M.A., Comparative Literature, 1981
University of California, Los Angeles
B.A., Spanish & English Literature, 1977
University of California, San Diego
Department Chair Patricia Santana was born and raised in south San Diego, the eighth of nine children of Mexican immigrants. She graduated with honors from UC San Diego double majoring in English and Spanish Literature. She received her Master's in Comparative Literature from UC Los Angeles and has been teaching at the college level since 1981. Professor Santana was awarded Outstanding Faculty 2002, the Teaching Excellence Award, 2014, and the Cuyamaca College President's Award 2012. She also received the Rainbow Award 1999 presented by the Associated Students of Cuyamaca College for outstanding dedication to the students.
On campus Professor Santana has served as an Academic Senator, a member of the Innovation & Planning Council, co-chair of the Professional Development committee, co-chair of Instructional Program Review & Planning Council, and Chair of Standard Four--Educational Programs--for the College Accreditation Self Study. Santana also developed and institutionalized the "Words & Music" program, which showcases creative endeavors by both faculty and staff.
Professor Santana is the author of two novels, Motorcycle Ride on the Sea of Tranquillity (2002) and Ghosts of El Grullo (2008) both published by the University of New Mexico Press. She has won numerous literary honors including the Before Columbus American Book Award, the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize, Premio Aztlán, and San Diego Book Award in the category of General Fiction. San Diego Magazine chose her novel as Best Work of Fiction 2003. Santana's narrative seeks to explore the clash of tradition and revolution in American culture and the intercultural misunderstandings at the center of this quarrel.
Professor Santana has been a keynote speaker at numerous colleges and universities as well as at Monarch School for Homeless Teens, Lindsey Summit School for Pregnant Teens, and the East Mesa Detention Center for boys ages fourteen through seventeen.
Santana has traveled extensively through Central and South America and Europe. Whether beholding the awesome ruins of Machu Picchu, traipsing (somewhat fearfully) through the jaguar preserve in the Guatemalan jungles, listening to a harp concert in one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in Europe, or watching the silly antics of the Barbary macaque monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar, Professor Santana's travels have informed her teaching and given her a deep appreciation for the multicultural world we live in.