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Program Contact

Carl Young
Program Leader, Literacy & English Language Arts Education
Associate Professor, English Education
cayoung2@ncsu.edu
919.757.3676
Program Contact

Irene Armstrong
Graduate Student Services Specialist
irene_armstrong@ncsu.edu
919.515.3221

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Program: Teacher Education and Learning Sciences

Program Area of Study: Literacy and English Language Arts Education (LELA)


in Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences (TELS)
Delivery Method: On Campus

The Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences Literacy and English Language Arts (LELA) Education program area of study is designed for individuals with interests in literacy, reading, new literacies, and English education research, scholarship, and teacher preparation. The program area of study prepares students for roles as teacher educators and researchers in higher education or instructional leadership roles at school, district, and state levels, or education-related private industry. Individuals seeking admission to this program should have a strong background in this concentration and a desire to conduct original research in these fields.

Please note: If you are interested in applying for this program area of study, please use the Apply Now button. If you have any questions, please contact either Dr. Carl Young, or the Director of Graduate Programs for the Ph.D., Dr. Meghan Manfra.

Program Area of Study Description

Students are expected to take initiative in their studies to read and master material beyond the specific readings and activities required in coursework. Students will work closely with faculty members through a sequence of experiences leading to greater research independence as their roles change from students to colleagues over the course of their graduate programs.

The program area of study is built on foundations of research and application and is composed of three strands:

  • Content area specialization
  • Research
  • Preparation for professional roles

Students must complete specified coursework and experiences in the Literacy and English Language Arts Education program area of study and in research. In addition, the doctoral student must participate in specified common courses and seminars that serve as a core for the doctorate in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences. These activities enable the doctoral student to develop expertise in college teaching, research, supervision and other areas of knowledge and skill deemed appropriate by the student and doctoral advisory committee.

For more detailed information on the program, interested candidates may consult the  Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences LELA Program Area of Study Handbook.

Course of Study

All doctoral degrees in the College of Education require a minimum of 72 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Most doctoral programs in the College of Education require a minimum of 60 graduate credit hours beyond an approved master’s degree.

Our LELA PAS Faculty

Chandra Alston
Assistant Professor
English Language Arts Education
calston3@ncsu.edu

Sarah Cannon
Teaching Assistant Professor
English Language Arts Education
edTPA Coordinator
secannon@ncsu.edu

Dennis Davis
Associate Professor
Literacy Education
ddavis6@ncsu.edu

Michelle Falter
Assistant Professor
English Language Arts Education
mfalter@ncsu.edu

Jill Grifenhagen
Assistant Professor
Literacy Education
jfgrifen@ncsu.edu

Jill Jones
Teaching Assistant Professor
Literacy Education
jsjones7@ncsu.edu

Crystal Chen Lee
Assistant Professor
English Language Arts Education
cchen32@ncsu.edu

Carol Pope
Professor Emeritus
English Language Arts Education
carol_pope@ncsu.edu

Ruie Pritchard
Professor Emeritus
English Language Arts Education
ruie_pritchard@ncsu.edu

Jackie Eunjung Relyea
Assistant Professor
Literacy Education
jrelyea@ncsu.edu

Hiller Spires
Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Friday Institute
Professor
Literacy Education
hiller_spires@ncsu.edu

Angela Wiseman
Associate Professor
Literacy Education
angela_wiseman@ncsu.edu

Carl Young
Associate Professor
English Language Arts Education
cayoung2@ncsu.edu

Our Affiliated Faculty

John Nietfeld
Professor
Educational Psychology
john_nietfeld@ncsu.edu

Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  • 3.0 grade point average or higher at the Master’s level
  • Completed application to the NC State Graduate School
  • Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related health, economic, and social challenges, GRE test scores are waived for applicants applying for all graduate programs in the College of Education for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. Read more about this decision.
  • 3–5 years teaching experience at the K–12 level in literacy, reading, English language arts or related areas (preferred)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose, including research interest
  • Writing Sample (Master’s thesis if applicable)

Additional Information

A Unique Research Context

A unique feature of our doctoral focus in literacy is the dynamic context in which we conduct our work. The LELA program area of study faculty conducts research in a variety of areas, including: an analysis of teaching English Language Arts in the digital age; digital literacies; professional development of literacy educators; writing and technology; game-based learning as literacy; using children’s literature and media literacy to respond to cyberbullying; innovative vocabulary instruction for preschool-aged children; coaching practices that lead to changes in literacy teacher behavior; research associated with the Disciplinary Literacy MOOC; study abroad; etc.

