Tiffani Riggers-Piehl

Tiffani  Riggers-Piehl
Assistant Professor
Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences

Contact Info
342 Education


Dr. Tiffani Riggers-Piehl is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Program Coordinator for the Higher Education Masters and Doctorate (EDD) programs. Having previously served across multiple functional areas in academic and student affairs at Baylor (TX), UCLA, and Greenville University (IL), Dr. Riggers-Piehl focuses her efforts to help and understand students in three ways. First, Dr. RP advises doctoral and masters students in their academic and career endeavors, drawing upon her varied experience in higher education administration and faculty development. She also advises the Higher Education Student Association (HESA), a student-led organization that provides professional development and community building for students in the HEA programs. Second, Dr. RP researches the ways that students develop meaning and purpose in college across multiple identity dimensions. While earning her Ph.D. at UCLA, she studied college student spirituality and student-faculty interactions. Her dissertation, “Enhancing Classrooms and Conversations: How Interactions with Faculty Predict Change in Students’ Spirituality in College” identifies ways that faculty can be more involved in students’ meaning-making and spiritual development. Since then she has focused her research on topics including spiritual and moral development, research and teaching, and gender differences in education. Third, Dr. RP teaches future higher education and student affairs professionals using innovative and collaborative pedagogies that help them apply their learning to their professional experience.

Prior to her studies at UCLA, Tiffani earned a Master of Science degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Baylor University, where she discovered her interested in scholarly pursuits. Dr. Riggers-Piehl’s research has been featured in the Teacher’s College Record, Research in Higher Education, and Religion and Education, among other journals. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of College and Character and Secretary/Treasurer for the Religion and Education SIG in the American Educational Research Association. Her professional passions include teaching and training, investigating the college student experience, and creating a collegial academic community.

Research Areas

College student development; Campus climate; Spirituality and religion in college; Student-faculty interaction, pedagogy, and student success; Interfaith experiences in college; Gendered aspects of spiritual development in college; Conditional effects of gender.


Ph.D., Higher Education and Organizational Change, University of California, Los Angeles

M.A., Higher Education and Organizational Change, University of California, Los Angele

M.S. Ed., Higher Education and Student Affairs, Baylor University, Waco, Texas


Riggers-Piehl, T. A.  & Sax, L. J. (2018). Enhancing the spirit: How interactions with faculty influence students’ meaning-making and spiritual quest in college. Journal of College and Character, 19(2), 101-119. DOI: 10.1080/2194587X.2018.1445642

Mayhew, M. J., Bowman, N. A., Rockenbach, A. N., Selznick, B., & Riggers-Piehl, T. A. (2018). Appreciative attitudes toward Jews among non-Jewish U.S. college students. Journal of College Student Development, 59(1).

Rockenbach, A. N., Bowman, N. A., Riggers-Piehl, T. A., Mayhew, M. J., & Crandall, R. E. (2018). Respecting the LDS/Mormon minority on campus: College students’ attitudes toward Latter-day Saints. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 56(4): 798-819. DOI: 10.1111/jssr.12481    

Riggers-Piehl, T. A., & Lehman, K. (2016). Modeling the relationship between campus spiritual climate and the sense of belonging for Christian, Muslim, and Jewish students. Religion and Education, 43(3), 247-270. DOI: 10.1080/15507394.2016.1175843


Principal Investigator, Fostering Academic and Social Engagement: An Investigation into the Effects of All-Girls Education in the Transition to University. Funded by National Coalition for Girl’s Schools, August 2017-January 2019. Collaborators: Dr. Gloria Lim, Co-Principle Investigator, and Karen KIng. Awarded $43,000 to update a 2009 study on women graduates of single sex high schools as they enter colleges. Study uses a multi-level approach to better understand the effect of participation in single-sex high schools at college entry.

Co-Principal Investigator, The Role of College Experiences in the Development of Self-Authored Worldview Commitment for First-Year STEM Students. Funded through the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Interfaith Youth Core, Dr. Matthew Mayhew, and Dr. Alyssa Rockenbach, October 2017-December 2018 Collaborators: Dr. Kate Lehman, Co-Principle Investigator (UCLA) and Emily Sandval, M.S., (Baylor University). Awarded $7500 to examine how students within STEM develop a spiritual or worldview commitment and how their experiences within their major may foster or hinder the development of a spiritual commitment.