Dr. Steve Mertens is a Professor in the School of Teaching & Learning. He earned his PhD from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1994, and he has been with Illinois State University since 2008. In 2019, he was the recipient of the Vincent A. Anfara Jr. Outstanding Research Award from the American Educational Research Association Middle Level Special Interest Group (AERA SIG). His research in middle level education has resulted in 45 publications and 63 conference presentations to date. His research has been cited over two thousand times, according to Google Scholar. Dr. Mertens has co-directed many national and international research projects, and he has served as a mentor, consultant, and co-author for many scholarly endeavors within the College of Education. In addition, he is sought out by many doctoral students who wish to complete their dissertations in the area of middle level education because of his vast knowledge and expertise.
Dr. Lara Handsfield is a Professor in the School of Teaching & Learning. She earned her PhD from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and she has been with Illinois State University since 2005. She was awarded the Outstanding College Researcher Award in the College of Education in 2018. Her primary research areas focus on multilingualism and multimodal literacy practices; discourse and positioning in literacy instruction; and theoretical and methodological issues in language and literacy research. Her research strands have resulted in 22 peer reviewed journal articles and 20 conferences. Dr. Handsfield’s work in the area of theoretical and methodological issues in language and literacy has made a tremendous impact in her field of study and with the students she teaches.
Dr. Courtney Hattan is an Assistant Professor in the School of Teaching & Learning. She earned her PhD from the University of Maryland in 2018, and she began her career at Illinois State University that same year. Her research focus includes the intersection of background knowledge and text comprehension, and the identification and creation of effective techniques that promote learning. Her research strands fill gaps in educational research that would not have otherwise been filled. In 2019 she was the recipient of the International Literacy Association Timothy & Cynthia Shanahan Outstanding Dissertation Award. Since joining Illinois State University, Dr. Hattan has been active in the area of scholarship, resulting in seven peer reviewed publications, two book chapters, four regional conference presentations, nine national or international conference presentations, and three workshops. It is evident that her impact on the field of literacy education is only just beginning.