Judson Graduates First Doctor of Education in Literacy Students | Judson University Christian College
Judson Graduates First Doctor of Education in Literacy Students

2017 DLIT Graduates(ELGIN, IL – April 4, 2017) In 2013, Judson launched its first Doctor of Education in Literacy program, with the idea of combining best practices and scholarly proficiency to aid local educators in becoming top-notch literacy leaders. This May, that first cohort of nine will graduate with their Ed.D. degrees, as part of Judson’s Spring Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 6, at 2 p.m. in Lindner Fitness Center (1151 N. State St., Elgin).

The Doctor of Education in Literacy program, or DLIT, as it has come to be called on campus, was created by renowned educators Dr. Steven Layne and Dr. Gillian Stewart-Wells, along with an advisory council of 11 university professors, K-12 teachers, principals and literacy coaches. Dr. Layne and Dr. Stewart-Wells continue to lead what has grown into five cohorts of eight to ten students each. Currently, 45 candidates are enrolled in the program.

This first cohort started together in January 2014, and all nine successfully completed the three-year coursework module and defended their dissertations.

The new graduates include:
Lindsay Allen - Principal at Southbury Elementary School in Oswego, Ill.

Vicki Billimack - English teacher at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, Ill.; professor of Doctoral Writing course, Judson University

Valerie Cawley - Graduate professor in the Division of Education, Judson University

Beth Gottlieb - Former fifth grade teacher, Naperville, Ill.; now fourth grade teacher at Westminster Christian School

Mary Martin - Former associate professor, Moody Bible Institute; now associate professor and director of Christian School Education, Moody Bible Institute

Maria Schlup - Reading consultant specialist, District 15; doctoral professor, Judson University

Joy Towner - Former part-time professor, Judson University; chair of the Division of Education, Judson University

Megan Truax - Former second grade teacher, Southbury Elementary School; fourth grade teacher at Southbury Elementary; Master of Education in Literacy professor, Judson University

Ben Zulauf - Former fifth grade teacher in Bensenville, Ill., District 2; now a consulting teacher in District 2

“We feel a great sense of being the Church at work in the world,” said Dr. Stewart-Wells of the ongoing success of the DLIT program. “What a tremendous impact for our students, not just at K-12 schools, but in higher education. There’s a ripple effect. They have focused on best literacy practice and how to become better researchers, practitioners and leaders in their fields, whether it be reading, writing, speaking, young adult literature or social justice, etc.”

As many as 33 people applied to be a part of that first cohort. Twenty two were called in for an initial interview, but only nine made it through the entire process that included a multi-tiered application, a committee interview, live-writing prompts, a literacy-related presentation. (Later, a group interview was added to the selection process.)

There will be a celebratory dinner for the graduating cohort on Sunday, May 7. The dinner would normally follow Spring Commencement, but since one of the students was unable to attend at that time, the entire group decided to wait until the next day.

A Welcoming Banquet for the new, incoming DLIT5 cohort is scheduled for Sunday, April 23.

To learn more about Judson’s Doctor of Education in Literacy program, visit: www.judsonu.edu/literacydoctor/

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