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Biography and Career Highlights

I began my career as an elementary and a middle-school teacher during the 1970s. After receiving my doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1983, I accepted a position in the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University. In 1985 I moved to the University of Georgia where I was a faculty member for 19 years in the Department of Reading Education, serving 10 years as Head of that Department. Subsequently, I was a Distinguished Professor of Education at Clemson University for 14 years. In 2011-12 I was invited to spend a sabbatical year as a Visiting Distinguished Professor in the College of Education at  Johns Hopkins University.


From 1994 to 2000, I served as editor of the Journal of Literacy Research and from 2001 to 2005 as co-editor of Reading Research Quarterly, both top-tier, rigorously peer-reviewed research journals in the field. I was also lead editor for the Handbook of Literacy and Technology, which was awarded the Edward B. Fry Award by the National Reading Conference and given special recognition by the American Library Association.


I have served as President (duties from 2007-11) of the National Reading Conference (now the Literacy Research Association), a leading professional organization for literacy researchers.  In 2008, I was inducted into into the Reading Hall of Fame associated with the International Reading Association (now the International Literacy Association), and in 2005 I received  the College Reading Association's A.B. Herr Award for contributions to reading education.


My research has been supported by substantial federal funding. For example, from 1992-1997 I was a principal investigator at the National Reading Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education ($7.6 million). From 2005-2008, I was a co-principal investigator for a project investigating adolescents’ reading comprehension on the Internet, also funded by the Department of Education through the Institute of Education Sciences ($1.7 million).


The scope of my work has been international. Most notably, each May-June between 2000 and 2012, I led groups of American pre-service teachers in a cross-cultural experience that included working  with teachers and students in Italian schools and living with Italian host families. That program received the 2009 Andrew Heiskell Award in the study abroad category from the Institute of International Education. My work in Italy led to a visiting professorship at the Università degli Studi della Tuscia in Viterbo, Italy during 2013. From 2007 to 2013, I served on a panel convened yearly in Singapore by the Ministry of Education to evaluate grant proposals for educational technology projects. During the same period, I conducted lectures and worked with colleagues in Bogota and Medellìn, Colombia. I have been funded by the British government as a visiting scholar and have given invited keynote talks and lectures in Italy, Finland, Colombia, and the Netherlands.


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