ASU Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Pamela Pitman Brown
Dr. Pamela Pitman Brown, Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence and Associate Professor of Sociology, has been chosen as the president of the Georgia Sociological Association for 2021. Dr. Brown graduated with a B.S. in Education from Auburn University, an M.A in Sociology from the University of South Alabama, and a Ph.D. in Social Gerontology from Miami University. She has served on the Academy of Gerontology in Higher Education Fellow and as the former president of Sigma Phi Omega International Academic and Professional Society in Gerontology. Dr. Brown also volunteers with aging services and early education.
What motivated you to learn more about your field
The motivation to learn more about sociology came from a focus on how macro-level events can affect an individual’s micro life. In short, as I say to my students, I lived through every major macro-level event in the 1960s/1970s/1980s and it affected every aspect of my life from education to jobs to marriage and to being able to support my kids.
You have been named the 2021 President of the Georgia Sociological Association. Give
us some insight into that process and your overall feelings about the outcome.
The fascinating part of having been the incoming president was that we spent two years in the roles that were to only be one year. COVID was the factor! So, I had great training for two years as the “president in waiting”! I have worked with GSA since 2017 at the encouragement of Dr. Jason Goodner and moved into the position of Regents Advisory Committee chair of sociology in 2017-2019. From that, I have just worked with the group. I was a member at large (research) for one year and then moved to the incoming president. It is a great honor for me to serve and to be the representative for GSA. For those of you looking to take students to a conference, the 2022 conference will be at Callaway Gardens and we are super student-friendly! Dr. Rivers from ABAC brings his students every year, and I know Ms. Jordan is looking to be able to bring some next year!
Why did you choose to work at ASU?
Several reasons influenced me wanting to come to ASU. I worked at another HBCU (Winston-Salem State) and was hoping to come home (SEAL & SOWEGA) with two little kids, and an older husband. We felt like we needed to be closer to family. With both of us having lived and worked in Albany previously we knew the area. My family has a business here and I’ve also worked in Americus. I knew that I could contribute to student success and wanted to give back to a community that I had been in and out of for years. ASU is a huge beacon in SOWEGA!
What are your responsibilities as a faculty member in the Sociology and Psychology
Currently, as a faculty member, I teach intro courses as a way to introduce students to sociology and the macro-level forces that operate around us. I try to use intro as a recruitment tool for the department. I am also involved in several of the upper-level courses that have a focus on aging such as “aging and social policy” which discusses how the social policies of the Older Americans Act and the White House Conference on Aging influence how we think of aging as a nation, and whether we value our elders by making sure they are taken care of and not living in poverty.
What do you love most about being an Associate Professor at ASU?
I love being able to contribute to the school’s success in the community. I am always championing how ASU contributes so much to Albany and the surrounding area. But I mostly love having such awesome faculty whom I can interact with from an intellectual level.
Who has made the biggest impact on you and who is someone you consider to be a role
WOW! So many people had a huge impact on my life course. Probably the one person who had the biggest impact on my career was a professor at the University of South Alabama, Dr. Chuck Brown. Dr. Brown let me run his lab as an undergraduate and continued to have me work on his graduation and retention projects while I was in graduate school. Unfortunately, he passed away last year; I was always able to pick up the phone and call him anytime day or night just to run something by him. His whole goal was the betterment of his teaching and increasing mentorship with new faculty. His leadership and the changes he made in his research over the years made me realize that it is okay to shift gears and do something else in academics if you see an area that you know needs to be worked on. He is still my role model every single day.
What is your passion outside of teaching?
Redoing houses and gardening! I love to create spaces in our home/yard that make us feel special or comfortable. I am in the process of making the house more accessible so that as I age, I can continue to live there.
What advice would you give to students with an interest in your field?
Firstly, there are so many areas in sociology that can grab your interest! We have professors who research sexuality, aging, politics, race/ethnicity, inequality, urban design, health, illness, education, medicine (medical sociology), occupations/work, and deviance. The areas are limitless! Second, find a professor that “gets you” and lets you study a topic that interests you. Third, research what jobs are out there and where you can work! There is still a huge need for research in medical sociology and society due to COVID.