Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.

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Curriculum Vitae: 

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Academic interests: 


1) Sasser, J.R., & H.R. Moody.  (2018).  Gerontology: The Basics. Routledge U.K.

Human aging is a complex, multifaceted experience that unfolds over an entire lifetime.  While human aging is universal, it is also wildly variable, shaped by individual, social, cultural, political, geographic and historical contexts.  Gerontology: The Basics explores the field of research, education and practice which takes on the complex and multifaceted questions, issues and problems of adults aging and old age. Intended or anyone interested in understanding the origins of gerontology and its unique purview, we invite the reader to join us in a critical examination of what we think we know about becoming and being old and, perhaps, be inspired to engage more deeply in their own travels through the life-course.

2) Moody, H.R., & Sasser, J.R. (2018).  "Critical Questions for Critical Gerontology (and Critical Gerontologists)."  In C. Wellin (Ed.), Critical Gerontology Comes of Age: Advances in Research and Theory for a New Century.

Over recent decades, Critical Gerontology has emerged as a distinctive voice and analytic framework for challenging power and injustice in an aging society. Critical Gerontologists ask troublesome questions about ideology, control, and the ways in which knowledge is constructed (and by whom). Above all, they have called for a deeper approach to theory-work and praxis around the wild, emergent, and complex phenomena of adult aging, especially  as we travel into the farthest reaches of the life course.


I am an educational gerontologist, transdisciplinary scholar, and community activist. 

I have been working in the field of gerontology for more than half my life, beginning as a nursing assistant and senior citizen advocate before focusing on scholarly inquiry and education.  As an undergraduate student I attended Willamette University, in Salem, Oregon, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music.  My interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. My dissertation became part of a book published by Routledge in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee--Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society.

For the past twenty years I have focused my inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; aging and embodiment; transdisciplinary curriculum design; Critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and cross-generational collaborative inquiry.  I served as Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Founding Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University from 1999 to 2015.  I joined the Marylhurst faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and during the subsequent 19 years was involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners. I served on the Portland Community College Gerontology faculty from 2016 to 2018 and spearheaded the Ending Ageism campaign.

I serve as co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody, of Aging: Concepts and controversies (in its 9th edition) and first author of the recently published book from Routledge, U.K., Gerontology: The basics. 

My other ongoing commitments include convening the Gero-Punk Project; serving as a conversation facilitator and trainer for Oregon Humanities; and offering consulting, workshops and presentations throughout North America.  

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