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Oklahoma State University

Reading/Literacy Faculty

Sheri Vasinda, Ed.D. (Literacy Program Coordinator)

Associate Professor, Literacy Education
251 Willard Hall

Dr. Sheri Vasinda’s professional interests include reclaiming joy in education through valuing children’s thoughts, wonders, and interests and incorporating them in mandated curriculum while meeting and exceeding state standards.  With over 25 years of K12 experience that include elementary classroom teacher, campus reading specialist and district literacy specialist, she now supports preservice and inservice teachers in developing deep understandings of literacy processes and practices.  She is passionate about supporting struggling readers and writers through purposeful pairings of new technology tools with strong traditional literacy strategies to amplify the effects of both.  She continues to discover ways that technology affords authentic self-assessment opportunities and is exploring frameworks of thinking about the technology integration and pedagogy as well as new literacies.  She is developing new lines of research exploring higher-education faculty technology integration and how new and traditional literacies support content areas, currently mathematics.  Her work has been published in several journals and books such as The Reading Teacher, International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, Using Technology to Enhance Reading: Innovative Approaches to Literacy Instruction, and Wired for learning: An educators guide to Web 2.0.  She is a team member of the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research.


Shelbie Witte, Ph.D. (Doctoral Program Coordinator)

Associate Professor, Secondary Literacy
226 Willard Hall

Shelbie Witte is an associate professor of Adolescent Literacy and English Education and the Kim and Chuck Watson Endowed Chair in Education. Witte is journal co-editor (with Sara Kajder) of NCTE’s Voices from the Middle.  She directs the OSU Writing Project (OSUWP), a site of the National Writing Project, and founded the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research, a think tank of 21st Century Literacies practitioners and researchers dedicated to the implementation and expansion of 21st Century Literacies thinking within PK-16 contexts.  She has received many grant awards focusing on teacher and librarian collaboration and the teaching of writing to adolescents. Prior to joining the faculty at OSU in 2015, she directed the English Education program at Florida State University for seven years and taught middle and high school English for 10 years, where she earned her National Board Certification in EA/ELA and was a finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year in 2008.  She served as co-editor of SIGNAL Journal from 20011 – 2013. She is also an active member of several organizations including National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and National Writing Project (NWP), and was a founding member of the Assembly for Studies in Literacies and Media (SLAM). She serves on the board for the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English (OCTE) and the Stillwater Public Education Foundation (SPEF). Witte has published extensively on the intersections of popular culture and classroom pedagogy, particularly in the integration of young adult literature and technology in the 21st century classroom.

Adam Crawley, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor, Literacy Education
254 Willard Hall

Dr. Adam Crawley’s research interests include culturally diverse children’s literature, censorship, social justice, critical literacy, and technology integration in the elementary language arts classroom. Dr. Crawley particularly explores LGBTQ-inclusive children’s literature and various perspectives (e.g., parents, teachers, administrators, and youth) about its use in elementary schools. His experiences prior to OSU include being a public school teacher in various contexts for twelve years, certified teacher support specialist for pre- and in-service teachers, and assistant for the Georgia Children’s Book Awards and Conference on Children’s Literature. At the national level, Dr. Crawley is a teacher consultant with the National Writing Project and actively involved in the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), Literacy Research Association (LRA), and American Educational Research Association (AERA). Dr. Crawley has received the Research Award from the Children’s Literature Assembly, a Graduate Student Award from the AERA Queer Studies Special Interest Group (SIG), and local fellowships and awards during his doctoral studies at the University of Georgia. His scholarship has been published in Voices from the Middle, The ALAN Review, and the Journal of Children’s Literature, and he and his past elementary students’ work is featured in books including Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer’s Notebook (Buckner, 2005) and How to Write Your Life Story (Fletcher, 2007). More information about Dr. Crawley’s teaching, research, and service is available here.


