Bettis earns faculty award for focus on gender equity, diversity

bettis-80PULLMAN, Wash.  – For her work promoting human rights and social justice through research, teaching and service, Pamela Bettis will receive Washington State University’s 2015 Faculty Diversity Award.

“Her teaching, scholarship and service combine the rigor and profundity of a seasoned scholar and the commitment of those who battle for the rights of a voiceless and invisible population, particularly girls and young women,” said Gisela Ernst-Slavit, associate dean of the WSU College of Education.

Bettis, an associate professor of cultural studies and social thought in education in the department of teaching and learning, will receive the award at the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on March 27 in Pullman, part of WSU’s annual Showcase celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence. Reservations will open in February at

The award recognizes distinctive and outstanding teaching, research, creative work, service or outreach by faculty that advances diversity in the university and the communities it serves. Learn more at

Cheerleaders and ‘Star Wars’

Bettis’ research explores social justice related to gender and race. A centerpiece in her scholarship is the coauthored book, “Cheerleader! An American Icon” (2003). She coauthored the 2005 book, “Geographies of Girlhood: Identities In-Between,” and articles such as “Troubling boys and Alpha girls: Worries over gender and schooling” and “Anakin Skywalker, ‘Star Wars’ and the trouble with boys.”

She has designed and taught diversity/social justice courses that have had a profound effect on future teachers and education leaders. These courses include Diversity in Schools; Culture and Community Context of Education; Gender, Power and Schools; and Race, Identity and Representation in Education.

As chair of the cultural studies and social thought in education Ph.D. program, she has helped it grow to the largest and most diverse doctoral program in the college, said Ernst-Slavit.

Holocaust training confronts hatred

Bettis trained at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to teach students and teachers about the Holocaust. Her educational outreach provides teachers with materials, lesson plans, strategies and learning activities to “confront hatred and prevent future genocide,” according to the museum.

As chair of the International Globalization, Diversity and Education Conference – which marked its 10th anniversary in 2014 – she has focused the themes on solutions and action-oriented outcomes, both globally and locally. Learn more about the conference at

Bettis holds a Ph.D. in educational theory and social foundations, with a minor in sociology, from the University of Toledo (Ohio). She earned her masters of education degree in secondary education from the University of Arkansas and her bachelor of arts in political and social thought of the Western Hemisphere from the University of Virginia.

About WSU Showcase

In addition to the awards banquet, WSU Showcase includes the Distinguished Faculty Address on March 26; the Academic Showcase display of faculty, staff and student work on March 27; SURCA, the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, on March 30; and other events. See for details.