News

Prof. Dilafruz Williams Takes on New Role
Author: Jillian Daley
Posted: September 4, 2019

Prof. Dilafruz Williams officially began as the new chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in Portland State University’s College of Education (COE) on Tuesday, September 3.

"As you know, she has worked as a faculty member and leader at PSU for many years," COE Dean Marvin Lynn said. “In fact, she is one of the longest-serving faculty members in the College! We are so excited to have Dilafruz join the leadership team."

Williams, a professor of Leadership for Sustainability Education who joined PSU in 1990, said that she is thrilled to reprise the role of chair, which she held from 2004-2007.

“I look forward to being of service to my colleagues and feel humbled by their confidence in me,” she said. “Having just returned after a year of sabbatical leave at Stanford as visiting scholar, I feel energized to share new ideas and my experiences.”

Williams has had a storied history while with the University. With her supporters and partners, she spearheaded initiatives such as: the Learning Gardens Laboratory and the Leadership for Sustainability Education master’s program.

Her research on science education for low-income middle schoolers in learning gardens was recently spotlighted in the International Journal of STEM Education. Dilafruz’s many other publications include the book Learning Gardens and Sustainability Education: Bringing Life to Schools and Schools to Life.

Her other achievements include serving on the Portland Public School Board from 2003-11 and as chair of the Council of the Great City Schools, housed in Washington, D.C. Her accolades include: the Hoffman Award for Faculty Excellence and Ehrlich Award for Faculty Service-Learning.

Her academic degrees include a Certificate of Advanced Study in Education from Harvard University and a PhD in Cultural Foundations of Education and Curriculum from Syracuse University. A native of India, she is an avid gardener and also has degrees in botany.

Williams noted that she is simply glad to continue to serve the PSU community and to learn and grow as a scholar and educator.

“I care deeply about PSU, our staff and faculty, and the student population we serve,” she said. “My hope is that we remember to be mindful of our roles in creating a work culture of trust. Equally important, we need to take pride and be joyful in our collegial achievements.”

Williams replaces Prof. Candyce Reynolds, who left the position of chair to focus on her work as a faculty member, as posted on the COE blog in May.

Above Photo: Prof. Dilafruz Williams 

To share stories with the College of Education, contact Jillian Daley at jillian@pdx.edu.