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Toni Lefton

ASSISTANT PROVOST for Signature Student Experience
High Grade Faculty Adviser
Affiliate HASS Faculty, Teaching Professor

Toni LeftonToni Lefton is the Assistant Provost for Signature Student Experience and Executive Director of the University Honors and Scholars Programs. She joined the Mines faculty in 1999 where she has worked on ethics across the curriculum, integrating arts and humanities in the STEM classroom, developing creative writing and comparative literature courses that incorporate environmental and professional ethics, multidisciplinary lenses, and creative expression as a modality for empathy and civic engagement. Professor Lefton currently serves as the Assistant Provost in Academic Affairs. In addition, she leads University Honors and Scholars as the Executive Director of Thorson First-Year Honors, Grandey First-Year Honors, the McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs, Undergraduate Research Scholars, Grand Challenges Scholars Program, Teach@Mines, and the office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships.  Professor Lefton’s scholarship and service is devoted to interdisciplinary pedagogy, collaborative teaching, developing signature programs for Mines students, and high impact practices (HIP) in honors education. She has received a Daniels Fellowship to integrate ethics in the first-year honors curriculum and was selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering “Overcoming Challenges to Infusing Ethics.” The results of this collaboration are part of NAE’s Online Ethics Center. Professor Lefton is also an active member of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and the NCHC Faculty Institute which develops experiential programs for students and educators. Professor Lefton is involved in international STEM+, STEAM, and engineering ethics initiatives, researching new methods for HIP, and writing about integrating arts and humanities into an engineer’s toolkit.

Professor Lefton received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the graduating senior class 17 times and was honored with the Board of Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award in 2015. She has been the faculty advisor for High Grade, Mines award-winning literary and arts journal since 2000. She has served as a faculty mentor for the Vanguard scholars, as a coach for the Mines Ethics Bowl team, faculty friend for the Visual and Performing Arts Themed Learning Community, advised the Creative Arts Club, the Mines Dance Team, Philosophy Club, Creative Writing Club, and Anonymous Right Brains. In her other life, Toni is a published poet and writer. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in Narrative, The Crab Orchard Review, Kalliope, The Sun Dog, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Kudzu, Thin Air, Ellipses, on National Public Radio and Ms. Magazine, among others. Her first book, Everyday Crimes won the Anhinga Prize and she has been a finalist for a Pushcart and the Emily Dickinson Prize in Poetry.


  • HASS 100: Nature and Human Values
  • HASS 205: Nature and Human Values: Short Form Ethics
  • HASS 300 Creative Writing: Intermediate Fiction Workshop
  • HASS 301 Creative Writing: Intermediate Poetry Workshop
  • HASS 305: African-American Literature: Talk that Talk:  Folklore, Performance, and Poetry
  • HASS 307: Explorations in Comparative Literature: Post Modern American Poetry
  • HASS 400: Creative Writing: Advanced Fiction Workshop
  • HASS 401: Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry Workshop
  • HASS 407: Science and Literature
  • HASS 412: Literature and the Environment
  • HASS 498: Great Women Writers
  • HASS 499: Found Poetry: An Exploration of Forms
  • HNRS 105: Innovation and Discovery in Engineering, Arts, and Science (IDEAS)
  • HNRS 198: Leadership by Design
  • HNRS 445: Explorations in Science, Technology, and Society: From the Lab to the Page: Revolutions in Science and Literature
  • HNRS 435: Explorations in Culture, Society, and Creative Arts: Cognition, Creativity, and Catharsis: Global Paradigms and Modes of Thought
  • HNRS 435: Soul Food: Plating Our Cultural Narratives
  • HNRS 435: Pilgrimages, Peregrinations, and Perambulations: The Literature, History, and Culture of Walking
  • HNRS 435/HASS 499: Poetry of Witness
  • HNRS 499: The Public Affair of Poetry
  • HNRS 499: A Good Death: a pre-med exploration of empathy and the human experience
  • Interdisciplinary Mines Undergraduate Research (IMURF) Robot, Found: The Collaborative Human-Machine Poetry Project (with Dr. Tom Williams, Computer Science)


Honors and Scholars House
1704 Illinois Street