I am an associate professor in the Department of Diversity & Community Studies at Western Kentucky University. I teach primarily in the Diversity and Community Studies undergraduate major and the Masters of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities (SRSC) graduate program. I also teach courses in the Gender & Women’s Studies minor and the Global Pathways to Sustainability and Gender & Women’s Studies graduate certificate programs.
I completed my undergraduate degree in sociology and environmental science in 1994 and my master’s degree in public health/environmental health in 1999 at Western Kentucky University. In 2007, I completed my PhD program in educational leadership at the University of Louisville. My current research focuses on issues pertaining to sense of place, food justice & politics, social policy, community-based research, and sustainability/resilience. My most recent research and publication projects include the following:
Kerby, M.B. (2015). Toward a new predictive model of student retention in higher education: An application of classical sociological theory. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 17(1).
Kerby, M.B., Branham, K.B., & Mallinger, G.M. (2014). Consumer-based higher education: The uncaring of learning. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 14(5).
Kerby, M.B., & Mallinger, G.M. (2014). Beyond sustainability: A new conceptual model, eJournal of Public Affairs, 3(2).
Main, M. E., Wright, D. G., Kerby, M. B. (2013). Nursing student voices: Reflections on an international service learning experience. Kentucky Nurse, 61(1), 10-11.
Kerby, M. B., Adams, C. J. (2011). In Dr. Alice E. Ginsberg and Dr. Karen Bojar (Ed.), The Unmeating of Like Minds: The Process IS Political. Towson University Press: And Finally We Meet.
In addition to my interests in teaching and research, I am the principle investigator of an interdisciplinary community/school gardening project in an at-risk neighborhood in Bowling Green, KY. I am also continuing work in Belize with a student-led craft cooperative and sales agreement between the village council of Gales Point and Western Kentucky University's Department of Diversity and Community Studies. The goal is to sell crafts produced by the villagers in the United States with all proceeds going to support the community of Gales Point.
Aside from scholarly interests and activities, I also enjoy music (my first love), cooking, kayaking, and gardening. I am a member of a folk group called, “Just Us” – check us out!
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I'm the director of the Gender & Women's Studies Program. My academic background is in literature and cultural studies with specialization in late nineteenth and early twentieth century American women’s popular culture. I earned my PhD from the University of Kentucky with an emphasis in feminist and social theory. This background has helped me to develop an interdisciplinary approach to both my research and teaching, calling on discourse analyses primarily from disciplines in the humanities. My research centers on the social and cultural meanings surrounding the concept of work in the United States and the ways certain kinds of labor become associated with women, in particular the type of labor we refer to as “women’s work.” This work includes the gamut of responsibilities required to maintain domestic space and to nurture its inhabitants from cleaning bathrooms and picking up dirty socks to comforting a sick child. I am particularly interested in the way this work is represented in popular culture as an expression of women’s love and care. I am also interested in the ways women’s caring labor is expressed in areas outside the domestic space.