About Scholar and Teacher Tiffani Riggers-Piehl

Learn more about Dr. R.P.

Dr. Tiffani Riggers-Piehl (Dr. R.P.) is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Program Coordinator for the Higher Education Masters and Doctoral (Ed.D.) programs. Having previously served across multiple functional areas in academic and student affairs at Baylor (TX), UCLA, and Greenville University (IL), Dr. Riggers-Piehl applies her expertise in the classroom to bring practice to pedagogy and in her research to identify issues of practical concern. 

Research Foci: 

Dr. R.P. researches the ways that students develop meaning and purpose in college across multiple identity dimensions. While earning her Ph.D. at UCLA, she studied college student spirituality and student-faculty interactions. Her dissertation, “Enhancing Classrooms and Conversations: How Interactions with Faculty Predict Change in Students’ Spirituality in College” identifies ways that faculty can be more involved in students’ meaning-making and spiritual development. Since then she has focused her research on topics including spiritual and moral development, research and teaching, and gender differences in education. Prior to her studies at UCLA, Tiffani earned a Master of Science degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Baylor University, where she discovered her interested in scholarly pursuits. Dr. Riggers-Piehl’s research has been featured in the Teacher’s College Record, Research in Higher Education, and Religion and Education, among other journals. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of College and Character. Her professional passions include teaching and training, investigating the college student experience, and creating a collegial academic community. 

Student-centered Advising and Teaching: 

Drawing upon her varied experiences in higher education administration and faculty development, Dr. R.P. advises masters and doctoral level students regarding career and academic pathways and in particular with regard to the doctoral dissertation. She also advises the Higher Education Student Association (HESA), a student-led organization that provides professional development and community building for students in the HEA programs. Dr. R.P. teaches future higher education and student affairs professionals using innovative and collaborative pedagogies that help them apply their learning to their professional experience. In 2022, Dr. Riggers-Piehl was awarded the Chancellor's Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest teaching award given to a pre-tenured faculty member at UMKC. 

Personal Interests: 

In her spare time, Tiffani leads a Girl Scout troop with her eldest child, Ash, enjoys playing card games and Mario Party with her youngest child, Will, and watches Marvel movies with her spouse, Curby. She also enjoys embroidery and other handcrafts, hiking, and relaxing by any beach she can find. She believes that scholarly work is creative work and that enjoying creative hobbies enhances scholarly activity. She emphasizes work-life balance in her classes and is learning to practice it.