Professor Alison Kibler is a marvelous teacher, mentor, and role model. Her approach to teaching reflects the cutting edge of our profession, and the energy and abundant curiosity she brings to the learning experience is manifest in our students’ intellectual and personal development.
In her teaching, Professor Kibler experiments with highly innovative strategies of engaging students as active learners. In Introduction to American Studies, for example, she uses “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy, a role-playing strategy of teaching that focuses on key turning points in history. Many students first meet Professor Kibler in her Connections course, Rights and Representations, which grew out of her nationally recognized research on free speech and hate speech. A few years ago, she asked students to write papers analyzing speech regulations at F&M and then shared them with an administrator who visited the class to discuss the students’ critiques. Professor Kibler wrote about this assignment in two venues — Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning and USA Today — expanding the conversation through both academic and mass media.
In addition, Professor Kibler has collaborated across disciplines to launch our Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major. She has also helped to create and team-teach a course in digital humanities called Bodies, Technologies and New Media, which was offered for the first time this semester. Of all her collaborative relationships, however, perhaps those with the most lasting value are the ones she develops with students. Over the years, Professor Kibler has amassed numerous co-authored articles with students that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, she has been at the helm of internationalizing the “transnational” focus of our American Studies major.
Finally, Professor Kibler has maintained an impressive scholarly career in the midst of these other important commitments. Since joining our faculty in 2002, she has been the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and an NEH fellowship. She has published widely. Meticulously researched, her Censoring Racist Ridicule received high praise for originality owing to its interdisciplinary method. The Journal of American History called it “an excellent and necessary book,” and the Journal of Interdisciplinary History wrote that Censoring is “an estimable new chapter indeed in the history of the great American social experiment.”
In the words of a colleague, Professor Kibler’s research is especially significant for the liberal arts because it lays the foundation of her generous and creative pedagogy. She shares her research, time, and abundant warmth with students who develop the kind of skills they need to tackle some of the most significant problems of our time. Her entire career has been devoted to engaging the curiosity and creativity of our students for the greater good. As an exemplar of the “scholar-teacher” that we respect and love, we bestow the Christian R. and Mary E. Lindback Foundation Award on Professor M. Alison Kibler.