Brandy Faulkner, collegiate assistant professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been named the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Gloria D. Smith Professorship in Black Studies was established in 1997 by then Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen with funds from the Athletic Association. The professorship, named in honor of the late Gloria D. Smith, a counselor and advocate of minority students on campus before her retirement, is awarded for a period of two years to an outstanding faculty member who contributes significantly to the growth and development of minority students, student athletes, and scholarly pursuits.

The honoree also oversees the Gloria D. Smith Speaker Series and makes at least one university-wide presentation during his or her tenure.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2012, Faulkner’s scholarship has focused on constitutional and administrative law, race and public policy, and critical organization theory. She is active in the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and served three years as the editorial assistant for the journal Administration and Society.

Faulkner is an award-winning teacher, inspiring students to exceed their own expectations for learning, intellectual development, and personal growth. She teaches courses in public administration, constitutional law, administrative law, research methods, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender. She has supervised more than 10 undergraduate research students in the areas of law and judicial policy.

Since her arrival at Virginia Tech, Faulkner has worked to promote an appreciation of diversity, inclusiveness, and collaboration on campus and in the wider New River Valley. She has served as an informal “navigator” assisting local community members in signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and she holds open office hours in the Black Cultural Center for underrepresented students to talk about personal or academic issues.

In 2014, Faulkner received a Teaching Excellence Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Four years later, she received the university’s 2018 Diggs Teaching Scholar Award.

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