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About Dilafruz R. Williams

Dilafruz Williams, PhD, is a professor of Leadership for Sustainability Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP), at Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education. She served as department chair from 2004 to 2007.
Dr. Williams is co-founder of the Leadership for Sustainability Education program within the ELP department, and of the Learning Gardens Laboratory. She also co-founded the Sunnyside K-8 Environmental School in the Portland Public School District. These successful initiatives address ecological and cultural foundations of K-12 and higher education with strong community-university-school partnerships. She was elected city-wide and served on the Portland Public School Board 2003-2011.
She is frequently invited to give seminars, workshops, and talks both nationally and internationally. Dr. Williams is co-author of Learning Gardens and Sustainability Education: Bringing Life to Schools and Schools to Life (Routledge), and co-editor of Ecological Education in Action: On Weaving Education, Culture, and the Environment (SUNY). She has authored over 50 chapters, journal articles, and curriculum resource guides and has given over 100 invited lectures, symposia, and/or conference papers. Dr. Williams has graduate degrees from Bombay, Syracuse, and Harvard Universities in the sciences, public administration, and philosophy of education.


Present Principal Investigator, Portland State University Learning Gardens Laboratory
Present Professor, Portland State University College of Education
Fellow, Portland State University Institute for Sustainable Solutions

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Ehrlich Award for Faculty Service-Learning
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar
  • 100 District Leaders for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Network, of the Education Commission of the States’ National Center for Learning and Citizenship
  • Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Award for strong partnerships.

Contact Information

Dilafruz Williams, PhD
Portland State University
Graduate School of Education
Educational Leadership and Policy
PO Box 751
615 SW Harrison
Room: 506W
Portland, OR 97207-0751
Phone: 503-25-4676
Fax: 503-725-3200


Books (2)

Articles (38)