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Faculty Highlight: Dr. Tracy Tinga

By: Zerubbabel Abiy

Photo Credit: Kristen Anchor

Dr. Tracy Tinga has been a part of the Media and Communication Studies Department here at UMBC since 2019 as an Assistant Professor and educator. She teaches 399 Methods in Research and 334 Media and Globalization. Today we've had time to sit down and speak with her about her research and her experiences at UMBC.

So what classes do you teach? What do you enjoy about teaching them?

I teach MCS 334 and 399. I enjoyed teaching both for different reasons though, so for example 334 (Media and Globalization)  I enjoy teaching because It's my research area, and it comes very easily to me to teach the class. I enjoy talking about my experiences (with research), and also just learning from the students as well. For 399 (Methods in Research) It's always very interesting to see the kinds of research projects that different students are interested in and to sort of guide them and help them to navigate the research process which can be challenging, but at the very end of the semester, when they have it figured out, you can see …the excitement and they're glad that we did all of this work and it all makes sense now. 

What are some highlights of your time in the MCS department?

So I joined in Fall of 2019 and then, obviously, in Spring 2020 that was still in my first year. I was still in the process of transitioning to the institution and then COVID-19 affected my transition. We switched to online learning and then the switch back to campus but, I would say despite the challenges I think my transition into the institution has been smooth. One of my highlights is the department in general, how people are always willing to support you and help you. I enjoyed working with students. Having different MCS students tell me they enjoy taking my classes. That has also been a highlight.

Your research involves how African nations are represented in transnational institutions. How did you become interested in that subject? 

So a lot of scholars have talked about the negative representation of African countries and so I kind of felt like that has been overdone. When I started this project, as part of my dissertation, I was interested in how African nations are represented in transnational media institutions  and then I discovered the Africa rising discourse where there are these institutions that have been framing African countries as rising. So, I got curious about that because I hadn't seen that before. All I've had was the negative stereotypes and so I got curious and I started reading to see what exactly they mean. One of my main research questions is, what do these transnational media institutions mean when they represent Africa as rising?


You're working on a book right now, could you tell us a little bit about that?

I'm currently working on my first book which is going to be based on the Africa rising discourse. In my research I found development organizations, transnational corporations, and Afrocentric digital platforms, which are these online sites that have come up in the last 20 years essentially depicting African countries' cultures, identities as rising. And so my book will look at all of those media texts analyzing them and think about what exactly does it mean when these institutions portray Africa as rising and also look at who are the social actors within the African rising discourse, not just media institutions.

If you could create a course for the MCS department what would it look like?

So apart from the Africa Rising discourse, one of the things I'm interested in is environmental communication so I think I could teach a class on Media and the Environment . I'm also interested in media being used for development and social change so I would like to design a course on Media and Communications for social change. 

Last question, What motivates you/?

I'm a very goal-oriented person and so whenever I accomplish big and small goals that makes me feel good, My family is a huge motivation for me. Different family members of mine have been educators in different levels so it’s always motivating to look at what they have done and now I know I can accomplish that as well. Another motivation is the department here and looking up to my colleagues. I also have two dogs I need to feed so that's another motivation. 

Posted: November 30, 2022, 12:24 PM