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Retiring & Remembered | Edith Kinney: Moving Forward But Not Forgetting

Edith Kinney (center) with Mills students. (Photo taken by Ari Nussbaum)
Edith Kinney (center) with Mills students. (Photo taken by Ari Nussbaum)

After four years, Edith Kinney, visiting assistant professor of the social sciences division, will be departing Mills and taking a tenure-track position at San Jose State University.

Kinney has taught five courses during her time at Mills, spanning two departments and a division. She has taught in the social sciences division as well as the government and public policy departments. Since Political Legal and Economic Analysis (PLEA) allows students to take classes in multiple disciplines, Kinney’s own teaching flexibility matched well with the program. A new professor will be hired to teach the two key PLEA courses, Law and Society and Women and the Law, in fall 2014.

As Kinney prepares to leave Mills, she finds herself with conflicting feelings.

“It is with regret, but excitement, that I will be heading to San Jose State University,” Kinney said.

Kinney will start her teaching position in August 2014, where she will be a part of the justice studies department and will have the opportunity to work on SJSU’s human rights program.

Paul Schulman, head of the PLEA  program at Mills and one of Kinney’s colleagues, has mixed feelings about her leaving.

“I’m sad to see her go,” Schulman said. “But she has a career to build and that I understand.”

“There are certainly a
lot of issues in the legal
world that need a Mills
‘woman’s’ critique.”

—Edith Kinney

PLEA and English double major Acacia Lommen-Nelson has taken three classes with Kinney and has valued each class. Kinney is Lommen-Nelson’s PLEA major advisor. 

“I’m sad that she’s leaving because she has a lot of vitality in her field, and if the college allowed teachers with that connection in their work fields, then Mills could have a lot more opportunities for growth,” Lommen-Nelson said.

Lommen-Nelson cites Kinney’s Law and Society class as a fundamental class not only for PLEA but also for the social justice curriculum at Mills.

“I took Law and Society my first semester at Mills, and it changed the way I looked at law and the way the community looks at whether law can be a tool for social change,” Lommen-Nelson said.

Kinney will greatly miss her students at Mills and the unique perspective that teaching at an all-women’s college brings.

“I will definitely miss students here at Mills and how engaged they are in the class room and critically analyzing contemporary events,” Kinney said.”There are certainly a lot of issues in the legal world that need a Mills ‘woman’s’ critique.” 

Kinney is interested in seeing how Mills and SJSU will compare in the classroom.

“One of the interesting things is [that] the student body tends to be a little more ideologically diverse at SJSU, and there seems to be a critical mass of progressive critical scholars here at Mills, and so teaching at an ‘all women’s campus’ has been a real pleasure to speak freely on all of those issues [surrounding women in the law] that I think are really important to study in the justice system,” Kinney said.

Kinney urges PLEA students to look into SJSU’s law department upon graduation from Mills. Kinney plans to remain in contact with folks at Mills. She also hopes to have the opportunity to host future summer workshops at Mills.

“I really have enjoyed making relationships with students and faculty here, but I am excited to move to a department where there is more exchange in my field,” Kinney said.

For more graduation-related posts, check out The Campanil‘s designated 2014 Commencement webpage here or click on the “Commencement” link in the upper right hand corner of the header.