country and we still support each other in our work.”

Now that she has tenure, what’s next for Dr. Pasque?  “First is a sabbatical, which I am excited about.  I love my job and am grateful to have this opportunity.  It’s a privilege to be able to concentrate on research.”  She is also in the early stages of a book series with several other higher education researchers across the country, including CSHPE’s Dr. Edward St. John, Shaun Harper at the University of Pennsylvania, and Estela Bensimon from the University of Southern California.

What advice would she give others just starting toward a degree in higher education?  “I think it is important to be thoughtful about what you want from the program.  Think about what you can contribute but also what you want to learn.  Also, most people want to help you out, so don’t be afraid to ask!”

For a complete list of Forum Legendary Musicians, visit our always growing Legendary Musicians page!

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