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Hiller Spires


Dr. Spires, who joined NC State in 1986, is currently Executive Director and Professor Emerita. She served as associate dean of NC State’s College of Education and executive director of the Friday Institute from 2019 – 2022.  She was also Alumni Distinguished Professor of Literacy and Technology in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in literacy education with a cognate in English from the University of South Carolina. She served as the founding director of The William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation from 2002-2006 and served as FI Senior Research Fellow from 2006-2019. Dr. Spires has received numerous awards during her academic career. She received NC State’s Award in Outreach and Engagement for providing professional development seminars for K-12 teachers in rural NC.  In 2011 she received NC State’s Jackson A. Rigney International Service Award for her work with Chinese teachers and students. In 2012, she was the first woman in the College of Education to receive NC State’s Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor Award, and in 2015 she received NC State’s Centennial Campus Partnership Award for her international work with Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School. Dr. Spires studies the integration of emerging technologies in order to illustrate research-based, best practices for digital literacy learning with diverse students; disciplinary literacy and inquiry-based learning; and Project-Based Inquiry (PBI) Global using the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Spires has published over 200 refereed articles, chapters, and papers. Her publications have appeared in Journal of Educational Psychology, Cognition & Instruction, Journal of Educational Computing Research, Literacy Research and Instruction, Computers and Education, Information Sciences, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Journal of Literacy Research, among others. She was the founding director for the Friday Institute’s New Literacies Collaborative and also led the development of the New Literacies & Global Learning masters degree program, including the K-12 Literacy Cohort. Her collaboration with educators in China since 2007 has resulted in her groundbreaking book, Digital Transformation and Innovation in Chinese Education, and her serving as honorary principal of Suzhou North America High School, which she helped design and create in 2015. See Her latest book, published in 2020 by Teachers College Press, is Read, Write, Inquire: Disciplinary Literacy for Grades 6-12. She is also writing Critical Perspectives in Global Literacies: Research and Practice with Dr. Shea Kerkhoff, her former doctoral student. The book is scheduled to be published in May 2023.