Anthropology Department Welcomes Innovative Professor
As a biological anthropologist, Dr. Jeanelle Uy has studied modern humans and looked at how their bodies have evolved. But she was initially drawn to the field, she says, by its ability to shine a light on the big picture.
“I just liked how anthropology tackled human issues or topics in so many different ways,” she says about first discovering her love for the field. “It’s not just like the science-y, biology side, it’s also talking about culture, sexism, racism, all these topics that kind of surround being human, and it wasn’t just a one-dimensional exploration of humans.”
Dr. Uy will join CSULB’s anthropology department in the College of Liberal Arts as a full-time faculty member this fall. Dr. Uy previously taught at Santa Monica College, CSU Dominguez Hills, and the University of Wisconsin before joining the CSULB faculty as a part-time lecturer in fall 2019, and says her “favorite place to teach is Long Beach.”
She’s teaching Human Variation and Methods in Biological Anthropology this fall, and in spring, will take on classes in Human Osteology and Primate Evolution. “I’ve found that Long Beach just has a culture of teaching excellence,” she says. “Long Beach students [look] to the future, and they seem to have a better grasp of their abilities.”
In her year teaching part-time at CSULB, Uy says she learned how to teach this generation of students. “I wasn’t really viewing students as a full person — I just expected students to be students 100% of the time,” she says about her previous outlook on teaching. “A lot of students are non-traditional students. A lot have other jobs, families to take care of, so many other responsibilities.”
In addition, her first year at Long Beach taught her that “students are multi-dimensional, and they also have a lot of different ways of learning, not just like ‘do the reading.’” Because of that, Uy says she has learned how to become more flexible as a professor. “If [my students] aren’t doing well, it’s my problem and not their problem,” she says.
With these insights, Dr. Uy has been preparing for the fall semester by looking for ways to innovate. “For the fall, what I’ve honestly been doing is watching tutorial videos made by content creators,” she says. “That’s the stuff that’s actually teaching me how to create good online lectures for my students right now,because that’s more engaging.”
In her time here, Dr. Uy plans to “teach people the benefits of the anthropological perspective, and I hope that students who come through my classrooms will take something useful to their life ahead.”
Uy knew CSULB was the right choice for her because of the community and the students : “I feel a sense of community here. I like working for the students, and I really felt how that was true in the culture of Cal State Long Beach.”
Profile story by Pete Escobar