Dr. Riggers-Piehl has been recognized for her excellent teaching and mentoring at UMKC. These awards align with the values she places on her work as an expert in the scholarship of teaching and learning and her efforts to create classrooms and communities of practice which are inclusive and student-led. 


Tiffani Riggers-Piehl holding a teaching award.

Chancellor's Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching (2022)

Dr. Riggers-Piehl was selected as a winner of the UMKC Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2021-2022. This award recognizes “faculty who have achieved excellence in teaching early in their professional careers” and is the highest honor afforded to early career faculty for teaching expertise and skill at UMKC. Being a teacher who is caring, compassionate, and inclusive while holding her students to a high standard of learning is an essential value of Dr. R.P.'s. To be nominated for this award her record had to demonstrate compelling evidence of student development and learning resulting from her teaching in and beyond the classroom. Further, the award committee places a special consideration on faculty who demonstrate sensitivity to students’ needs and adaptability to challenges that may arise in the classroom, while also placing weight on creativity in teaching techniques used. An excerpt from one nomination for the award is included below:

[Dr. Riggers-Piehl] goes the extra mile to provide motivation, reasonable solutions and happily takes on projects that will require significant work. She listens carefully to understand the needs of students and then invests significant time to develop strategies that help solve their issues, concerns, and fundamental problems. I can say wholeheartedly that Dr. Riggers-Piehl's teaching and advising has made a significant and positive influence throughout my studies, more so my dissertation process and overall life as a professional. She is a motivator, an expert, accessible, always feedback-ready, and embodies the culture of care for students. During my time as a Doctorate student, I learned that Dr. RP was precisely the kind of person I would want to have as a professor, advisor, chair, mentor, colleague, and friend. (2021 Nomination Letter)


Dr. RP playing mini-Golf at the Nelson Atkins with MAHE students and alumni

Student Organization and University Leadership (SOUL) Award: Outstanding Faculty/Staff Advisor of the Year (2023)

Dr. Riggers-Piehl has advised the Higher Education Student Association since 2019, an organization that supports students intersted in leadership in higher education and student affairs. The members are predominantly those enrolled in higher education graduate programs but membership is open to all students interested in the profession regardless of major or enrollment level (e.g. graduate or undergraduate). The SOUL Outstanding Faculty/Staff Advisor of the Year Award is designed to recognize a student organization advisor who has excelled and exemplified outstanding service, dedication, and leadership to the orgnization they advise. The nominee should demonstrate dedication, availability, and energy in their involvement with their student leaders. Two excerpts from the nomination are included below:

Over the last year, I’ve worked with Dr. RP as a graduate student and as a member of the HESA board of executives. As HESA advisor, she has attended our monthly meetings and helped guide our board as we organized four successful events. She gives our board enough autonomy to manage the organization, while still providing thoughtful insights and tips for making our events the best they can be. As an advisor on my dissertation committee, she has been open with her time and knowledge, providing feedback to me that is both constructive and supportive of the way I work as a student and as a human. We have met five times outside of class to discuss my progress, and every time I leave feeling stronger, smarter, and more like I am a real researcher. I have never had any faculty member – instructor or advisor – take such a personal and kind interest in my work and in me as an individual. She is truly a special asset at UMKC and deserves to be Advisor of the Year this year, and every year. - HESA Member

When the President position was vacant, she empowered me as a first-year student to step into the position, even while I was new to UMKC. My first year in this position was very difficult as it was during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, she never wavered from being an amazing advisor to our organization. She pushed us to think outside of the box and brainstorm ways to increase connection even in a virtual environment. She put professional development at the center of our work, assuring us that we would take away many transferable skills from our organization. As I finish my first year in a full-time role at UMKC, I often reflect on the qualities of Dr. RP when I contemplate the leader I want to be. She is focused on giving grace to others, standing up for what you believe in, and creating a balanced life. These qualities have inspired my own personal growth, and I know I want to do the same for the students I work with. I am truly grateful for all Dr. RP did and continues to do for the HESA organization, and I know her impact can move mountains. - Former HESA Member