Dr. Temptaous McKoy wants Elizabeth City State University students to embrace their experience as HBCU students and begin to see the infinite possibilities that being Vikings can afford them. That’s the basis of her lecture to be held Oct. 19 in room 138 at Johnson Hall, “The ‘Liz Taught Me: Using My Viking Experience to Shift the Future of Higher Education.”
Dr. McKoy is a 2013 graduate of ECSU and a professor of English and the director of graduate studies at Bowie State University. Her experience as a Black woman, a Black scholar, an HBCU graduate and now faculty member, have shown her that there are infinite possibilities in her world, and all of it begins at ground zero, her HBCU alma mater.
“I want them (students) to come away with knowing that there are different ways to make knowledge as HBCU students,” said Dr. McKoy of her lecture.
Growing up in the Fayetteville, North Carolina area, Dr. McKoy says she was very familiar with the HBCU culture of Fayetteville State University. When it was time to choose a university, she knew that no matter where she would gain her education, it would be an HBCU.
“I have my whole life to be a minority so why not have four years to not be a minority,” said Dr. McKoy of her decision to attend an HBCU.
Fayetteville State might have been the easy choice for her, but Dr. McKoy would tour other campuses, including ECSU. It was on a campus tour at ECSU that lightening struck in the form of the late Greg Sampson, the former WRVS radio station production and program director.
Sampson, she recalled, pulled her out of the tour group and told her she had a radio voice. He immediately put her on air that day and it was then that Dr. McKoy knew she wanted to be a Viking.
During her freshman year, she would be an on-air personality. She was also a history major, but Dr. McKoy says she was “bored” and so turned to English with a concentration in mass communications and would be an integral part of campus radio and television services.
She would immerse herself in the HBCU culture, embrace what she and so many have described as a family environment on campus, and eventually emerge not only an ECSU graduate, but also a graduate student on her way to a career in academia. Dr. McKoy would earn her doctorate in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication from East Carolina University, and her multiple-award-winning dissertation would set in motion not only a career, but also a perspective that embraces the HBCU culture she loves today.
In her dissertation, the basis of which makes up her Oct. 19 lecture, Dr. McKoy explores the uniqueness of the HBCU culture, how it provides a foundation for “making space” for the Black experience, and its importance in the lives of individuals who collectively seek to experience it.
In her dissertation, “Trap Karaoke and HBCUs: How They Serve as Black Spaces for Technical and Professional Communication,” Dr. McKoy explores “non-traditional” forms of communication by not only including a video production to serve as an entire chapter, but also employing African American vernacular in lieu of standard, traditional writing. This technique allowed Dr. McKoy to not only explore the empowerment afforded by the cultural significance of language usage, but also challenge those not familiar with African American vernacular to begin to gain an understanding of the cultural relevance inherent in this non-traditional writing form.
Trap Karaoke is a user-generated concert experience that places the people at the center of the concert. By using this as a framework for her dissertation, Dr. McKoy is examining personal empowerment through shared cultural experience.
Her aim, then, is to show ECSU students that their shared experience on campus, as a member of this particular HBCU family, will serve as a catalyst for the rest of their lives. She will encourage students to use non-traditional methods to examine their shared experience and learn how it serves to build a foundation for their futures as not only individuals, but also, and perhaps most significantly, members of a larger, HBCU family.
“They should know that non-traditional knowledge-making practices allows them to be able to draw on their experience,” she said. And it is that experience, as HBCU students, she contends, that will make all of the difference in their lives.
Dr. McKoy will speak in Johnson Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m. The lecture is open to the entire campus community. A Zoom link is also available if people are unable to attend in person: ECSU.ZOOM.US/J/8764698685