Member Spotlight: Stephanie Flores-Koulish

Stephanie Flores-Koulish, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and M.A. Program Director of Curriculum & Instruction for Social Justice at Loyola University Maryland. She is also the NAMLE Conference 2021 Conference Chair.

What do you do?

I teach practicing teachers, public, private, and parochial who mostly come from Baltimore City and the surrounding areas extending to Washington DC. The teachers are drawn to our master’s program for its focus on social justice education. Our emphasis is not only on helping teachers improve their practice, but we place a particular emphasis having teachers consider the sociohistorical contexts of education, to know why and how we’ve gotten to where we are in education today, especially for those most marginalized.

I piloted a graduate course on media literacy education at Loyola in 2003 which for many years was a required course for all graduate students in our Literacy master’s degree program. At this time, it’s a course in the Curriculum & Instruction for Social Justice program.

I’m also a proud mom of 3 teenagers, two who are graduating high school in 2021 and applying to colleges for next fall.

Tell us about your latest work or project in media literacy.

I have been working with a few surrounding schools and districts on implementing critical media literacy into their curriculum to demonstrate the ways that it attends to matters of social justice while deepening students’ critical thinking. I am also collaborating with a former student on a book chapter centered on some of this work.

Why is media literacy important to you?

From the moment I learned about media literacy in the mid-1990s while teaching in Massachusetts, it was like a “Eureka” experience. I knew in my gut that this was a missing piece from my own education given how pervasive television was to my own childhood, yet completely neglected in school. Not only that, but for me, when I completed my first media memoir in 1999 under the tutelage of Dr. Renee Hobbs, I realized the ways that my identity as Latina adoptee had been impacted by a lack of exposure to Latinos in the media growing up; the inequity was glaring, and I knew I was heading in the right direction of teaching teachers to become knowledgeable of media literacy to teach their students to engage and ask questions of the media and maybe one day improve upon its inclusivity.

What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?

I am most excited that the field of media literacy is gaining traction in the U.S. right now thanks to a growing awareness through the misuse of terms like, “fake news,” but also authentic terms like “disinformation,” “infodemic,” and the like. The need for media literacy is greater than ever, and it’s just a matter of time before school systems begin to take it more seriously as a legitimate and necessary field.

Why did you become a NAMLE member, what benefits do you see to membership, and how will it support your work?

I am a founding member of NAMLE. NAMLE supports my work by offering me opportunities to hear from a wide variety of scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and the like. It sustains my pursuits when I’m teaching Baltimore area teachers about media literacy and I can point to a resource that I learned about through the NAMLE network.

The views and opinions expressed in the M-Passioned Member blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the M-Passioned Member blog is to highlight our members and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.