Tiece Ruffin, Ph.D.

Interim Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of Education

Contact Information

  • truffin@unca.edu
  • 828-250-2361
  • 216 Zeis Hall

Tiece Ruffin received her Ph.D. from Ohio University in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Special Education and cognate in Reading Education. Also, she received a B.S.Ed. and M.Ed. from Ohio University in Special Education, with an emphasis in learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities; and Secondary education, with an emphasis in reading education, respectively. Tiece Ruffin has past teaching experiences as a licensed special educator (K-12) and reading educator (K-12) teaching youth with and without disabilities from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in both rural and urban contexts. Additionally, her teaching experience spans various educational settings such as the public school, correctional institution, and home/hospital. Lastly, her school administration experience was as a local education agency representative for a large urban public school district monitoring placement and educational services for students with disabilities who attended private schools.

Her research interests include learners with special needs, diverse learners, pedagogical approaches for the diverse and inclusive classroom, service learning, and the internationalization of teacher education. She has authored and co-authored several publications and presented at both National and International Conferences. Her book, Somalis and disability: Cultural context and implications for practice, is considered one of the best descriptions of the cultural context that structures our understanding of ability and disability for Somali African refugees, and how culturally responsive education systems can bridge or break assumptions we hold about our students and create new opportunities for educational growth.

Past accomplishments include four notable fellowships: the prestigious honor of being selected as a Past-President's Fellow of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, U.S.A. (2002), a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar in the U.S. Department of Education (2003), a 2016-2017 North Carolina-West Education Policy Fellow, and a 2017/2018 Fulbright U.S. Scholar at the University of Education, Winneba, in Ghana, West Africa. Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education Specialization and Cognate in Reading Education
  • Master of Education, Secondary Education Major, Licensure in Reading Education K-12
  • Bachelor of Science in Education, Special Education Major (LD/MR), Licensure in Special Education Mild/Moderate K-12

Courses Taught

  • EDUC 178/LA 178: Separate is still not equal | 64 years After Brown vs.Board of Education
  • LS 179: What Difference Does Difference Make?
  • EDUC 210: Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century, K-12
  • EDUC 230 : Introduction to Exceptional Children
  • EDUC 314: Multiple Literacies in Content Area Classrooms
  • EDUC 325: Classroom Management and Instructional Differentiation, K-6
  • EDUC 346: Teaching Students with Diverse Needs in the General Education Classroom
  • EDUC 379: Introduction to Special Education
  • EDUC 455: Student Teaching and Seminar

Awards at UNC Asheville

  • Recipient of the 2015-2016 Key Center for Community Citizenship and Service Learning Community Connector Award
  • Recipient of the Change Agent Award by the Division of Student Affairs, Multicultural Student Programs Office and Intercultural Center (2016)
  • Recipient of  the Mary McLeod Bethune Award for Education Advocacy (2015)
  • Recipient of the Francine Delany Award (2014) in recognition of my service on issues of social justice, race, and diversity.
  • Recipient of the Malcolm X Faculty Award (2011)

Recent Publications

Book:

  • Ruffin, T. (2012). Somalis and disability: Cultural context and implications for practice, VDM Verlag Dr. Muller. ISBN: 9783836438827 [published in 2008; revised in 2012 with unchanged content]

Book chapters

  • Ruffin, T. (2016). Equity and Inclusion in today’s diverse and inclusive 21st century classroom: Fostering culturally responsive pre-service teachers with the tools to provide culturally responsive instruction. In K. Gonzalez & R. Frumkin (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Effective Communication in Culturally Diverse Classrooms, (pp. 269-283). Hershey, PA: IGI Global Book Series Advances in Higher Education and Professional Development.
  • Ruffin, T. & Boakye-Boaten, A. (2015). Towards an Inclusive Education in Ghana: A Matter of Human Rights. In A.L. Jotia & D. Jankie (Eds.), Multicultural Education Discourses: Breaking Barriers of Exclusion in Selected African Context, (pp. 68- 82). Windhoek, Namibia: Zebra Publishing, Ltd.
  • Ruffin, T., & Boakye-Boaten, A. (2014).  Internationalizing teacher education through e-service Learning: Connecting preservice teachers with English Language Learners via online instruction using skype. In P.L. Lin, M.R. Wiegand, and A. Smith-Tolken (Eds.), Service Learning in Higher Education: Building Community Across the Globe, (pp. 95-105). Indianapolis, IN: University of Indianapolis Press.
  • Boakye-Boaten, A., & Ruffin, T. (2012).  Pre-Service Teachers Go Global: How an International Service-Learning Program cultivates pre-service teachers as knowledgeable global citizens with enhanced cultural competence.  In P.L. Lin & M.R. Wiegand (Eds.), Service Learning in Higher Education: Connecting the Global to the Local, (pp. 101-115). Indianapolis, IN: University of Indianapolis Press.
  • Boakye-Boaten, A., & Ruffin, T. (2010). From the Classroom to the Streets: Empowering 21st Century College Students through the Ghana Street Children Literacy Initiative. In P. Lan Lin (Ed.), Service-Learning in Higher Education: Educators, Communities, and Students (pp. 191-202). Indianapolis, IN: University of Indianapolis Press.

