By Liz Gundlach
When Dr. Shana Porteen started her undergrad at Oklahoma State University she wanted to become a junior high school science teacher because of her love of science. After going to school for a while she decided to change her major to pre-pharmacy.
Pre-pharmacy didn’t seem to be the right fit for her so she gave Forensics in Sociology and Criminology a try. Dr. Richard Gee, Dr. Porteen’s future husband, was studying General Sociology at Oklahoma State University. As their educations continued together their majors switched and Dr. Porteen went into General Sociology.
While at Oklahoma State University her professors and the Sociology graduate students mentored her and made it possible for her to conduct and present research at conferences for graduate students while she was still an undergrad.
Once becoming a graduate student herself, she began to mentor undergraduate students the way she was mentored as a way to pay it forward.
Dr. Porteen says she became a professor “because of the great mentor ship from my professors I became friends with.”
Her official title at Finlandia is Director of Institutional Equity and Diversity. This means Dr. Porteen has to ensure Finlandia is in compliance with all civil rights and laws, that these laws are enforced, that all policy violations are investigated, and complaints are addressed.
Under the Department of Education in the Office of Civil Rights, Director of Institutional Equity and Diversity is now becoming a new profession of its own. Dr. Porteen attended a conference in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago with two hundred other people advancing into this new profession. All of the two hundred people in attendance had just began this profession within the last six months.
As the Director of Institutional Equity and Diversity, Dr. Porteen is in charge of everything related to Title VII and Title IX. Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin by employers. Title IX says that no one in the United States on the basis of sex can be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program.
In addition to this, she will likely be teaching two classes a semester. Her favorite class to teach is Intro to Sociology because she loves the class sizes. Intro to Sociology class sizes are larger than most classes at Finlandia but are a size Dr. Porteen is used to from teaching at Western Illinois University, where she taught before coming to Finlandia the Fall Semester of 2012.
Dr. Porteen received a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Science from Oklahoma State University. She then went on to get a PhD. in Sociology from the University of Missouri.
Dr. Porteen, and Dr. Gee, came to Finlandia because they were looking for a more “meaningful teaching environment” and wanted the Liberal Arts experience.
In her free time, Dr. Porteen enjoys spending time outdoors camping, fishing, hiking, going to the beach, and spending time with her dogs. “I’m physically and emotionally happy here,” she said.