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Erica Wiborg joins W&M Higher Education faculty

Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to W&M. 
I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. I completed my bachelor's degree in Business Marketing with a certificate in Leadership Studies at Florida State University, my master's degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education at Texas A&M University, and my Ph.D. in Higher Education at Florida State University. After graduating with my master's degree, I worked in student affairs administration where I coordinated leadership and social justice programs at the Center for Leadership and Social Change at Florida State. During that time, the department was going through a transition as it merged the Center for Leadership & Service and the Office of Multicultural Affairs into one entity. This merger and my experience as a student affairs administrator informs my scholarship and teaching, as I came to understand the ways race and racism influences leadership. 

As a result, I decided to pursue my Ph.D. part-time, then eventually transitioned to full-time where I served as a teaching assistant and research assistant in the Leadership Learning Research Center, teaching a range of undergraduate and graduate leadership courses. I had the opportunity to lead multiple, collaborative research projects consisting of faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students on a range of topics that included emotionally intelligent leadership, leadership learning and student success, culturally relevant leadership learning, and socially responsible leadership. Most recently, I served as an adjunct faculty member preparing higher education scholars and student affairs practitioners in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am thrilled to join the William & Mary School of Education faculty and contribute to the social justice focus of the Higher Education program.

What’s your area of research and what question are you most passionate about answering right now?
I am a scholar concerned about deconstructing systemic racism, the sociohistorical influences of race and racism, and hegemonic whiteness in postsecondary leadership learning environments. My research interests center on four main areas: 1) college access and inequity in leadership learning and teaching; 2) critical race theory and whiteness in leadership; 3) critical leadership pedagogy; and 4) college student leadership development, including identity, capacity, efficacy, emotional intelligence, and spirituality. I am a scholar trained in discourse and conversation analysis, more specifically, critical discourse analysis. Through my doctoral dissertation, I studied the discourse exchanged in academic, undergraduate leadership learning courses that perpetuate racism. Broadly, my research draws from K-12 critical pedagogy, culturally responsive pedagogy, indigenous research, critical race theory, and sociological perspectives of race/racism. I plan to continue this research as a faculty member, contributing to the limited research on how critical race theory is applied in postsecondary leadership learning environments. I have tons of questions I am considering right now, mainly focused on addressing the harm caused by applying a neutral application of culturally responsive pedagogy, without consideration of dominant ideologies and how white supremacy has contributed to what is valued in the classroom. 

What else are you hoping to get involved with on campus or in the community?
I am excited to really learn about William & Mary, an institution that has significance to the history of higher education in the United States. So first and foremost, I am looking forward to learning about the history, traditions, and distinctions of the area/campus. In addition, I hope to make friends and connections in student affairs. As a former student affairs administrator and through talking with colleagues in administrative roles – leading during this pandemic has been tough and offered unique challenges to engaging students outside of the classroom. I would love to be a listening ear and a resource for practitioners. I also would love to connect with graduate and undergraduate student organizations focused on DEI and leadership focused outcomes.  

Anything else you’d like to share?
My family includes a partner – still in Florida until the end of this semester – and two dogs: Radley (labradoodle) and Brody (English bulldog). Brody is still in Florida, but Radley has officially transitioned to Williamsburg. My partner owns a small business that caters to the Fraternity and Sorority Life community (NPHC, Panhellenic, IFC, & MGC groups) and plans to gradually offer group orders, gifts, and apparel for campus and the surrounding communities. We are excited to join the William & Mary community.