The 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony is just hours away, and for our last profile, we’d like to introduce you to this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award recipient. Dr. Kimberly Moffitt is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies and the Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. Program here at UMBC, but as we’ll see below, those are just two of the many ways she’s contributed to both our campus and the city of Baltimore.
As a professor of American studies, Dr. Kimberly Moffitt’s academic interests encompass several aspects of the American experience, from representations of marginalized populations to Black hair and body politics, typically viewed through the lens of the media and popular culture. She also heads the University Faculty Senate, and has recently joined the faculty of Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. program, which she says both helps her to stay engaged in the research process and to cultivate the next generation of academics. Her current projects include an exploration of the ways diverse children are portrayed in Disney media, as well as an edited volume on the TV series Scandal. Dr. Moffitt is also an active and vocal presence in local Baltimore media, frequently appearing on WYPR and WEAA-FM’s The Marc Steiner Show, and contributing op-eds to the Baltimore Sun. In addition, she is the founding parent and board member of the Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys Public Charter School.
When asked what she admires about her students, Dr. Moffitt can sum it up in one word: “GRIT!” She appreciates the chance to work with strongly gifted students who work to balance academics with their other responsibilities, but who also “recognize the need for support along the way.” She fondly remembers the last day of her first Seminar on Black Hair and Body Politics in the fall of 2010, when students decided to stick around her office after dropping off their final papers. They discussed current events, class topics, plans for the holidays. “I felt like the mother hen for the first time in my academic career,” she says, “surrounded by 20+ students…not yet wanting to leave the ‘nest’ of the classroom and our shared experience, and me not ready to let them fly free, relinquishing that special moment.”