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Denise A. Isom

Denise Isom

Interim Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
Professor, Ph.D. Social Cultural Anthropology of Education

Areas of Interest

  • Racialized Gender Identity
  • African American Studies
  • Race, Culture and Schooling

Contact Information

About Denise Isom

Dr. Denise Isom received her doctorate in Anthropology of Education from Loyola University, Chicago. Her areas of specialization include: racialized gender identity; African American studies; race, culture, class, and gender; multi-cultural education; and foundations of education. 

Dr. Isom's primary research agenda centers on racialized gender identity in African American children. Previous and current studies have explored the manifestations and implications of identity in various social context including schools and churches. Her research interests also include work on the racialized nature of congregational life, First Nations boarding school policies and implications, as well as race, gender, and schooling.

Her work has been presented at numerous national and international academic conferences and published in locations that include: The Urban Review, Oxford Handbook of Feminist Multicultural Counseling Psychology, International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Science, Teaching Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, The Journal of Race, Equality and Teaching, and Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia.


Speight, S., Isom, D., & Thomas, A. (2012). “From Hottentot to superwoman: Issues of identity and mental health for African American women” in Oxford Handbook of Feminist Multicultural Counseling Psychology. Edited by Zerbe Enns, C. & Nutt Williams, E.

Isom, D. (2012). “Fluid and shifting: Racialized gender and sexual identity in African American children” in International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Science.


CLA Diversity Award winner, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (2017)

Finalist, President’s Diversity Award, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (2017 & 2018)

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