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Jennifer Sasser, Ph.D.

Jennifer Sasser

Chair, Department of Human Sciences
Director, Gerontology Program
Flavia Hall

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Ph.D. in Human Development, Oregon State University
MS in Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Oregon
     Gerontology/Social-Psychology/Feminist Theory
BS in Psychology/Music, Willamette University

Classes Taught

History & Philosophy of the Human Sciences
Qualitative Inquiry
Embodiment in Later Life
Theorizing & Researching in Gerontology
Women's Issues in Aging
Senior Core Project
Learning: A Fundamental Human Process
Human Studies: Relationship with Others
Human Studies: Perspectives


Jennifer Sasser is a nationally recognized expert in the study of aging. She co-authored the textbook Aging Concepts and Controversies, seventh edition. She was president of the Oregon Gerontological Assocation from 2008 to 2010. Other professional associations include the Gerontological Society of America, American Association of University Professors and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, which recognized Dr. Sasser with a distinguished faculty award in 2012. She served on the board of directors at Mary's Woods at Marylhurst from 2008-2011. In 1995, she was a state delegate at the White House Conference on Aging. She is a frequent speaker at conferences across the country.

At Marylhurst, Sasser has served in a leadership capacity in numerous university committees, including: co-chair of the Liberal Arts Core Committee, co-chair of the Assessment Committee, member of the Faculty Development Committee, and many other task forces and committees. She chaired the University Faculty Council from 2001 to 2007. She designed and established the gerontology program at Marylhurst in 1998.


Gero-Punk Adventures: Is it time for my guitar solo yet? Sanford Center for Aging, Distinguished Speaker Series, University of Nevada, Reno (2014)

Honoring the Past, Dreaming the Future. American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama Annual Conference
Oakland, California (2014)

Living Theory: Enacting Principles of Critical Gerontology in Daily Life. Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon (February 2007)

Aspirational Adult Education and Assessing the Ineffable. Holistic Outcome Assessment: Classroom Practice & Institutional Technology in the Service of Learning. With Simeon Dreyfuss. Council for Adult and Experiential Learning Annual Conference, Chicago (November 2005)

Instigating Reflexive Inquiry: Innovative Learning Projects for Adult Learners. Integrated Learning: Connecting Theory to Students' Knowledge and Skill. With Simeon Dreyfuss and David Plotkin. Council for Adult and Experiential Learning Annual Conference, San Diego (November 2003)

Theorizing and Enacting Bodily Histories: Designing and Implementing A Graduate Seminar in Embodiment in Later Life. Gerontological Society of America 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting, San Francisco (November 1999)

Meeting the Needs of an Aging Society through Holistic Understanding: Developing and Implementing an Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Gerontology. Gerontological Society of America 51st Annual Scientific Meeting, Philadelphia (November 1998)

Women's Sexuality in Later Life. 21st Annual Gerontology Conference, Oregon State University (April 1997)

The Point of Confluence: The Developmental Importance of Menarche in the Bodily Histories of Older Women. Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meetings, Washington, D.C. (November 1996)

Development and Factor Analyses of a Scale Measuring Control Among Family Care Givers and Care-recipients. Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meetings, Atlanta, Georgia (November 1994)



Sasser, J., & Moody, H.R. Gerontology: The basics. Forthcoming from Routledge, U.K. (2015)

Moody, H. R., & Sasser, J. Aging Concepts and Controversies. (8th Ed) Pine Forge Press. (2014)

Lee, J., &  and Sasser-Coen, J. Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary U.S. Society. New York: Routledge. (1996)

Juried Articles:

Sasser, J. (2005). Synthesis and Action: Designing and Implementing a Capstone Gerontology Seminar. Educational Gerontology: An International Journal. (2005)

Lee, Janet and Sasser-Coen, Jennifer. Memories of Menarche: Older Women Remember their First Period. Journal of Aging Studies, 10(2). (1996)

Sasser-Coen, Jennifer. Qualitative changes in creativity in the second half of life: A life-span developmental perspective. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 27(1), 18-27. (1993)

Book Chapters:

Sasser, J., & Dreyfuss, S. Enacting Integration: Two Case Studies Three Principles. Beyond Interdisciplinarity. (Forthcoming)

Pratt, Clara C., Sasser-Coen, J., Acock, A. and Hafner-Eaton, C. Health and functional status. In Margaret Neal and Clara C. Pratt (Eds.), Aging Oregonians: Trends and Projections. Portland, Or.: Oregon Gerontological Association and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oregon. (1993)

Pratt, C. C., Sasser-Coen, J., Acock, A. Long-term care. In M. Neal and C.C. Pratt (Eds.), Aging Oregonians: Trends and Projections. Portland, Or.: Oregon Gerontological Association and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oregon. (1993)

Pratt, C.C., Sasser-Coen, J. and Acock, A. Social and mental well-being. In M. Neal and C.C. Pratt (Eds.), Aging Oregonians: Trends and Projections. Portland, Or.: Gerontological Association and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oregon. (1993)

Scholarly Articles

Sasser, J. Fred's Figs: A legacy Tale in Three Parts. International Journal of Reminiscence and Life Review. (2014)

Sasser, J. Ever Hopeful, Always Dreaming: Life Course Lessons from V. Educational Gerontology. (2014)

Sasser, J. Transorming Trauma: Enacting Principles of Critical Gerontology in Daily Life. SageOpen (2014)

Sasser, J. Connecting across generations, finding a true friend. Aging Today, xxxiv (4), 9,11. (2013)

Sasser, J. a Gero-punk Manifesto. AGHExchange, 36 (1), 1,14. (2012)


Distinguished Alumni Citation, Willamette University (2014)
Distinguished Faculty Award, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (2012)
Faculty Excellence and Innovation Grant, Marylhurst University (2011)
Board of Trustees Award for Individual Achievement, Marylhurst University (2010)
Excellence in Academic Service & Teaching, Marylhurst University (2008)
AARP/Andrus Foundation Doctoral Fellowship in Gerontology (1993)
Gerontology Student of Year, Oregon Gerontological Association (1992)
Hawthorne Fellowship, Oregon State University (1992)
Gerontology Scholarship, Oregon Retired Educators (1991)
Noel Kaestner Award, Willamette University (1989)

 Read more about Jennifer Sasser, her journey to teaching and her passion for changing perceptions about aging

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