Dr. Malia Spofford Xavier
Associate Professor of Spanish
Dr. Malia Spofford Xavier teaches Spanish language, Latin American literature, and intercultural communication courses at Keuka College. Born in New York and educated at Cornell University, Malia has since traveled to dozens of countries and six of seven continents. After living and teaching in Brazil for six years, she returned to the United States in 2015 to join the faculty of Keuka College. She enjoys working with students of all backgrounds to expand their understanding and experiences of our globalized world and its cultures and languages.
Malia’s scholarship grew out of a deep interest in the colonial period of Spain in the Americas, exploring how concepts of human rights, capitalism, and sovereignty developed in tension with plural identities during that violent, unstable time. Her publications and presentations include articles on teacher education, social justice, and community-engaged pedagogy. Her classes encourage students to explore diversity and critical perspectives on culture and literature.
The Spanish program incorporates community-engaged and experiential learning through Field Periods, short-term travel abroad, local projects, and co-curricular activities. Recent trips abroad have included Nicaragua with the Four Walls Project, Spain, and Costa Rica. Malia is also a member of the Board of Directors of Literacy Volunteers of Ontario-Yates Counties, which has an English Language learner program. Many Keuka College students have worked with local Spanish-speaking community members who are seeking to apply for US citizenship or improve their English language skills.
Prior to her career in higher education, Malia was an officer in the US Navy during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has two children, Nicholas and Olivia. In their free time, you can find them camping, swimming, hiking, and skiing.