Valerie L. Giddings, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences.
A 31-year member of the association, she has been chair of its accreditation council, a member and chair of its collegiate assembly, a member of its awards committee and, currently, a member of its accreditation site visit team.
“I’m very humbled,” said Giddings. “You work hard without expecting an award, but earning this award makes me feel as though the effort I’ve put into advocating for our profession is appreciated.”
Giddings has focused on education and service throughout her professional career, serving as chairperson for the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and interim associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T; Associate Vice Chancellor for Lifelong Learning at Winston-Salem State University and Associate Dean and Extension Specialist in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech.
She is also a member of the National Coalition for Black Development in Family and Consumer Sciences; a Food System Leadership Institute Fellow and a member of the N.C. Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, among others.
Active in each of these organizations, Giddings says that some of her proudest professional accomplishments have come while serving as FCS department chair. Giddings led the department through its AAFCS reaccreditation process in 2013-14 and enhanced the department’s record of funded grants between 2008 and 2015, resulting in the department’s position as leader in funded grants in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences in 2013. During her tenure, five of the department’s classrooms and laboratories have been renovated, resulting in a better learning environment for the students.
On a national level, Giddings says, she is proud of being a member of the AAFCS accreditation council, helping to keep a steady flow of qualified institutions participating in the profession.
“Our department has very diverse subject matter, from clothing and apparel to food and nutritional science to child development,” Giddings says. “We have a very broad impact on society because of our diversity, and we improve the lives of individuals, families and communities every day. We have to continue to be heard and seen as a viable profession because we have many of the answers and solutions to today’s problems.”
The Distinguished Service Award was established by the American Home Economics Association Foundation (now Family and Consumer Sciences) in 1979 to recognize superior achievements, outstanding contributions and sustained leadership in the profession at the state and national levels.