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Women’s History Month: Associate Dean Cynthia King is inspired by her late friend Janet Kwami

Cynthia King, associate dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence and professor of communication studies.

Last updated March 27, 2024

By Clinton Colmenares, Director of News and Media Strategy

Women’s History Month at Furman
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For Women’s History Month, we asked a few Furman University faculty members to tell us about challenges and progress in their careers, and what they think is necessary to bring us closer to equity. We heard from Victoria Turgeon, professor of biology, academic director of Prisma Health Partnership and faculty ombuds; Danielle Vinson ’89, professor of politics and international affairs; and Cynthia King, associate dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence and professor of communication studies.

King has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University, and a doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park. She joined Furman’s faculty in 2006. Her current research interests are race, public discourse and the media. In 2015 she received the Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Meritorious Teaching Award.

Q: Describe the state of women in your field when you started, and today.

CK: Women faculty are making rapid progress and women students dominate the major.

Q: What’s been the most significant development for progress for women in your field?

Portrait of a Black woman outside on a sunny day. She has short ringlet hair and is wearing a black dress and a bright red necklace.

Janet Kwami, a former Furman faculty member, in 2021. She died in 2023.

CK: The number of women entering the field and being promoted to full professors and senior administrators advancing in the field.

Q: Who has inspired you?

CK: The late Dr. Janet Kwami. She was a consummate professional, a dedicated and diligent teacher and a respected researcher, but also profoundly compassionate and empathetic. Her excellence, dedication and joy she found in teaching, research and service despite battling a painful health challenge for over a decade.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge for women today, in your field or in general?

CK: Learning how to leverage and harness the power we have amassed.

Q: What one thing needs to happen for women’s progress to continue?

CK: That we prioritize diversifying genders in the field. Being sure that we teach and talk in a way that is gender inclusive.

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Clinton Colmenares
Director of News and Media Strategy