3 Baltimore Schools Attempt To Diversify Higher Education | Maryland News


By BILLY JEAN LOUIS, The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE, Md. (AP) – Kimberly Moffitt wants to diversify leadership roles in higher education – traditionally a field with few minorities – to include more women and people of color.

Moffitt, acting dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, said her institution, along with Morgan State University and the University of Maryland at College Park, had received a $ 3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. to continue the project.

The three-year grant, to be distributed among schools, will pay 10 associate professors from each institution each year to complete training, including workshops, summer instruction and mentorship to prepare them for leadership roles.

Moffitt, who leads the project and has worked at UMBC for 15 years, said the main higher education positions are typically president, rector and vice-president of research.

Political cartoons

The highest post in all three schools is held by a black man. At Morgan, a historically black university, the president is David Wilson, and the president of the University of Maryland at College Park is Darryll J. Pines. At UMBC, the president is Freeman Hrabowski, who announced last year that he will retire in June.

But the project, which will develop the next generation of leaders, will focus on associate professors, Moffitt said, as women and people of color in those roles have struggled to become full professors – a necessary step to be considered. for the highest positions.

She said the groups would rotate across campuses to see what life is like at UMBC, Morgan State and College Park, and how each institution’s structure differs from that of their institution.

Navigating career paths in higher education can be difficult for women and people of color due to additional burdens beyond the expected workload such as students of color who may or may not be in their classes. , asking for their help.

Research that touches on topics such as race or sexuality can backfire on faculty during the tenure assessment process. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ research into slavery sparked a conservative backlash that allegedly led her to decline a position at the University of North Carolina in favor of a position at Howard University , a historically black university in Washington, DC

Moffitt said she was able to navigate academia with the help of her mentors. Prior to becoming Acting Dean, she taught in the American Studies Department at UMBC, both as an Assistant and Associate Professor and was Director of Language, Literacy and Culture for the program. of doctorate.

A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Moffitt received a PhD in Mass Communication / Media Studies from Howard University, an MA in Mass Communication from Boston University, and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Moffitt, 51, lives in Owings Mills in Baltimore County and is married to Noah Garrison, a landscaping contractor. The couple have two children: Niles and Kaya Garrison.

Growing up, she says, her parents, David Richard and Evon Moffitt, both deceased, instilled in her the importance of education. Her mother worked as a kindergarten teacher for 35 years. His father served in the army in Vietnam and told him to get as much education as possible because “it’s one thing in the world that no one can take from you.”

Sherella Cupid earned a doctorate. in Language, Literacy & Culture at UMBC and is mentored by Dr. Moffitt. As a black woman, Cupid said having Moffitt as a mentor is inspiring. Cupid is currently doing research at Louisiana State University.

“The majority (of people) before, I wouldn’t think of them as mentors because (we) didn’t have that ‘Let me show you how to be a teacher’ relationship,” she said.

Shenita Benson, a doctoral student in languages, literacy and culture at UMBC, echoed Cupid, saying Moffitt was one of the reasons she was transferred from North Carolina State University.

There is a lack of minority professors in higher education, including black women, Benson said. She met Moffitt at a conference and knew she would love to work with her at UMBC.

“I knew (UMBC) was a place where I was going to feel welcome and work with someone who looks like me,” she said. “It is certainly impossible to navigate a doctorate. program without someone who is really invested in the students.

Moffitt is no stranger to project management. Seven years ago, she helped start the Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, a charter school, in hopes of creating a space for boys like her son, Niles, who was among the first group to get his graduate from school. Moffitt is no longer on the school board but continues to support her financially.

“Any kid that is in the building and says he’s a boy becomes a boy the way he wants to be and doesn’t feel like the hyper-masculine way that a number of our kids growing up in. the city. like they have to hang on is the only way they can be, ”she said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Comments are closed.