Peer-reviewed articles

Conference Proceedings

  • Ruffin, T., & Boakye-Boaten, A. (2013, November). Internationalizing Teacher Education through E-Service Learning: Connecting Pre-service Teachers with English Language Learners via Online Instruction Using Skype. Proceedings of The 5th International symposium on Service-Learning in Higher Education, Service Learning Across the Globe: From Local to Transnational. Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • Boakye-Boaten, A. & Ruffin, T. (2011, September). Preservice Teachers Go Global: How an International Service Learning Program Cultivates Pre-service Teachers as Knowledgeable Global Citizens. In P. Lin (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Service-Learning. Ningbo, China: University of Indianapolis.
  • Cole, K., Moss, M., & Ruffin, T. (September, 2011). Globalizing teacher education through online instruction: Connecting pre-service teacher with international students via Skype. Proceedings of the 29th Annual Fall Teacher Education Forum. Raleigh, N.C.: N.C. ACTE (North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators)
  • Boakye-Boaten, A., & Ruffin, T. (2009). From the Classroom to the Streets: Empowering 21st-Century Students through the Ghana Street Children Literacy Initiative. In P. Lin (Ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Service-Learning. Athens, Greece: University of Indianapolis.
  • Ruffin, T. (2005). Limited English Proficiency, immigrants, refugees, and disability: A Somali perspective. In B. Myles & L. Aylward (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Association of Special Education Sailing the Sea of Knowledge: A Symposium of Global Ideas. Storm Lake, IA: International Association of Special Education.

Community Engaged Scholarship (published editorials)

Non-refereed publication:

Recent Professional Presentations

2016–2017 SY

  • Ruffin, T. (2017, February). One African-American Teacher Educator’s curricular example of decolonizing education in a liberal arts teacher licensure program. The 2016 Joint National Conference of the National Association of African American Studies & Affiliates. Dallas, TX. (proposal accepted, but did not present due to lack of funding)
  • Adcock, A., Boakye-Boaten, A., Ruffin, T., & Zunguze, J. (2016, November). Decolonizing pedagogies in the liberal arts: Engaging in epistemic disobedience. The Annual National Conference of the African Heritage Studies Association. Washington, DC.
  • Ruffin, T., Adcock, A., Boakye-Boaten, A., & Zunguze, J. (2016, August). Fostering a Decolonized Education in an Inclusive Liberal Arts Education. Lilly National Conference Series on College and University Teaching and Learning. Asheville, NC.
  • Martinez, A., Ruffin, T., & Reiser, S. (2016, July 31). GEARing Up with SENCER in K-12. 2016 SENCER Summer Institute at Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL

2015–2016 SY

  • Ruffin, T. (2016, February). Fostering culturally responsive K-12 classrooms in Today’s Inclusive Schools. The 2016 Joint National Conference of the National Association of African American Studies & Affiliates. Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • Ruffin, T. (2015, September). Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Teachers in Diverse Classrooms. A Professional Development Workshop at the Western Region Education Service Alliance, Asheville, NC.

2014–2015 SY

  • Ruffin, T. (2015, February). Supporting our Black Boys by Combatting Unconscious bias and the Criminalization of black males in an Elementary School: How Parental Advocacy Prompted a School System to Change its Policy. The 2015 Joint National Conference of the National Association of African American Studies & Affiliates. Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • Ruffin, T. (2015, February). Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Teachers in Diverse Classrooms. Asheville City Schools Professional Development Day. Asheville, NC.

