Dr. Kimberley Duff began her education at a community college at age 16, shortly after moving to Southern California with her family. Immigrating from Great Britain, she had no familial role models to guide her through the American education system. Prior to starting college, she did not have a passion for school. However, after one semester at community college, she was hooked. One of her first psychology courses was a statistics course with Dr. Jerry Rudmann, Executive Director of Psi Beta. After taking classes at both Saddleback and Irvine Valley Colleges, she transferred to the University of California at Santa Barbara where she completed a one-year study abroad program in York, England. She became interested in psychology, specifically the development of stereotypes and how individuals form impressions of one another based on her experience living in two cultures.
After completing her doctorate at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999, she began teaching at Cerritos Community College. Cerritos College is an extremely diverse campus, allowing her to work with students from a multitude of cultural, socio-economic, and ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Duff has taught Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology, Research Methods, Critical Thinking in Psychology and Directed Studies contracts. She has developed a program of research, a mentoring website, a successful teaching career and a network of professional resources. She takes students to compete for awards and to present their own research annually at the American Psychological Association (APA) conference and the Western Psychological Association conference (WPA). She is an advisor for one of the founding chapters of Psi Beta and serves as Vice President of the Western Region of Psi Beta. She is the author of the textbook, Think: Social Psychology, by Pearson. One of her most exciting experiences as a psychologist, has been the opportunity to advocate for psychological science and mental health issues directly with Members of Congress in Washington, D.C.
She has been recognized by her colleagues and students three times with the annual Outstanding Faculty Award at Cerritos College. She has also received the Outstanding Faculty Advisor of the Year for her work as an advisor of the Psychology Club and Psi Beta. At the national level, she has been invited to speak on best teaching practices at the Western Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Institute of Teaching of Psychology. Based on her accomplishments and dedication to teaching, she was recognized for Excellence in Teaching with receipt of the Wayne Weiten teaching award through Division 2, Teaching of Psychology, at APA. In 2014, Dr. Duff received the American Psychological Association’s Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus Award to recognize her role in mentoring emerging psychological scientists at the community college level.
Her passion is mentoring students, many of whom have gone on to work in research labs at four year universities, including students who have been accepted into the nationally funded COR, McNair, and BUILD research programs and completed masters and doctoral degrees. She continues to work with many of these alumni on research collaborations and publishing projects, including two colleagues who were among her first students. She is exploring the tipping point at which a community college student decides to pursue the path to higher education, and is investigating the factors that prompt community college students to successfully complete graduate degrees. “Community College is an amazing place to watch students develop their passion and hone their skills. On a personal level, I would not have become a psychologist if I had not started out a community college.”