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Christy Wessel Powell
Literacy and Language EducationCurriculum and Instruction
Dr. Wessel Powell’s scholarship focuses on literacy and equity. Her research is rooted in a commitment to understanding and enacting equity in classrooms and communities, through literacy. This scholarship focuses on two intersecting strands of inquiry: (1) elementary literacy: particularly, she studies justice-focused literacy teacher education, and how teachers use critical approaches in reading and writing workshops and media-infused “playshops” in schools as a vehicle for richer, more equitable curricula; and (2) equity advocacy: particularly, she studies the intersections of education reform, media and advocacy, and how these might be leveraged to support teacher and community action toward school equity. These two strands connect because without equitable resources and supportive conditions, rich literacy curriculum is more difficult for teachers to deliver. Dr. Wessel Powell’s research is qualitative, often participatory, and informed by critical, sociocultural, and spatial theories on discourse, multimodality, texts writ broadly, and literacy as meaning-making.
- Ph.D. — Literacy, Culture and Language Education, Indiana University (2017)
- M.A. — Teaching, Elementary Education, cum laude, Dominican University (2007)
- B.A. — Humanities, Literature and Int’l Studies, magna cum laude, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (2004)
- 2017 – present
Assistant Professor, Literacy and Language Education,
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
- 2016 – 2017
Visiting Faculty & Course/Field Coordinator
Student Teaching Supervisor
Ball State University
- 2015 – 2016
Graduate Instructor and Literacy Clinic Coordinator
University of Missouri, St. Louis
- 2014 – 2015
K-5 Literacy Support Coach
Normandy School District
- 2011- 2015
Associate Instructor, Literacy, Culture and Language Education
- 2010 – 2015
Research Assistant, School of Education and Creativity Labs
- 2003 – 2004
House of Representatives’ Democratic Party, Indiana Statehouse
- Dean’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Scholarship (2020)
- Dean’s nomination for “excellent professor” (2017)
- Purdue College of Education Undergraduate Research Assistant (2016-21)
- Wessel-Powell, C., Buchholz, B., Rust, J., Husbye, N.E., and Vander Zanden, S. (2020). The promise of slow reading: Five ways to foster mindful, immersive reading through daily classroom practice. Educational Leadership special issue: “Rooted in Reading,” 77(5), 32-37.
- Wessel-Powell, C., Buchholz, B., and Brownell, C. (2019). Polic(y)ing time and curriculum: How teachers critically negotiate restrictive policies. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 18(2), 170-187.
- Wessel-Powell, C., Liu, Y., and Wohlwend, K.E. (2018). Walking Dead Literacies: Zombies, Boys, and (Re)Animated Storytelling. The Reading Teacher.
- Husbye, N. E., Wessel-Powell, C., Vander Zanden, S., and Karalis, T. (2018). Coaching in Practice-Based Literacy Education Courses: Insights from Three Literacy Education Programs. The Reading Teacher.
- Wessel-Powell, C., Kargin, T. and Wohlwend, K. E. (2016). Enriching and Assessing Young Children’s Storytelling. The Reading Teacher.
- Wessel-Powell, C. (2014). School, Education and Social Action at the Movies: Audience Reactions to Waiting for “Superman”. Teachers College Record 116(3). http://tinyurl.com/p3tfoub.
- Peppler, K., Wessel-Powell, C., Thompson, N., and Catterall, J. (2014). Positive Impact of Arts Integration on Student Academic Achievement in English Language Arts. The Educational Forum 78(4), 364-377. http://tinyurl.com/py65p29.
- Rust, J. and Wessel-Powell, C. (2014). Making the Invisible Visible: White Preservice Teachers Explore Social Inequities with the Critical Web Reader. Working Papers in Literacy, Culture and Language Education 3(1).
- Wessel-Powell, C., and Husbye, N.E. (2013). Mediation Levels in a Preschool Playshop. In K. E. Wohlwend, Literacy Playshop: Playing with New Literacies and Popular Media in the Early Childhood Classroom (44-76). New York: Teachers College Press.
- Skidmore Coggin, L., Wohlwend, K.E., Buchholz, B.E., Wessel-Powell, C. (2013). Expanding Early Childhood Literacy Curriculum Through Play-Based Film-Making and Popular Media. In The ECEA Yearbook, volume 3.
- Husbye, N.E., Buchholz, B.A., Coggin, L.S., Wessel-Powell, C., and Wohlwend, K. E. (2012). “Do you know they’re playing with Legos?” Critical lessons and playful literacies: digital media in PK-2 classrooms. Language Arts, 90(2), 82-92. http://tinyurl.com/o3a4u6s.
Popular Press Publications
- Wessel-Powell, C., Myerson, D. and Hinnefeld, S. (2016). Education that serves all equally. Guest column, The Herald-Times, Bloomington IN. http://tinyurl.com/ju35huj