Our program area of study includes a network of strong relationships with local public schools, such as Elementary Education field partnerships, collaboration with students and teachers at Centennial Campus Middle School, and Wake STEM Early College High School. Connections to the public schools help to foster interdisciplinary field-based research projects, which provide opportunities for our doctoral candidates to work with faculty in mentored research initiatives.

One of our program’s most dynamic assets is the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, a state-of-the-art facility launched by the College of Education in 2005 that is physically connected to Centennial Campus Middle School. Doctoral students in the Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences Literacy and English Language Arts program area of study have opportunities to collaborate on projects connected to the Friday Institute. The Friday Institute is located on NC State’s Centennial Campus, an innovative environment where close to 60 corporate and government organizations and business incubators thrive in partnership with faculty and students. The Friday Institute’s location and mission capitalize on NC State’s long history of engagement in university and business partnerships, and its leadership role in economic development. The Institute works with school districts in rural North Carolina to extend access to technology for the development of innovative teaching and learning applications as well as schools internationally. Cross-sector collaboration among education, government and private industry has been a cornerstone of the Friday Institute since its inception.

Please note: If you are currently enrolled in a master’s degree program in our College of Education and are interested in pursuing a Ph.D., you must formally apply to the program through the Graduate School.

Current Doctoral Students

Michael Anderson
From: Raleigh, NC
Research Interests: Visual literacy, critical theory, curricular theory
Advisor: Dr. Michelle Falter

Sarah Dawson
From: Raleigh, NC
Research Interests: Writing, Teacher Identity, Linguistic Diversity, Trauma-informed Practices
Advisor: Dr. Angela Wiseman

Caitlin Donovan
From: Durham, NC
Research Interests: Writing Instruction, Multiliteracies, Digital Communities, Teacher Preparation
Advisor: Dr. Carl Young

Jessica Eagle
From: Statesville, NC
Research Interests: Emotion, Motivation, and Engagement in ELA, Writing Instruction, and Sub-Screenic Literacies
Advisor: Dr. Michelle Falter

Laura Jacobs
From: Bethesda, MD
Research Interests: Multiliteracies, Social Emotional Learning in ELA, Social Justice Education, Representation in Classroom Texts, and Teacher Education
Advisor: Dr. Carl Young

Jennifer Mann
From: Youngsville, NC
Research Interests: Critical Literacy, Marginalized Students
Advisor: Dr. Crystal Lee

Ha Nguyen
From: Vietnam
Research Interests: Professional development, MOOC, assessment and evaluation, technology, and educational policies
Advisor: Dr. Jill Grifenhagen

Shannon Russell
From: Garner, NC
Research Interests: Early Literacy Acquisition, Literacy Coaching, Novice Teachers
Advisor: Dr. Jill Grifenhagen

Courtney Samuelson
From: Fayetteville, NC
Research Interests: Literacy Intervention, Reading Comprehension, Critical Theory, Instructional Coaching
Advisor: Dr. Carol Pope and Dr. Dennis Davis

Nina Radakovic Schoonover
From: Charlottesville, VA
Research Interests: Arts-integration, Arts-based Pedagogies, Visual Literacies, and Multiliteracies in Secondary (6-12) English Education
Advisor: Dr. Michelle Falter

Lili Wang
From: China
Research Interest: Technology Integration in Language Classes, Media Literacy, Bilingual Education, Project-Based Learning
Advisor: Dr. Hiller Spires

Recent Graduates:

Ashley Atkinson (2021), (Chair, Angela Wiseman)
Dissertation title: Woven through the day: An Examination of Trauma-Informed Practice Integration in Middle Grades ELA Classrooms

Donna Hawkins (2021), (Chair, Angela Wiseman)
Dissertation: Creativity Time: A Case Study of Adolescent Multidimensional Composition

Janet Outlaw (2021), (Chair, Jill Grifenhagen)
Dissertation: Rural Elementary Teachers’ Perceptions and Enactments of Dialogic ELA Comprehension Instruction Amidst Pandemic-Induced Remote Learning

