Research
Multiliteracies
Read Write Serve
Literacy Workshos
Service Learning

Faculty

JuliAnna Ávila is an Assistant Professor in the English department where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in English Education and digital literacies. A former high school teacher and literacy coach, she received her Ph.D. from The University of California at Berkeley and has published in English Journal, Teaching Education, Theory Into Practice, Pedagogies, and Teachers College Record. With Jessica Zacher Pandya, she is the co-editor of Critical Digital Literacies as Social Praxis: Intersections and Challenges (Lang, 2012) and Moving Critical Literacies Forward: A New Look at Praxis Across Contexts (Routledge, 2013). Her current research focuses on the utilization of digital composing to explore critical literacies with pre- and in-service English teachers. 

Dr. Heather Coffey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle, Secondary and K-12 Education and is a former middle and high school English teacher. Dr. Coffey’s areas of expertise include English language arts and critical literacy. Her primary teaching responsibilities include graduate English language arts methods as well as instructional design courses. Her research interests include ways to develop critical literacy with urban learners, bridging the gap between educational theory and practice in teacher education, and supporting in-service teachers in action research. Dr. Coffey is new to the UNC Charlotte, and is excited to get involved with the local school system and community in an effort to improve adolescent literacy.

Dr. Jennifer Hathaway is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading and Elementary education.  She teaches elementary reading methods courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Her research interests include teachers’ beliefs, literacy coaching, teacher education, and professional development.  She received her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University after teaching for several years in elementary schools in North Carolina. 

Dr. Tina Heafner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education.  Dr. Heafner’s areas of expertise include social studies and instructional technology. Her primary teaching responsibilities include undergraduate and graduate social studies methods and advanced methods courses as well as instructional design and technology integration courses.  Dr. Heafner coordinates a tutoring program for struggling social studies learners in Cabarrus County Schools.  This program serves a model for integrating literacy strategies within content area methods courses. Her research examines the marginalization of social studies, literacy and social studies, and effective technology-based strategies for increase academic achievement in the social studies. 

Dr. Adriana L. Medina is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education. Dr. Medina’s areas of interest and research include adolescent literacy, teacher education, and educational program evaluation. Her primary teaching responsibilities include undergraduate and graduate courses in reading and content area literacy. Dr. Medina teaches a Literacy for Democracy service learning course at Piedmont Open Middle School in Charlotte and works with the Center on program evaluation projects including the evaluation of the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools© .

Dr. Maryann Mraz  is an Associate Professor in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She earned her Ph.D. from Kent State University. Dr. Mraz is the author of over 40 books, chapters, articles, and instructional materials on literacy education including Vacca, Vacca, & Mraz (2011) Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum (10th ed.), a leading textbook in the field; and Mraz, Algozzine, & Kissel (2009) The Literacy Coach’s Companion. Her work has been published in journals including Reading Research and Instruction, Literacy Research and Instruction, The Reading Teacher, and Reading and Writing Quarterly. Dr. Mraz teaches a variety of literacy courses in the Ph.D., M.Ed., and initial licensure programs at UNC Charlotte. She is the Program Coordinator for the Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction Program. Dr. Mraz provides professional development on topics including literacy coaching, content area literacy, and early literacy development to teachers, literacy coaches, and school administrators.

Dr. Chris O'Brien is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Child Development. Dr. O’Brien’s current areas of interest and research include learning strategies that promote the academic achievement of adolescents with high-incidence disabilities in middle and secondary schools (particularly in urban settings), the use of technology-enhanced reading performance, and technological innovations in the promotion of research-to-practice. Dr. O’Brien’s current work in the local schools centers on the use of the strategic instruction model to promote adolescent literacy in Cabarrus county middle and high schools.

Dr. Paola Pilonieta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading & Elementary Education. Dr. Paola Pilonieta attended the University of Miami for her entire educational career. She received her B.A. in elementary education and French, her Master’s in reading and learning disabilities, and her Ph.D . in reading education. Along the way, Paola also taught first grade for five years in an urban Catholic School in Miami. Currently she is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has been there for three years and teaches reading methods classes focusing on emergent literacy. Dr. Pilonieta's research agenda focuses on emergent and early literacy, multicultural education - specifically English Language Learners, and teacher education.

Dr. Robert J. Rickelman is Professor of Literacy Education in the Reading and Elementary Education Department, where he recently served as Department Chair for nine years. He is a former middle and secondary grades reading and English teacher in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Bob is Past President of the College Reading Association (now Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers), and he also served as Co-Editor of Reading Research and Instruction (now Literacy Research and Instruction). He is the author of over 60 publications related to literacy education and is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences. His current research interests are in adolescent literacy and reading assessments for students with disabilities.

Dr. Tracy Rock is an Associate Professor in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education.  Dr. Rock’s areas of expertise include elementary social studies education and instructional technology.  Her teaching responsibilities include undergraduate and graduate elementary social studies methods courses and an instructional design and technology integration course.  Dr. Rock also supervises student teachers and serves as the university liaison for Shady Brook Elementary School as part of the College of Education’s Professional Development School program.  Her research interests involve the marginalization of elementary social studies, curriculum integration, and inquiry models of teacher professional development.  

Dr. Bruce Taylor is the Director of the Center for Adolescent Literacies at UNC Charlotte and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Reading & Elementary Education. Dr. Taylor has provided leadership in developing the ReadWriteServe service learning and literacy initiatives at UNC Charlotte as well as the Academy for Qualitative Research. He is the co-author of Guiding Readers through Text: Strategy Guides in ‘New Times' and is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and technical reports. His research examines the social and cultural aspects of literacy and learning of adolescents and, in particular, ways to meet the academic learning needs of diverse and marginalized students. Dr. Taylor teaches undergraduate, master's level, and doctoral courses that focus on content-area and adolescent literacy, multiliteracies in education, and sociocultural aspects of language and literacy.

Dr. Jean Vintinner is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education. Dr. Vintinner teaches undergraduate and graduate methods courses focused on elementary and intermediate grades reading pedagogy. She is the ReadWriteServe Program Coordinator for Literacy PALS and has helped to develop an innovative summer reading program supported by the Center.

Dr. Karen Wood is a Professor and Graduate Reading Program Coordinator in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education and is a former middle school teacher and K-12 literacy specialist in the public schools. She is the author of over 200 publications many of which focus on research-based practices for teaching the adolescent learner. Recent among these publications are the following books: Guiding Readers through Text: Strategy Guides in ‘New Times,’ Instructional Strategies for Teaching Content Vocabulary Grades 4-12; and Literacy Instruction for Adolescent Learners: Research-based Practices to be published spring, 2009. In addition, she is the author and originator of the “Research into Practice” column of the Middle School Journal.  She teaches courses for training teachers to become K-12 literacy specialists. Her research interests focus on comprehension, vocabulary development and integrating content area literacy practices for intermediate, middle and secondary level learners.