Professor Dilafruz Williams has been awarded Portland State University’s George C. Hoffmann Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. The Hoffmann Award is given annually to a PSU faculty member in recognition of distinguished contributions to the University in instruction, service, and scholarship. A committee of previous recipients selected Williams for her work performed in the “spirit of humanism, civility, and collegiality with particular dedication to students and loyalty to the University.”
Williams is a professor of Leadership Sustainability Education (LSE) in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy in the Graduate School of Education (GSE). Williams co-founded the LSE program, which prepares those who wish to educate for sustainable solutions in settings including schools, nonprofit organizations, local government, and businesses.
Williams served on the Portland Public Schools (PPS) Board from 2003 to 2011, where she was instrumental in developing sustainability education for the district. Carole Smith, superintendent of Portland Public Schools said, “In countless ways, Dilafruz has demonstrated her deep commitment to environmental instruction. She was also catalyst for PPS’s learning gardens at more than 40 schools throughout the district.”
Williams’s colleagues collaborated to nominate her for the prestigious Hoffman Award. “In her decades of dedicated service to PSU, she has influenced countless personal and professional lives in her roles as teacher, mentor, scholar, colleague, and leader,” said Professor Christine Cress. “Professor Williams’s work is grounded in the values of humanity, civility, sustainability, and equality. The wisdom of her teaching and insightful practices as a scholar and community member have affected educational policy and practice locally and nationally.”
Williams has been with the GSE since 1990, and has developed more than 20 courses, most requiring public service. While with PPS, she co-founded the Sunnyside K–8 Environmental School, which was recognized by President Bill Clinton in 1998 for its connection to service-learning and honored in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) as a Green Ribbon School. Williams is co-author of Learning Gardens and Sustainability Education: Bringing Life to Schools and Schools to Life and co-editor of Ecological Education in Action: On Weaving Education, Culture, and the Environment. She also has authored more than 50 chapters, journal articles, and curriculum resource guides.