Kiersten Hillkirk has been a Faculty Support Specialist since 2017. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Center for World Languages and Cultures. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Denver, Kiersten's doctoral research focuses on finding ways for higher education institutions to improve their retention and persistence for historically underrepresented students. While matriculating as a Ph.D. student she will research pedagogical strategies that can foster success for underserved students which in turn increases retention rates. Some of the student-centered approaches to teaching she will focus on include culturally responsive pedagogy, critical pedagogy, and inclusive pedagogy.
Prior to moving to Denver to pursue graduate school, she taught second language acquisition at the secondary school level for 12 years in California and Illinois. She is a bilingual professional and her cross-cultural experiences in Thailand, Costa Rica, and Spain prepared her well for her teaching career in a diverse and highly charged community. Kiersten’s decision to move from working in a secondary to a postsecondary school setting commenced when she continuously saw a need for stronger collaboration between K-12 and higher education in order to improve teaching and learning. Throughout Kiersten’s 15.5 years of direct experience working in the K-20 school system her professional objectives have always been driven by her passion for effectively engaging culturally and linguistically diverse students.
M.A., Higher Education, University of Denver
M.A.T., Secondary Education, Southern Illinois University
B.A., Spanish, Wittenberg University