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Professor’s Room: Katia Campbell

An occasional series that explores the inner sanctums of academia – because clever people have interesting spaces.

By Siet Wright

August 21, 2019

Katia Campbell in her office with numbers corresponding to the listed items below

Katia Campbell loves Metropolitan State University of Denver – and “Star Wars.” The associate professor of communication studies first discovered MSU Denver while teaching at another institution; when a position opened up here, she was quick to apply.

“MSU Denver students bring so much to the classroom, many are working, some with families, and balancing work and busy lives,” she said. “They bring an energy to the class, want to learn, and that is a different experience from other colleges. There are so many students with different and diverse worldviews; I get a lot of different perspectives.”

As the new Faculty Senate president, she hopes to bring her approach to equity and inclusion to policies on campus, free speech and intellectual property. We caught up with her for insight into how her office environs reflect her personality – and her use of the Force for good. 

  1. Books – My dissertation focuses on problematizing the traditional justifications for free speech while considering the degrading and disruptive impact of hate speech in our society. The book that I use often in my teaching is Brenda Allen’s “Difference Matters.” This book is important because it succinctly covers the history and social construction of culture and marginalized identities embedded within a U.S. cultural context. My pedagogy is still heavily informed by my book on creative democracy, “Neo-pragmatism, Communication and the Culture of Creative Democracy,” and my dissertation on free speech. Finally, I’m in the process of reading the book “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics” to help me navigate my new leadership role at MSU Denver. I’m happy to be here, and I’m right where I need to be.
  2. “Star Wars” clock – As co-advisor with Lambda Pi Eta Honors Society for 6 years, students picked out the clock for me, and it made me feel appreciated with the thoughtful gift. It is a “Star Wars” clock and record, incorporating my love of dance, music and “Star Wars.”
  3. Awards – I have been honored to receive recognition for service to students with disabilities, outstanding-professor awards and Lambda Pi Eta Honors awards for service to a diverse student body.
  4. Pop-culture collection – I’ve always loved Marvel Universe and “Star Wars.” I wrote a Luke Cage paper on diversity representation in pop culture, and how we function in pop culture provides a space where we can come together and learn about each other. Representation matters in this area.
  5. Yoda, the Destiny Decider – Yoda was a gift from a colleague who moved away. He is there if I need a destiny decider to guide my path.
  6. My painting – The Imperial Symbol and the Resistance symbol from “Star Wars” I mixed to represent the dark side in us all and the balance with the light. I’ve combined them together in a painting because we have a light and a dark side, and I think we need to honor both.
  7. Dance photos – I’ve been dancing for many years. I loved teaching swing, Lindy hop and more. I’ve gotten to dance with one of the original inventors of air-step dances like the Lindy hop, Frankie Manning, and it was such an honor. It was meaningful to be able to actually dance with him.
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