Faculty Profile: Introducing Media Professor Dasol Kim!

The Digital Media & Journalism Department is pleased to announce Dasol Kim has joined our faculty as an assistant professor!

Prof. Kim earned her Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center on Digital Culture and Society (CDCS) at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies issues of race and gender in digital media spaces, with a special focus on influencer culture, platform economy, and the transnational connection between East Asia and the US. 

This semester, Prof. Kim is teaching DMJ350: Media Research Methods and DMJ224: Media Industries. For the Media Research Methods course, Prof. Kim is trained as a mixed-method scholar, meaning she is experienced in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. She could teach introductory levels of a wide variety of methods in the discipline. For the Media Industries course, it intersects with one of Prof. Kim’s main research interests, the political economy of media, which mainly discusses media, power, and money. She is very grateful she could teach these courses!

Immediately before coming to New Paltz, Prof. Kim was in Philadelphia doing her postdoc year. Before this, she did her PhD at Amherst, Massachusetts. Even before that, she came from South Korea. In her own words, New Paltz is such a lovely place. She enjoys the scenery, walkable town, and nice people. Transitioning to New Paltz was not a challenge for her because she loves this lifestyle and the hiking trails around the area. Before coming here she was not familiar with New Paltz, so it was a nice surprise. 

I chose New Paltz because here you can make a meaningful relationship with students and can actually interact with future media makers.

Prof. Kim is the first person in her entire family to come to the US and earn a doctoral degree. For this, her parents are incredibly proud of her. It is a huge accomplishment for her as when she was in South Korea, she didn’t even know how graduate school works and didn’t speak the English language very well. Many first-generation students would share a similar situation. She asks first-generation students to please come talk to her if you want to have a realistic conversation about graduate school.

Prof. Kim is a true digital media addict. She is browsing on social media for almost over 6 hours per day. This has worked out well for her research area as it is digital technology and society. The downside of this is that she is constantly thinking about research while she is trying to just enjoy scrolling through her social media feed.

Her main point that she wants to emphasize to students is that technology is not neutral, though it appears to be. She plans to affirm the transnational aspect of digital technology that has connected the world. While it seems like a good thing, we always need to take a close look at how the power dynamic around the world also shapes our behavior online and content consumption, and of course, how the platform is commodifying this globally.

I consider teaching as conversation with students, even if in a lecture-style class. I always seek students’ responses—verbal and non-verbal. The students who nod, raise your hand, and actively participate in the discussion, please know that I really appreciate you.

She addresses a lot of real-life examples to make theories and concepts much more digestible. This is how she personally understands theories, so she strives to bring that into the classroom. She also pushes students to ask a lot of questions during class, as there is no wrong answer. She cares about students’ perspectives on the topic. Students also might find several South Korean and East Asian examples in Prof. Kim’s class, and her personal experiences living in two separate countries.