Get to Know Dr. Kincaid
April 9, 2019
Ever since joining the Purdue Northwest faculty in 2007, Dr. Kenneth Kincaid has been a valuable asset to the Department of History & Philosophy. Dr. Kincaid is an expert in Latin American history specializing in indigenous and environmental history of South American countries, and is an advocate of travel and studying abroad.
Originally from Kansas City, Kansas, Dr. Kincaid’s journey began at Benedictine College before transferring to Kansas State. Though he originally wanted to study journalism, his advisor recommended that he study math. He enjoyed math and also developed an affection for literature, earning two Bachelor’s degrees from Kansas State: one in English, and one in Math.
Following graduation, Dr. Kincaid did his graduate work in the History program at the University of Kansas. During his first semester in grad school, he took courses in Soviet history and Russian. However, his graduate advisor discovered that he spoke some Spanish and encouraged him to focus on Latin American History. From there, Dr. Kincaid began studying and absorbing a wide variety of topics about Latin America.
As a graduate student, Dr. Kincaid got the opportunity to study abroad. His first trip took him to Guadalajara, Mexico. He then took a series of buses and trains and found himself immersed in the world of Nicaragua. While there, Dr. Kincaid spent two weeks interviewing various Nicaraguan poets for his Master’s thesis. Making the most of his trip, he also spent time in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
It was a life-changing experience and he soon returned to Latin America with a trip to Ecuador. While in Ecuador, Dr. Kincaid met some Peruvian musicians who invited him to join them in Peru. The travel to Peru was truly kismet as Dr. Kincaid met his wife there. Soon after his trips, he finished his thesis and would then go on to earn his PhD from the University of Kansas. Studying abroad was a game changer for Dr. Kincaid.
He encourages students with tales of his own experiences, saying, “That’s what I love about study abroad. I tell students you are not destined to be anything or anyone you don’t want to be. If you think that you want to take a chance and see the world and see what happens, then do it.”
Dr. Kincaid started teaching as an adjunct instructor and lecturer following work on his PhD. He also taught Spanish at several different community colleges. But, as his family grew, he knew he needed to find something a little more stable.
This led him to sending out nearly a hundred applications. He had several campus interviews, but when he visited Purdue North Central and got to meet the faculty and students and visit Lake Michigan, he knew here is where he wanted to be. He was offered a position and, fortunately for all of us, he accepted.
Since joining the team at Purdue Northwest, Dr. Kincaid has taught many different classes. Ranging from survey courses, to global history, to a variety of classes about Latin American history. Dr. Kincaid has played an integral role in PNW’s History Department.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Kincaid has helped to develop a minor for Latin American Studies. He plays a major role in the study abroad programs offered at PNW and is always encouraging students to see the world.
As he puts it, “I’ve had so many students who have done study abroad and have come back saying ‘I’m different, I feel different, I’ve experienced things, I’ve talked to people, I just feel different about who I am and what I want out of life,’ that’s the thing you want as a teacher, is to help students realize what they want to be or what they can be.”
Dr. Kincaid is inspired when he sees students engaged and productive, and loves it when they understand the material. He is actively involved with several committees, including serving as the Faculty Advisor for the History Program’s honors society, Phi Alpha Theta. Additionally, Dr. Kincaid is a member of the Center for Global Studies, has an advisory role with the Office of Global Engagement, and is a member of the Faculty Senate.
He is currently working on an extensive article about the construction of an Ecuadorian hotel near Lake San Pablo and the controversy it created in regard to tradition versus modernity. In the little free time he has, Dr. Kincaid likes to take in a good Netflix show, travel, play various sports with his kids, and cook Peruvian food with his wife.
Dr. Kincaid is a busy man, but he is busy for all the right reasons. Whether it is giving back to PNW with his time, encouraging students to see the world, or continuing great research, Dr. Kincaid has made a place for himself at PNW and we are lucky to have him on our team.
“I’ve had so many students who have done study abroad and have come back saying ‘I’m different, I feel different, I’ve experienced things, I’ve talked to people, I just feel different about who I am and what I want out of life,’ that’s the thing you want as a teacher, is to help students realize what they want to be or what they can be.”