Dr. Kay-Anne Darlington-Fall 2018 Spotlight on Faculty Success

Kay-Ann DarlingtonDr. Darlington is an Assistant Professor of Communication. She earned her BA in Media and Communication from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Kingston, Jamaica, her MA in International Studies and her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Ohio University. She has additional certifications in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Communication and Development Studies, African Community Health, Public Relations and Philosophy. She has taught at Rio since the fall of 2016.

How did you choose a career in your Communication? I would say that the career chose me. I have always had an interest in Communication, especially regarding health and the use of media campaigns as health interventions. When I got the opportunity to complete my doctoral studies, it allowed me to combine my love of media, communication and health while engaging in my another area of interest: teaching.
What’s your favorite memory of your career as a student? My favorite memory is getting 100% on a paper that I did in the first semester ofmy undergraduate college career. The course was taught by Professor Aggrey Brown and he embodies our ideas of a professor. He was old, looked distinguished and seemed to know everything! So when I submitted a paper to him and got 100% it was a great confidence boost for a first-generation college student who came from rural Jamaica to the capital city with very little confidence in my ability to excel in college. This also happened in a culture where teachers are known to remove a point for some random error, just so you do not get 100%! It also changed my ideas about what is possible and how teachers can help students see the possibilities.
What are your research or professional interests? What are you working on now? Strategic communication for social change theory and praxis constitute the main theme of my research agenda. This area allows me to explore topics at the intersection of my areas of interests namely: communication, health, gender and sexuality studies. I am currently working on a manuscript about black masculinities in romance novels. I am also in the beginning stages of research on newspaper representation of Jamaica’s first female prime minister.
What was your first “big break”? My first big break was being offered an internship based on a class project. In my final year of college, I had to work on designing a communication plan for an organization addressing several social development issues throughout the Caribbean. It was a group project, and I was quite annoyed with my partner because he was not contributing much to the project. We submitted the plan and presented it to the ‘client’. On the day when we presented, the client had many questions about the plan, and of course, my partner was unable to answer any of them. Shortly after school ended, the professor called to ask me if I was interested in implementing my proposed communication intervention. Additionally, he informed me that I would be required to travel to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to do it. This ultimately resulted in me traveling and working throughout the Caribbean for three years, before deciding to pursue graduate studies.
What are some of your greatest or most recent professional achievements? One of my most recent professional achievements is being selected as a Kopenhaver Center Fellow at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference in August 2018. The fellowship is focused on the advancement of Women Faculty in Communication. It was great to work with women faculty and leaders to get a better understanding of how difficult it is for women to advance in academia, especially women of color. It also strengthened my resolve to keep moving forward and upward in academia.
What subjects do you teach? I teach Introduction to Communication, Mass Communication, Organizational Communication, Speech Communication, Social Media Strategies, Service Learning, Communication Law, Communication Seminar: Gender, Race and Class in Media, among other courses.
What is your favorite course to teach at Rio…and why?  I enjoy teaching the Service Learning course because I can see the students’ growth over the semester. When the course starts, they might not fully see how their communication skills can be used to help an organization achieve their goals, but by the time the course is over, they have become an integral part of a business or department and they can see that communication has practical applications.
What’s the best part of teaching? The best part of teaching is when I see a student having an ‘aha’ moment. When they start connecting what they are learning to real life issues and see that they can have an impact, it makes the experience worth it.
What’s the worst? The worst part of teaching is the lack of appreciation that some students have for the opportunity to go to college.
If you could the spend the day with any historical figure, living or dead, who would it be? I would like to spend some time with Nanny of the Maroons. She is a Jamaica National Hero who fought to free slaves.
What is your favorite book: The Bridges of Madison County
Favorite musician: It is a tie between Whitney Houston and Celine Dion
Favorite movie: A Walk to Remember
Favorite food: Mangos
If you could move anywhere, where would you go? Bequia (an island in the Caribbean)
Favorite quote: “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock
If you couldn’t have a career in your discipline, what would you do for a living? I would start a business, maybe a Jamaican restaurant.
What are your hobbies (outside your professional activity)? Reading
Do you share your home with family or pets? I share my home with a spouse and one child, who has many stuffed animals (pets).
What’s the one thing that most people don’t know about you? I have been on/inside three active volcanoes.

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