About the Dean


Dr. Troi Carleton
School of Social Sciences

Prior to coming to Sonoma State, Dr. Troi Carleton was the Associate Dean in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts and Professor of Linguistics at San Francisco State University.  The College of Liberal & Creative Arts serves 9,000 students across 21 departments which include disciplines from the Social Sciences as well as the Arts and Humanities. As Dean, Dr. Carleton is responsible for the course scheduling of eleven departments and providing support for faculty and department chairs.  

In addition, Dr. Carleton lead the college’s professional development initiatives and oversees the college undergraduate research program. Many of the initiatives she has helped develop for the college have centered on community building and belonging as key components of supporting intellectual, creative, and meaningful relationships across the college through interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty and students.  

Community engagement has also been central to her research as documentary linguist. Her research, which focuses on documenting endangered and marginalized languages and cultures, has taken her all over the world. In addition to working in sub-Saharan Africa, Dr. Carleton worked for over twenty years with communities in Mexico to assist in preserving cultural integrity through language documentation.  Her most significant work has been with the Zapotec community of Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca in Central Mexico.  Committed to both engaging in participatory action research as well as providing experiential learning opportunities for her students outside of the classroom, Dr. Carleton developed a collaborative language documentation project which included her students working with community partners in Teotitlán del Valle to create a large oral history language archive which is housed in the Museo de Teotitlán del Valle and an open-access, on-line Zapotec-Spanish-English dictionary for the community of Teotitlán del Valle and its diaspora. In the twelve years that Dr. Carleton directed the Teotitlán del Valle Community Language Archive Project, she brought forty-eight students down to Oaxaca to work with over two dozen community members. In addition to this invaluable field experience, Dr. Carleton also trained students in how to direct their own participatory action research projects. Many of the students involved in the project have gone on to become documentary linguists themselves and/or have been accepted in to top-tier doctoral programs.  
In addition to her lexicography work, she has published in the areas of oral tradition and poetics in meso-American linguistics as well as participatory action research. 

Dr. Carleton joined the San Francisco State faculty in 1996 and served as Linguistics Program Coordinator from 2009-2017. As a highly respected teacher, Dr. Carleton developed the documentary linguistics track in the Linguistics program to complement the Teotitlán del Valle Community Language Archive Project. In developing a five-year strategic plan for the Linguistics program which was informed by Bay Area workforce demand, Dr. Carleton proposed and set into motion the introduction of a computational linguistics track for the program.  Today, the Linguistics program offers a certificate in Computational Linguistics. Dr. Carleton has also been active on the San Francisco State Academic Senate, and served two terms as Academic Senate Chair and one as Vice Chair. 

Dr. Carleton holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin in Linguistics (1996), an M.A. from Columbia University in TESOL/Applied Linguistics (1987), and a B.A. from University of California, Davis in German (1986). She was born and raised in the Bay Area and currently lives with her family in the North Bay.