Justin Richards (2020), (Chair, Angela Wiseman)
Dissertation: Teaching Hip Hop in the “Burbs: Using Self-Study Teacher Research to Reveal a Secondary ELA Teacher’s Role IMplementing Hip Hop Pedagogy in the Classroom

Mark Spring (2020), (Chairs, Angela Wiseman & Ruie Pritchard)
Dissertation: Teaching a Practical Philosophy of Mind: A Pragmatic ELA Curriculum Model

Nermin Vehabovic (2020), (Chair, Angela Wiseman)
Dissertation: A Community Classroom as “Our Home” for Children and Youth Resettled as Refugees and Tutors: Three Essays on Language and Literacy Practices in a Transcultural and Translingual Space

Dr. Tanesha Faye Hendley Ashe (2017), (Chair, Carl Young).
Dissertation: Practices and beliefs that influence African American students’ success in English language arts classrooms: A qualitative case study.

Dr. Michael Shane Fletcher (2016, December), 6th grade teacher, Lumberton, NC.
AERA Middle Grades SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2017. Shane received the 2017 AERA Middle Grades SIG Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research ($250.00).
Dissertation: Finding their voices: A narrative inquiry of sixth-grade Lumbee males who struggle with reading

Dr. Shea Kerkhoff (2016), Visiting Assistant Professor, College of Education, Purdue University. NC State Graduate Research Symposium, 1st place winner for College of Education; William Friday Research Fellowship recipient, $8000. Shea received the 2016 NC State Graduate Research Symposium Award, First place winner for the College of Education ($500.00); 2015 William Friday Research Fellowship Award ($8000); finalist for the International Literacy Association for the Outstanding Dissertation Award for 2017.
Dissertation: Designing Global Futures: A mixed methods study to develop and validate the teaching for global readiness scale.

Dr. Christine Christianson (2015), (Co-Chairs, Ruie Pritchard and Angela Wiseman), Assistant Professor, Ferrum College.
Dissertation: Adolescent authors: A case study of one urban high school English teacher’s memoir-writing and publishing curriculum.

Dr. Erin Culpepper (2015), (Chair, Hiller Spires; Co-chair, Kristin Conradi), IT Specialist, Franklin County.
Dissertation: Exploring teachers’ beliefs about reading standards: A Q-methodology study.

Dr. Sonya Massengill (2015), (Chair, Carl Young), Department Chair & High School English Teacher, Wake Christian Academy.
Dissertation: High school writing experiences, writing self-efficacy, and composing from multiple sources: A mixed methods study.

Dr. Melissa Pendleton (2015), (Chair, Angela Wiseman), Assistant Professor, Western Kentucky University.
Dissertation: Text-Based Discussions in a Racially Diverse, Lower-Tracked Fifth Grade Classroom.

Dr. Melissa Bartlett (2014), (Chair, Hiller Spires), High School English Teacher, Person County. CED Dissertation Proposal Award, 2013.
Dissertation: High school students reading informational texts: A comparison of written and video response modalities.

Dr. Clarice Moran (2014), (Chair, Carl Young), Assistant Professor, English Education, Appalachian State University
Dissertation: Changing paradigms: A mixed methods study of flipping the English language arts classroom.

Dr. Meghan Liebfreund (2014), (Chair, Kristin Conradi; Co-chair, Hiller Spires), Assistant Professor, Towson University
Dissertation: Success with information text comprehension: An examination of underlying factors.
2015 IRA Outstanding Dissertation Award

Dr. Naomi Kraut (2013), (Chair, Carl Young), Instructor, NC State University College of Education
Dissertation: What it means to feel prepared to teach: A mixed methods investigation into preservice English language arts teachers’ perceptions of preparedness.

Dr. Meixun Zheng (2012), (Chair, Hiller Spires), Adjunct Faculty, University of the Pacific.
NCSU Graduate School Research Award, 1st Place for College of Education.
2013 Outstanding Dissertation Award for Middle Grades SIG, AERA.
Dissertation: Fifth graders’ flow experience in a game-based science learning environment.

Dr. Lisa Hervey (2011), (Chair, Hiller Spires), Research Associate, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.
CED Dissertation Proposal First Place Award; NCSU Graduate School Research Award, 2nd Place Finalist for College of Education.
Dissertation: Between the notion and the act: Veteran teachers’ TPACK and practice in 1:1 settings.