Welcome! I’m a professor at Penn State focusing on writing education, in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
My research addresses how writing fits into lives– crossing disciplinary boundaries of composition studies, professional development, teacher education, and English language arts education. This work has included studies in and out of schools, homes, and churches. Spanning elementary, secondary, college and professional settings, all my research has shared a particular focus on the relationships between writing, living, and learning.
My roots are in K-12 language arts, where I began my career as a high school English teacher. I believe that teaching is a fundamentally relational endeavor, requiring not only procedural knowledge but capacities for inquiry, empathy, and creativity. Much of my scholarship is about the rights of teachers to speak as authorities on their own work and the rights of teachers and learners to do school work that is authentic and empowering.
My work on writing in schools and among teachers has led me to wider questions about writing and its power and utility in lives. I examine how people come to see themselves as writers, and I examine what gets in the way. I ask how writing helps people be who they are and do what they do.
At Penn State, I teach a variety of graduate courses in the teaching of writing, teacher education, professional development, English education, and research. For undergraduates, I teach courses in secondary English education, the vocation of teaching, and educational inquiry.
My graduate students work on a wide range of projects– some collaborating with me on the projects described on this site, and others pursuing more independent inquiry in areas of their own interest.