In 2009, Dr. Jenelle Pitt Parker went on her first tour of the Fresno State campus. She was inspired by the variety of student centers, including the National Coalition Building Institute in the Cross Cultural and Gender Center, an organization that works to eliminate prejudice and inter-group conflict on campuses and in communities throughout the world.
Always being driven to make a difference in her local community, Pitt Parker was motivated as she began her journey at Fresno State as an assistant professor in the department of counselor education and rehabilitation.
Pitt Parker began pursuing higher education when she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from U.C. Riverside. She then enrolled in Michigan State University and earned a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and a Ph.D. in rehabilitation counselor education.
Dedicated to advocating for others, Pitt Parker found many opportunities at Fresno State.
During Pitt Parker’s first year, she was appointed to the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity where she helped to develop the University’s first diversity, equity and inclusion plan. She also served as a board member of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute and was a member of the Respect Civility and Inclusion Resource Team at Fresno State. In addition to many other contributions over the past twelve years, Pitt Parker was recently appointed to the 2020-21 President’s Leadership Task Force and the African American Student Resource Center and has begun serving on the Humanics Advisory Council.
Pitt Parker is not only active at Fresno State but she is steeped in the community. She has served on the City of Fresno’s Disability Advisory Commission since 2010, where she provides recommendations and advice to the mayor of Fresno on city policies, procedures, and services to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities. She also serves on the Fresno Unified School District African American Academic Acceleration Task Force and uses data to find ways to help accelerate academic improvements for African American students in K-12.
“Being able to be a part of the larger work, on behalf of the 74,000 Fresno Unified students, has been something I’m very pleased to be involved in both professionally and personally,” said Pitt Parker.
Pitt Parker has served in many academic roles at Fresno State and wanted to further make an impact in areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, so she pursued leadership.
After serving as chair of the department of counselor education and rehabilitation for two years, Pitt Parker has been named associate dean of the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.
During this academic journey, Pitt Parker sought guidance from both her family and mentors. Her years spent at Fresno State have allowed her to nurture many interdisciplinary relationships which have led to various collaborations, partnerships, and invaluable support.
“Considering the value of a university degree, particularly for use in a rapidly changing workforce, I remain focused on the need for stronger representation across faculty, staff and administrators, as it relates to matching demographics of the communities that are being served,” said Pitt Parker.
With extensive knowledge and research in rehabilitation and mental health, Pitt Parker is focused on wellness factors of faculty, staff and students returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester. As associate dean, she is also focusing on accreditation, high-impact and social justice philanthropy, and the needs of our students as they complete fieldwork and practicum at partnership sites in the community.
The fall semester offers many opportunities and Pitt Parker is looking forward to navigating the ways she can provide support and enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in work settings.
Pitt Parker is humble and a driving force who represents dedication to her community and profession. She plans to one day become a university president and says that it’s good to have goals and to continue evolving and growing.