The Borg Center offers professional development on a range of literacy topics for educational institutions who serve pre-K through high school learners. Our services are site-based and collaborative. We will work with you to design a structure and develop content that will meet your professional development goals.
Our professional development providers are School of Teaching and Learning faculty who have a wide range of expertise in literacy teaching and learning. Browse the topics for which we offer professional development and read about our professional development providers below.
Contact Dr. Deborah MacPhee, Director of the Borg Center, for your professional development needs.
Lara J. Handsﬁeld completed her Ph.D. in language and literacy at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2005. She is currently Professor of Elementary, Literacy, and Bilingual Education in the School of Teaching and Learning at ISU, and teaches language and literacy methods courses for teacher candidates, and graduate courses in curriculum theory and theoretical foundations of literacy. A former bilingual fourth grade teacher in Providence, Rhode Island, Lara’s research focuses on literacy instruction in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms, classroom discourse, and teachers’ negotiations of multiple political and pedagogical demands in their teaching. Her research has been published in a variety of professional and academic journals, and her 2016 book, Literacy Theory as Practice: Connecting Theory and Instruction in K–12 Classrooms, was published by Teachers College Press.
Courtney Hattan earned her reading specialist degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2012 and her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Maryland in 2018. Dr. Hattan has worked as an elementary and middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in Baltimore city and rural North Carolina. Her research interests include text comprehension and cognitive reading strategies, with a focus on prior knowledge activation and relational reasoning.
Grace Kang is an assistant professor of Elementary Literacy Education. She teaches literacy courses and conducts research in the School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University that focus on reading and writing workshops, Culturally Relevant Pedagogies, and negotiation of scripted curriculum. She has a wealth of teaching experience in the K-6 grade levels as a K-1 classroom teacher, 5-6 classroom teacher, reading specialist, and enrichment specialist in linguistically, culturally, and racially diverse environments.
Dr. Erin Quast
Erin Quast is an Assistant Professor of Elementary Literacy at Illinois State University. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Erin was an early childhood teacher in Washington, DC and a Family Resource Director and District School Readiness Liaison for Windsor, CT. In 2008, Erin received her school’s Teacher of the Year Award and in 2012, she received Staff Member of the Year. Her research focuses on students’ experiences in schools and how classroom literacy practices shape those experiences. She is interested in understanding how meaningful literacy experiences can increase engagement by providing opportunities for students to relate to one another differently. Erin’s work has been published in Journal of Early Childhood Literacy and The Reading Teacher.
Dr. Sherry Sanden
Sherry Sanden is Associate Professor of early childhood literacy at Illinois State University. In the past she has worked as a first-grade, second-grade, and Head Start teacher and as a child care director. Her research interests include links between student literacy growth and teachers' inclusion of children's literature and literacy-related activities in classroom contexts. She regularly teaches pre-service and in-service teachers through university literacy courses as well as through district- and program-contracted workshops and in conference presentations. She is especially interested in supporting new and experienced teachers in thinking about ways to create classroom experiences that enable children’s joyful and purposeful growth into reading and writing and in viewing language and literacy as life activities and not just as school tasks.