Jennifer Hamer has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Texas-Austin with an accomplished career as faculty member and an academic administrator. She has held faculty appointments at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Wayne State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Kansas. Among the latter three institutions, she also held administrative appointments as head of department, associate dean and Vice Provost of Diversity and Equity.
Her publications follow her research interest in African American families, working class communities and an emergent focus on matters of equity in higher education. In the area of African American families and working-class communities, she has offered courses on black families, black communities, black men, black women and African American childhood and youth. She has authored publications on African American nonresidential fathers, single-parenting African American mothers and fathers, and black communities. Her academic administrative experiences center her recent research focus on equity related university policies and practices.
Beyond teaching and research, she has served as editor for Race and Society, the official journal of the Association of Black Sociologists; and founding editor of both Black Women, Gender and Families and Women, Gender and Families of Color and currently serves as Advisory Editor for the latter.
She joined the faculty at Penn State in 2019 and, in addition to her faculty appointment, serves as a Senior Faculty Mentor in The Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity at Penn State.