Campus News

UGA names Dillard as the first Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education

Athens, Ga. – Cynthia B. Dillard, a professor of multicultural education at Ohio State University, has been named the first Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Georgia.

The Early Professorship, in the College of Education, was established with an endowment from the Georgia Power Foundation and honors the legacy of UGA’s first African American graduate, who earned a master’s degree in music education in 1962.

“We are delighted that such an outstanding professor as Cynthia Dillard has accepted this prestigious professorship and will be bringing her leadership, her exceptional scholarly strengths and her deep commitment to teaching to our community,” said Arthur M. (Andy) Horne, dean and Distinguished Research Professor of the College of Education.

Dillard will join the UGA faculty in January 2012. Her tenure home will be the department of elementary and social studies education.

“I am very excited to be named the Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education at UGA,” said Dillard. “Current issues facing education in Georgia and across the country are complex and challenging, particularly for African Americans and those traditionally underserved by our system of public education.This position provides an opportunity for me to address these issues in both an innovative and interdisciplinary way, in collaboration with my colleagues at UGA, public school teachers and professionals in Georgia, and educators across the globe.”

Dillard’s major research interests include critical multicultural education, spirituality in teaching and learning, epistemological concerns in research, and African/African-American feminist studies. Most recently, her research has focused in Ghana, West Africa, where she established a preschool and an elementary school.

“The university is pleased to welcome Dr. Dillard as the first holder of this professorship, which honors Mary Frances Early and carries on her legacy of contributions to education,” said Jere Morehead, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I expect she will enjoy working with UGA colleagues not only in the College of Education but in Ghana, where the university has a strong interdisciplinary study abroad program.”

Dillard has received many awards during her career, including the Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, 1999; the Washington State University College of Education Distinguished Alumni Award, 1997; the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award; Columbus (Ohio) Education Association Outstanding Service Award, 1997; and the Ohio Teaching Leadership Consortium Outstanding Service Award, 1996.

She has authored one book titled, On Spiritual Strivings: Transforming an African-American Woman’s Academic Life (Suny Series in Women in Education, 2007) and a dozen articles for leading journals in her field.

Dillard received her Ph.D. in education with specializations in multicultural education/language, literacy, and culture and educational administration from Washington State University.

For more information about the UGA College of Education, see