Fayetteville, N.C. (May 08, 2023) — Fayetteville State University (FSU) congratulates Heather M. Griffiths Ph.D., on her selection as 2023 FSU Teacher of the Year. Griffiths is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies in the FSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).
Griffiths was previously recognized for exemplary teaching with the 2016 UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2017 FSU Teacher of the Year Award. She also received a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program Outstanding Mentor Award in 2022.
“My course learning priorities include social justice, academic integrity, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities,” Griffiths said. “I appreciate the guidance and experience of my colleagues, the determination of my students to not only succeed but to excel, and the University leadership's ongoing support for the development of teacher-scholars. I am honored to be recognized with the 2023 FSU Teacher of the Year Award."
To be eligible for a Teacher of the Year Award, professors must be on the faculty for at least three years, be tenured or tenure-track, teaching at least two courses each semester and actively teaching during the year of their selection. Honorees are chosen via a rigorous selection process that includes peer, faculty chair and student evaluations, recommendations and supporting academic activity documentation. Awards are made at the department/school, college and university levels, and include a cash prize.
A native of Warmster, Pennsylvania, Griffiths earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in sociology and anthropology from Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. She joined FSU’s Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies in 2006 and completed her Ph.D. requirements in 2007.
Griffiths also holds numerous specialized academic certifications, micro-credentials and professional affiliations. She has been actively involved in the life and work of her department, the CHSS and the broader university. She is also active in her community and with professional organizations, including as an executive board member of the North Carolina Sociological Association and as a past member of the American Sociology Association Section on Teaching & Learning Program Committee (2021-22).
Griffiths specializes in deviance/criminology; collective behavior; social movements; social psychology; and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has numerous publications to her credit and has presented her work nationally in workshops, symposia and conferences. She has also consulted on pedagogy development for textbooks, adaptive learning tools and course modules. Griffiths is currently researching pedagogy, neurodivergent experiences with disaster preparedness, and the social construction of miscarriage.
Griffiths credits her experiences as a first-generation scholar for informing many of her pedagogical choices, including a shift to Universal Design for Learning. She was senior contributing author for the OpenStax, Introduction to Sociology 2e, published in 2014 with a 3rd edition developed from her work and released in summer 2023. Griffiths acknowledges the invaluable contributions of FSU’s Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies, the Office of Faculty Development, the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, and the Center for Personal Development in developing her current student-centered course policies.
“FSU is fortunate to have a large cadre of exceptional faculty dedicated to creating the best environment for teaching and learning,” said Monica T. Leach, Ed.D., provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Dr. Griffiths is a shining example of the talented, dedicated scholars who make FSU one of the best universities anywhere. She is most deserving of this honor, and we thank her for her many contributions to our students and Fayetteville State University.”