Doctor of Education in Literacy Faculty
Dr. Layne, Program Chair
Dr. Steven L. Layne is a highly-acclaimed children's book author, international literacy consultant, motivational speaker, and featured author at schools, institutes, and conferences throughout the world. Dr. Layne teaches children's and young adult literature at Judson and also serves as director of the Master of Education in Literacy Program. Dr. Layne’s research interests include the affective domain, adolescent literacy, and oral language development and usage. Full Profile
Dr. Stewart-Wells, Program Chair
Dr. A. Gillian Stewart-Wells is a former middle/high school English teacher and administrator who sought to implement reading and writing across the curriculum. She has worked at a variety of high schools and universities in six different states. Although in her 17th year teaching at the university level, she maintains a frequent presence in K – 12 schools in order to keep her practice relevant to today's teachers. Dr. Wells’ research interests include social equity, teacher efficacy, and faculty development in higher education. Full Profile
Dr. Karen Biggs-Tucker
Dr. Karen Biggs-Tucker has been an elementary school teacher for twenty-five years working extensively in grades two and five. A graduate of Loyola University's doctoral program, Dr. Biggs-Tucker loves to share ideas with others about how to instill a love for both reading and writing in students of all ages. In her spare time she enjoys Chinese food, walks on the beach and reading books by her favorite authors. Dr. Biggs-Tucker's research interests include children's literature and literacy engagement.
Dr. Brenda Buckley-Hughes
Dr. Brenda Buckley-Hughes teaches with enthusiasm and energy, and she has a passion for her students' speaking success in a variety of disciplines including literacy education, theatre, and worship arts. Dr. Buckley-Hughes is the author of Introductory Speech Communication: Overcoming Obstacles, Reaching Goals. She has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level at wide range of colleges and universities. Dr. Buckley-Hughes' research interests include public speaking, oral interpretation of literature, and fluency.
Prof. Valerie Cawley
Professor Valerie Cawley has over thirty-five years of experience teaching junior high language arts. She serves on the Advisory Council for the Master of Education in Literacy Program and teaches courses at Judson in grammar and writing instruction. Professor Cawley was honored as the “Reading Educator of the Year” by the Illinois Reading Council in 2011. Professor Cawley’s research interests include grammar, linguistics, and writing instruction.
Dr. Sue Larson
Dr. Sue Larson is a K-12 literacy educator who brings her experience as a reading specialist, elementary, middle, and high school teacher, researcher, conference presenter, and teacher educator to her work with Judson students. Her passion is discovering the unique needs of children and adolescents to elevate their ability and love of reading. Dr. Larson teaches courses in literacy and assessment. Dr. Larson's research interests include content-area literacy, motivation, engagement, and identity.
Dr. Debbie LeBlanc
Dr. Debbie LeBlanc has been an elementary school principal and special education coordinator for 35 years. In addition, she has served as a professor in higher education programs in curriculum and leadership for 18 years. Her research interests include curriculum development, special education, and Response to Intervention. In her spare time she enjoys reading, walking, and spending time with her family.
Dr. Joseph Rumenapp
Dr. Joseph Rumenapp is passionate about literacy education in the increasingly globalized world. He has spent the past 10 years working and researching different aspects of urban education and remains involved in classroom-based research. His research interests include language ideologies in educational contexts, social justice in education, and teacher development through action research. Prior to joining the faculty at Judson, he taught graduate level courses and worked with several federally funded research projects at UIC.
Dr. Pete Sandberg
Dr. Pete Sandberg has a passion for engaging students through new and experimental teaching methods. He spent two years at the University of Minnesota - Duluth before coming to Judson in 1999 to teach courses in Physics and Mathematics. Since coming to Judson he has concentrated his efforts on the use of exploratory teaching methods in the classroom. Dr. Sandberg's research interests include Combinatorics and Physics Education.
Prof. Maria Schlup
Professor Maria Schlup has been a classroom teacher and reading specialist for over ten years. In addition, she has taught English as a second language and adult literacy at the college level. Professor Schlup is Reading Recovery trained and holds a master's in reading from Northern Illinois University. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Judson. Her research interests include early intervention, culturally responsive teaching, and reading motivation.
Prof. Joy Towner
Professor Joy Towner began her professional teaching career in District 205 in Elmhurst, IL, where she served as a classroom teacher and eventually as the building reading specialist. She holds an M.S. Ed. in Reading Education from Northern Illinois University and is a trained Reading Recovery teacher. Prof. Towner enjoys bicycling, reading, and playing games with her family. Her research interests include professional development and literacy in the instruction of preservice teachers as well as the benefits of reading aloud to K-12 students.
Dr. Terry Wandtke
Dr. Terry Wandtke has a passion for teaching students through the exploration of twentieth century literature, film, and popular culture. He is the director of Judson's Imago Film Festival and author of The Amazing Transforming Superhero! Essays on the Revision of Characters in Comic Books, Film and Television. Dr. Wandtke's research focuses on the relationship between literacy, culture, and technology with a special focus on new media. He spends his spare time with his wife, Anna, daughter, Bella, and son, Ripley.