Hiram College has appointed Laci Fiala, Ph.D. as the new director of the Eclectic Scholars Honors Program following the departure of Paul Gaffney, Ph.D. She will take over as director of the program in June.    

Dr. Fiala joined Hiram College in August 2021 as an associate professor of sociology and crime, law, and justice. Her expertise ranges from victimology, school violence, and juvenile delinquency to social inequality, childhood and family. Dr. Fiala is also a quantitative researcher who specializes in survey research methodology and content analysis. She has published and presented on a variety of topics including school violence, young adult financial management, and new parent experiences. 

“I am honored to be able to use my skills and experience to celebrate the program’s history and work toward continued success and academic excellence in the future,” said Dr. Fiala. “I’ve worked with honors students and honors programs in different capacities dating back to my time as an instructor of record as a graduate student. I have always loved the dedication and genuine academic intrigue I see in honors students, and I am honored that I get to use my skills and experience to both celebrate the program’s first ten years and set it on a course of continued success for the next ten and more.” 

Prior to coming to Hiram, Dr. Fiala was a professor of sociology at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, where she taught over 20 courses in sociology and criminal justice, as well as specialty courses in the Honors Program and Global Scholars Program on topics such as cross-cultural issues in education, victimization, and gender inequalities. She also served as chair of the faculty for three years and was the co-director of the Honors Program. 

Hiram’s Eclectic Scholars Honors Program was founded in 2012, with the first group of students beginning in August 2013. As part of the program, students are given many opportunities for academic enrichment, professional development, and interdisciplinary discourse. The curriculum is designed to challenge and develop students in all fields, including honors-only short courses and honors options for other courses. Each semester, scholars are also permitted to register early for a course of their choice, often using this as an opportunity to take an upper-level course with greater academic challenge. Students can also take an additional three credit hours during one semester of the academic year at no additional cost. Many students use this perk to complete internships or research for credit.  

“Hiram’s Honors Program has a reputation of not only challenging students academically, but also preparing them for a wide variety of rewarding careers,” said Paul Gaffney, Ph.D., director of the Eclectic Scholars Honors Program and associate professor English. It has been a pleasure to work with the students and to strengthen the Honors Program over the past four years. I know that Dr. Fiala brings a wealth of knowledge that will help will the program build upon the success of nearly the past decade.” 

To learn more about the Eclectic Scholars Honors Program at Hiram, visit hiram.edu/honors.  

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