Sue Christian Parsons, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Literacy Education
253 Willard Hall

Dr. Suzii Parsons’s scholarship reflects a passionate belief that all learners deserve a voice in this world and outstanding teachers to foster their growth. Her research focuses on dialogue as pedagogy, representation of diverse perspectives in literature for children and young adults, and teacher preparation. As the director of the OSU ExCEL program, Dr. Parsons works closely with local elementary schools to provide full-year, closely mentored internships for elementary education teacher candidates. She also facilitates professional development in a variety of public school settings. A strong proponent of full and effective integration of high quality literature in classrooms, Dr. Parsons is the President-Elect of the International Literacy Association Children’s Literature and Reading SIG, and has served on a variety of national book award committees including the ILA Children’s and Young Adult Book Award, the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, and Notable Books for a Global Society. Dr. Parsons has also received a variety of teaching honors including the OSU Regent’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the Mortar Board Golden Torch Award, the College of Education Teaching Excellence Award, and the OSU Outstanding Service-Learning Faculty Award, and OSU Faculty Teaching Fellow.


Jennifer Sanders, Ph.D.

School Head, School of Teaching, Learning and Educational Science
Associate Professor, Literacy Education
252 Willard Hall

Dr. Jennifer Sanders’ academic passions are developing teachers’ knowledge of effective writing instruction and supporting the literacy learning of underserved students in high-needs communities.  Her interest in high-needs educational settings stems from experience teaching in rural, high-poverty schools in Florida and working with urban schools in Oklahoma and Belize.  Her research focuses on writing instruction, writing center pedagogy, teachers’ professional development, and representations of multiculturalism in children’s literature. She has a book in press (Fall 2016) with Teachers College Press on writing center pedagogy titled They’re All Writers!: Teaching peer tutoring in the elementary writing center. Her work in multicultural children’s literature includes service as former chair of the Notable Books for a Global Society 2013 awards, and she currently serves on the Notable Children ‘s Books in the Language Arts committee. Her previous work on the relationship between artistic and written composing processes of children is presented in her co-edited book titled Literacies, the Arts, and Multimodality.  Dr. Sanders also has extensive background in reading assessment and instruction (including a reading endorsement). 


Donita Shaw, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Literacy Education
2424 Main Hall (Tulsa Campus)

Dr. Donita Shaw’s love for literacy began as a young reader and has grown to include supporting the literacy knowledge, beliefs, and skills of aspiring and practicing teachers. With diverse teaching and tutoring experiences, she brings a developmental and balanced perspective to her college classroom. She is actively engaged serving in a variety of positions for Literacy Research Association, International Literacy Association, and Kansas Reading Association.

     Dr. Shaw’s scholarship focuses on three themes. First, she discovers teachers’ literacy beliefs solicited through metaphors; metaphors offer a means by which humans understand life experiences and acquire new knowledge.  Second, she desires to conduct research which makes a meaningful impact on students’ literacy, so she engages in research with classroom teachers employing interventions specifically in alphabetics and word study.  Finally, Dr. Shaw’s passion for adult literacy began when she pursued her master’s degree in reading education and worked at the university reading clinic. Since then through the present she collaborates with adult literacy educators in a variety of settings connecting metaphorical and interventional research through a sociocognitive lens.


Qiuying (Lydia) Wang, Ph.D. 

Professor, Literacy Education
256 Willard Hall

Dr. Qiuying Wang takes cross-cultural and cross-linguistic comparative perspectives on literacy education, examining the literacy development of children from different language backgrounds and from different language learning environments.  She aims to both generate reading theories and enhance reading instruction.  Dr. Wang is a quantitative literacy researcher, and her research mainly focuses on the language and literacy development of English Language Learners (ELLs), Chinese-speaking children, English-speaking children, and bilingual children. She has studied the visual, phonological, morphological, and orthographical processes in vocabulary, word reading, and reading comprehension in these populations as well as a cross-linguistic comparison of the cognitive deficits underlying reading disabilities.  She has also investigated effective early intervention for non-alphabetic language speakers.  Dr. Wang has extensive and diversified teaching experience in the areas of literacy, language acquisition and assessment, learning and cognition, and bilingual education. She is the Director of the Randall and Carol White Reading and Math Center in which undergraduate and graduate literacy students provide low-cost tutoring to children.