Literacy Education professor’s dissertation wins academic ‘Triple Crown’ with trio of top awards

Michael Manderino
Michael Manderino

Michael Manderino, assistant professor in the Department of Literacy Education in NIU’s College of Education, has drawn significant praise from his colleagues in 2013, and deservedly so.

His dissertation has received awards from three prestigious organizations already this year.

The scholarly paper, titled “Disciplinary Literacy in New Literacies Environments: Expanding the Intersections of Literate Practice for Adolescents,” received top awards from the International Reading Association (IRA), Literacy Research Association (LRA), and the Association of Literacy Educators & Researchers (ALER).

“It is an honor to have my work recognized when there are so many strong dissertations in the field of literacy,” said Manderino, who came to NIU in 2012. “I am privileged to have the opportunity to share my work that is a small reflection of adolescents’ school experiences and the teachers that work with them on a daily basis.”

His research has centered on the intersection of disciplinary literacy and multi-literacies at the secondary level, how students process multiple texts in discipline specific contexts with multimodal texts and the development of secondary literacy coaching programs.

“In just his second year, he has already distinguished himself as a faculty member to watch,” said Jennifer Berne, associate professor and chair of the department. “His cutting-edge work enhances the reputation of our department and the college.”

Logo of the Association of Literacy Educators & ResearchersMore importantly, she added, “this kind of publicity helps to get his work out to the field where it has the possibility to effect change for educators. His work on disciplinary literacy is at the center of every conversation about what it means to be literate. These awards assure that his important work will get the attention it deserves.”

Manderino developed his research topic from his interest in assessing how literacy, history and multiple texts correlate. He initially developed the idea in his time as a high school history teacher and has used his theories in using literacy strategies to teach history.

After teaching at the high school level, Manderino went on to earn both his master’s degree in education and doctorate from University of Illinois at Chicago, where he focused his attention on adolescent literacy.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants here at NIU,” Manderino said. “Senior faculty members have provided me with fantastic mentorship. My colleagues have selflessly shared their expertise and availed themselves for collaboration on a number of projects.  I have also been encouraged and given ample opportunities to pursue and grow my research interests through support from the Department of Literacy Education, the college and groups like the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Language and Literacy.”

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