2013–2014 SY

  • Ruffin, T., & Boakye-Boaten, A. (2013, November). Internationalizing Teacher Education through Service Learning: Lessons learned from Connecting Pre-service Teachers with English language learners via Online Instruction Using Skype. The 5th International symposium on Service-Learning in Higher Education, Service Learning Across the Globe: From Local to Transnational. Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • Ruffin, T. (2013, September). Invited keynote speaker on immigrant refugee populations and disability by a Consortium of Agencies in Virginia (State developmental disability agency, the University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities at VCU, The Virginia Dept. of Education Technical Assistance Center, Commonwealth Autism Service, and the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities).

2012-2013 SY

  • Adcock, L., Crave, J., Kessaris, K., Kloeppel, L., Martinez, A., & Ruffin, T. (2013, May). Resistance & Change: The Struggle to Foster a Culturally Engaged Community. The National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education, New Orleans, LA. (https://www.ncore.ou.edu/en/schedule/abstracts/187/)
  • Ruffin, T., & Boakye-Boaten, A. (2013, February). Read, Write, Think, and Engage: Enhancing Student Learning in the 21st Century College Classroom! The 2013 National Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.
  • Boakye-Boaten, A. & Ruffin, T. (2013, February). Cultivating Pre- Service Teachers as Knowledgeable Global Citizens through the pedagogy of Service Learning. The11th Annual Gulf South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education, Louisville, KY.
  • Cole, K., Moss, M., & Ruffin, T. (2012, June). Internationalizing Teacher Education through Service Learning: Connecting Pre-service Teachers with International Students via Online Instruction Using Skype. The International Center for Service-Learning in Teacher Education (ICSLTE) conference at Duke University, Durham, NC.
  • Ruffin, T., & Boakye-Boaten, A. (2012, June). Internationalizing Teacher Education through Service-Learning Abroad. The International Center for Service-Learning in Teacher Education (ICSLTE) conference at Duke University, Durham, NC.

2011-2012 SY

  • Boakye-Boaten, A., & Ruffin, T. (2012, February). Learning Extends Beyond the Classroom Walls: How an International Service Learning Program Cultivates Pre-service Teachers as Knowledgeable Global Citizens. The 2012 National Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.
  • Ruffin, T. (2011, November). A Few Tools from the Literacy Toolbox to Enhance Students' Understanding in the College Classroom. The Idea Exchange at the Annual Conference of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, Richmond, VA.
  • Boakye-Boaten, A. & Ruffin, T. (2011, September). Preservice Teachers Go Global: How an International Service Learning Program Cultivates Pre-service Teachers as Knowledgeable Global Citizens. The 4th International symposium on Service-Learning in Higher Education: Connecting the Global to the Local, Ningbo, China.
  • Cole, K., Moss, M., & Ruffin, T. (September, 2011). Globalizing teacher education through online instruction: Connecting pre-service teacher with international students via skype. North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators 29th Annual Fall Teacher Education Forum, Raleigh, N.C.

2010-2011 SY:

  • Bullen, M., Kloeppel, L., & Ruffin, T. (2011, May). Exploring Worlds, Building Bridges—A Collaborative Educational Dialogue on Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. The National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education, San Francisco, CA.
  •  Ruffin, T. (2011, May). Classroom Teachers' Awareness and Use of Assistive Technologies for Reading. The 56th Annual Convention of the International Reading Association, Orlando, Florida.
  • Moss, M., Ruffin, T., & Beck, J. (2010, November). UNC Asheville Internationalizing Education: The Journey. Internationalizing Teacher Education Forum, Sponsored by The UNC Council of Deans and The University Council on International Programs, Raleigh, NC.

2009-2010 SY:

  • Ruffin, T., Hampton, V., & James, I. (2010, March). Maximizing Student Performance in the 21st Century: Exploring the use of Assistive Technologies for Reading Intervention and Support. The North Carolina Reading Association State Conference, Greensboro, NC.
  • Boakye-Boaten, A., & Ruffin, T. (2009, November). From the Classroom to the Streets: Empowering the 21st Century Student through the Ghana Street Children Literacy Initiative. The 3rd International symposium: Service Learning in Higher Education-Educators, Communities, and Students, Athens, Greece
  • Ruffin, T., Hampton, V., & James, I. (2009, November). Assistive Technologies for Reading: Are we doing enough in our teacher preparation programs? The Annual Conference of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, Charlotte, NC.
  • Ruffin, T. (2009, November). Classroom Teachers' Awareness and Use of Assistive Technologies for Reading: A Rural Case Study. The Idea Exchange at the Annual Conference of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, Charlotte, NC.

Office Hours

Department of Education Faculty-Staff Office Hours