Northwestern education professor Heather Hayes selected for endowed professorship

The Northwestern College board of trustees has appointed Dr. Heather Hayes as the James and Margaret Blekkink Professor of Education.

The endowed position provides annual funds to support the recipient’s scholarly work, which can be used for research, the purchase of equipment or materials, travel to pursue research, or assistance to student researchers. Criteria for the appointment includes a distinguished record as an outstanding teacher; recognition for scholarly and leadership contributions to one’s discipline; exemplary service to the department, Northwestern and the larger community; and a demonstrated commitment to the college’s mission.

Hayes joined Northwestern’s education department in 2022 and teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate education programs. She specializes in disability advocacy. Results of her research have been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of International Special Needs Education and in Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. She has also presented her findings at TASH conferences, the Division of International Special Education and Services, the Council for Exceptional Children Conference, the Closing the Gap Conference, and the American Council on Rural Special Education.

Among the courses she teaches are ones on behavior management, the characteristics of disabilities, teaching methods for students with intellectual disabilities, and teaching methods for students with mild to moderate disabilities.

Hayes is a University of Kansas graduate who earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Central Missouri and a doctorate in special education from the University of Northern Colorado. Prior to joining Northwestern’s faculty, she was a special education middle and high school teacher in Kansas and Iowa, a graduate research assistant at the University of Northern Colorado, and an adjunct professor at Morningside College.