SAU Buzz

Beeswax: Professor Kit Evans-Ford

by Ashlynn Maczko
Posted on Nov 02, 2017

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Where did you go to school?

I have five degrees. For undergrad I went to UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Then I did a program called Teach for America, so I taught in Southeast Washington D.C. for two years. I got my Master of Arts in teaching with a focus in special education with my Teaching for America cohort at Trinity University of Washington. After I did my two years with Teach for America I was like “I want to do more” and so I studied social justice at a school called The School for International Training in Vermont. It was a master’s degree in social justice and intercultural relations, focused on community development and social action. The program I did was called Masters International, so I did my theory work on campus, and then I did my research through the Peace Corps in the Caribbean. After I finished my Master of Arts degree, I accepted my call to ministry. I went to seminary in Berkeley, California—The Pacific School of Religion. I got my Master of Divinity degree and moved forward in ministry. I started working for a Franciscan organization. Then I did my doctoral studies in Evanston, Illinois, at a seminary connected to Northwestern University—Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. I got my doctoral degree in spiritual direction and theology.

Where did you teach before coming to Ambrose?

Before I came here, I was actually a chaplain for Genesis. I’ve been in the Quad Cities for about three and a half years or so. I’ve taught some courses at Blackhawk, University of California Berkeley and The Pacific School of Religion. My foundation is as a special education teacher. Before any of these other degrees, my best students that taught me how to be a teacher (they broke me in really well) were sixth grade, 11-year-olds. They were identifiable students with special needs and they taught me how to care as a teacher and they also taught me how to be creative as a teacher.

How did you end up at Ambrose?

I met Micah Kiel, the department chair of Theology, a few years ago. He was on sabbatical and I expressed my interest in teaching here. At the time I was finishing my doctoral studies and I was serving in the community in different ways. I met him and then a lot of transition happened in the department fortunately and unfortunately, so that opened up some opportunity for me to be here and teach.. I’d also met Katy Strzepek, professor of women and gender studies, and I had come here and guest lectured for her a few times.  

What are your plans for your future at Ambrose?

I think that depends on people who handle the logistics and administrative side and what they decide. I’m really grateful; I got a Faculty of the Month Award during my first month being here. It was more important to me than my doctoral degree. I was like, “Are you sure they put the right name on the email?” What I read about students believing that my class is a safe space to learn and to cultivate what it is that we’re learning in class, it was really affirming for me, and I was really grateful that students considered my class a safe space to learn. As far as my future, I would love to stay here.

What is your favorite breakfast food?

I was vegetarian for 13 years and then I got pregnant with my little boy Justice a year and a half ago and I started eating meat again. Now I’m back to being a vegetarian. But, if I just wanted to feel great about what I was eating, it would be a nice big stack of pancakes with butter, scrambled eggs, and a piece of sausage (non-vegetarian, yes) and maybe a big glass of milk.

Favorite type of music?

I like all different types of music. When I first moved to the Caribbean with the Peace Corps, reggae irritated me. I was like “I don’t want to hear this,” and I would go into church and there was gospel and reggae and I was like “can they do that in church?” But, reggae and calypso became a part of the culture for me and how I connected with people. I had lived in different places for short periods of time before—Japan, East Africa, London—but that was the first time I lived somewhere for longer than a year with the community in a more remote area. Different aspects culturally connected me with people there and I think my love for reggae and calypso music makes me feel good now because it helped me connect with people during one of the most vulnerable times in my life being a young person out of the country.

Favorite movie genre?

I like all kinds of movies, but I really like romantic comedies. My mom liked romantic comedies and she could watch the same movie over and over again. I think that’s a way that I bond with my mom and my sisters. I think with the reality of turning on the news and seeing so much dysfunction in our world, and with the reality that a lot of my work is focused on assisting people who come from violence and abuse and helping people who are suffering and trying to heal, it’s important to just watch a movie and laugh and feel good without having that intensity of the violence that we are exposed to in real life.

What are your hobbies?

I like to roll around on the floor with my kids and laugh. I think they like it. They’re so small, but I do think that those moments matter, especially with having such a busy life. I like to dance. I haven’t danced in quite a long time, but I’d like to get back to it, and that was one of my goals for the year. I like talking to my sisters in the mornings. There are five of us, but I have an older sister in Florida and a younger sister in North Carolina that I FaceTime often. I was blessed at such a young age to see the world and do so many different things. I’ve enjoyed a lot of things, a lot of adventure, so now I do things that allow me to sit down and be present with others. I also like shopping at Greatest Grains. They have this protein powder for smoothies that make me feel great about myself. It’s the little things that are big things.

Is there anything else that you’d like us to know about you?

I would say that in academia, there’s the theory and then there’s the practice. I think that God allowed me to experience different things that relates to the practice of what I teach here, so that I could bring that to life for students. Much of my life has been focused on practical ministry and helping people around the world healing from different things. Because I’ve had that experience, and even my own healing from violence, it just allows me to be present in a different way. So, I’m grateful for that. I’ve written a few books. One of them was a curriculum book for the denomination that I grew up in. I also take a group from one of the organizations I work with back to the island that I lived on when I was in the Peace Corps every two years, and preferably if I stay here long enough I can take students with me to study theology in the Caribbean context.