Brenda Sifuentez

Assistant Professor and Program Director

Dr. Sifuentez is currently an Assistant Professor of Student Affairs Administration Master’s Program and teaches in the Educational Leadership Program. Dr. Sifuentez grew up in Eastern Oregon and is the daughter of immigrant farmworkers and her time in the fields with her family is where she saw firsthand injustices. 

She attended the University of Oregon (UO) where her work on changing institutions of higher education began. After graduating from UO, she worked as an organizer for the Oregon Student Association seeking to increase access and affordability to post-secondary institutions for all Oregonians. Before entering her graduate studies, she worked for Portland Jobs with Justice. During her graduate studies, Dr. Sifuentez worked in various roles from orientation to student civic engagement and leadership. Prior to finishing her doctoral degree, she worked for the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) as a research assistant. In this role, she utilized her experiences in higher education research, assessment, and program evaluation.

At Lewis & Clark College, Dr. Sifuentez teaches courses in foundations of higher education, governance and administration, organizational theory, student development theory, history of leadership, qualitative methods, and minority-serving institutions.

Outside of Lewis & Clark College, Dr. Sifuentez serves as the Senior Associate Editor for About Campus -An ACPA publication. Additionally, she serves as a board member for the Oregon Student Foundation.

Teaching Statement

As a professor, Dr. Sifuentez tries to consistently challenge students. She encourages them to reflect on their own identity as a text to examine racial formation, access to higher education, and other social issues while also using primary and secondary sources to historicize those experiences. Dr. Sifuentez does this by engaging film, music, and other media in the classroom to demonstrate how social and political contexts inform the way they interact with others. Supporting and challenging students is important to Dr. Sifuentez as she strives to create classroom spaces that are stimulating and critical to development.

Areas of Expertise

  • Organization and Governance
  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions
  • Activism and Organizing
  • Assemblage Theory
  • Qualitative Methods & Post-Qualitative Methods

Current Research

  • Examining Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the Pacific Northwest
  • Governance and Social Justice
  • Activism in Higher Education

Dr. Sifuentez’s research agenda is guided by her desire to alter relations of power in institutions of higher education.


Sifuentez, B.J. & Gildersleeve, R.E. (2022). I don’t want feelings; I want tacos. In Guyotte, K. & Wolgmuth, J. (Eds.) In Philosophical Mentoring in Qualitative Research: Collaborating and Inquiring Together!. Routledge.

Ramos, D., & Sifuentez, B. (2021). Historically Underrepresented Students Redefining College Success in Higher Education. Journal of Postsecondary Student Success, 1(2), 91–110. 

Gildersleeve, R. E., & Sifuentez, B. J. (2021). Border U. Policy Futures in Education. 

Museus S.D., & Sifuentez B.J. (2021) Toward a Critical Social Movements Studies. In: Perna L.W. (eds) Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, vol 36. Springer, Cham.

Gildersleeve, R.E. & Sifuentez, B.J. (2017). Latinx youth activism and higher education: A new materialist analysis of the Latino graduation ceremony. Critical Question in Education, 8:4, 343-357.

Gildersleeve, R.E. & Sifuentez, B,J. (2016). The ethnographic organization: (Critical) ethnography and the organizational analysis of higher education. In Pasque, P. A., & Lechuga, V. M. (Eds.) (2016). Qualitative Inquiry in Higher Education Organization and Policy Research. Routledge.


Sifuentez, B. & Gildersleeve, R. (May 2020) Philosophical Mentoring I: Postqualitative Musings. Paper presented at International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry in Urbana, IL.

Ramos, D., & Sifuentez, B. (March 2020) A New Definition for College Success: Considerations for Student Affairs Professionals. Paper presented at NASPA Annual Conference in Austin, Tx.

Gildersleeve, R.E. & Sifuentez. B. (April 2019). An Assemblage Theory Analysis of a Student Organization at a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, Canada.

Sifuentez, B., Wang, A. & Teck. V. (November 2018). It’s Not Just for Students: Faculty and Staff Activism. Roundtable at the Association for the Study of Higher Education Conference, Tampa, FL.

Sifuentez, B. & Wright-Mair, R. (April 2016). A Critical Race Theory Analysis of instituting the Rooney Rule at a private higher education institution. Paper presented at the 2016 Keeping our Faculty of Color Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Invited Conference Presentations

Sifuentez, B. (October 2019). Reclaiming campus design plans for social justice. Liberal Arts Chief Diversity Officers Meeting. Portland, OR.

Sifuentez, B. (November 2019). Newly minted and early career scholars. Association for the Study of Higher Education. Portland, OR.

Sifuentez, B. (November 2016). Presidential Session: First Generation Panel. Invited guest speaker by Dr. Shawn Harper to Association of the Study of Higher Education in Denver, CO.

Academic Credentials

PhD in Higher Education, University of Denver

MA in Higher Education Administration and Leadership, California State University, Fresno

BA in Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon