Dear UMBC Community,
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Kimberly R. Moffitt as the permanent Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) effective March 11, 2022.
Dr. Moffitt’s appointment brings to a conclusion a successful national search for the permanent CAHSS Dean that began earlier this academic year. For the past 19 months, Dr. Moffitt has served with distinction as Interim Dean of the College by providing outstanding leadership during one of the most challenging times for our entire campus community. On behalf of our faculty, staff, students, and the UMBC leadership team, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dean Moffitt for her hard work and commitment as Interim Dean and welcome her to her new permanent position.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and thanks to all members of the Search Committee, chaired by Dr. Alan Yeakley. Their commitment to this important endeavor constitutes an outstanding contribution to the future of CAHSS and UMBC. I also wish to acknowledge the advice and counsel the CAHSS and campus communities provided to the Search Committee, as well as the logistical support provided by Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Autumn Reed and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Patrice McDermott.
Dr. Moffitt joined the UMBC community in 2006 as an assistant professor of American Studies, and, prior to her appointment as Interim Dean, served as director of the Language, Literacy & Culture doctoral program. She is a professor of Language, Literacy & Culture and affiliate professor of Africana Studies.
In addition to her service as Interim Dean, Dr. Moffitt brings to her new position an outstanding record of scholarship and leadership in shared governance, including serving as president and vice president of UMBC’s Faculty Senate; as a member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, as UMBC’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative, and as a member of several other University committees.
Dr. Moffitt earned a B.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, an M.A. in mass communication from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in mass communication/media studies from Howard University. Prior to joining the UMBC faculty, she was the first Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Fellow from Howard University; completed a teaching postdoctoral fellowship at Hope College in Holland, Michigan; and held a faculty position at DePaul University.
As a media scholar and critic, Dr. Moffitt’s work centers on topics that encompass ideas of citizenship, identity, representations, and belonging in society. Specifically, she explores the mediated representations of the black body and its extremities (e.g., hair), often in programming such as Disney and other media forms. Her research seeks to understand how these representations influence communication among different cultures, affect policies within institutional structures, and impact the self-esteem and self-worth of those occupying black bodies. She has an extensive publication record, including five co-edited volumes and numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. In addition to her service at UMBC, Dr. Moffitt also extends her expertise into the greater Baltimore community by facilitating workshops on diversity and inclusion, as well as by appearing as a featured guest on several local and national media outlets. Dr. Moffitt is the founding parent of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys charter school and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She remains actively involved in her disciplinary association, the National Communication Association, which recently honored her with the Scholar-Activist Award. Dr. Moffitt is also the vice president of the board of the National Association of Media Literacy Education, as well as a board member of Maryland Humanities and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.
Dr. Moffitt’s appointment as Dean will allow her to build upon her accomplishments as Interim Dean, including streamlining College processes, such as implementing a College-wide RT system and enhancing the CAHSS Advising Office to better support departments and students. She has established new initiatives to promote faculty research efforts, including the proposed Center for Public Health Research and the Student Research Assistant program, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to engage with faculty on authentic research projects. Dr. Moffitt exhibited her deep commitment to equity by creating the “Looking in the Mirror” series, a monthly virtual community conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion facilitated by a number of her UMBC colleagues.
Finally, through her comprehensive and innovative efforts to engage with both internal and external stakeholders, donors, and foundations, Dr. Moffitt has already brought significant additional material support into the College and University. This includes a $3.1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation for “Breaking the M.O.L.D.,” a leadership development program for faculty in the arts, humanities, and qualitative social sciences who are interested in higher education leadership. She also contributed to securing the recent $21 million Sherman Family Foundation gift to support the University’s K-12 and early childhood education work.
As CAHSS Dean, Dr. Moffitt will lead the College in advancing excellence in teaching, research, and service. She will work collaboratively with colleagues across campus to promote innovative interdisciplinary teaching and research and with external partners to support the strategic goals of the College and University, including community engagement. Dr. Moffitt will supervise the College’s planning and budget development; oversee teaching, research, outreach, and administration within the College; develop and promote activities that support a diverse faculty; and oversee faculty development, promotion and tenure, and appointments. In addition, she will participate in campus-wide shared governance processes, serve as a member of the University’s leadership team, and provide effective leadership and support to students, faculty, and staff.
I hope you will join me in congratulating Dean Moffitt and offering your support as she assumes this new and important leadership position.
Philip Rous, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs