University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Meet Our Faculty

Byeong-Young Cho Assistant Professor
Byeong-Young Cho is a literacy researcher who seeks theoretical support mainly from perspectives in text comprehension, situated learning, and new literacies. Of particular interest to him is modeling the strategic patterns that readers engage in during critical online reading and inquiry. Through the research, he is exploring a way to inform practice in teaching and assessing new literacy competencies for our children and adolescents.

Patricia Crawford Associate Chair for Department of Instruction and Learning, Associate Professor
Patricia Crawford has appointments in the Early Childhood Education and Language, Literacy, and Culture programs. A former kindergarten and primary grades teacher, she now works with aspiring and practicing educators. Her research situates literacy learning as a social practice and focuses on the ways in which social, emotional, and cultural issues intersect with early literacy, children’s literature, and teacher education.

Richard Donato Chair for Department of Instruction and Learning, Professor
Richard Donato’s research interests include early foreign language learning, language program assessment, sociocultural theory and second language acquisition, the discourse of classroom collaboration, and foreign language teacher education. He received the Modern Language Journal/American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Paul Pimsleur award for his published research in 1997 on early language learning and in 2006 on the connection of language learning to literature instruction in university foreign language classes. He has also received the Northeast Conference Freeman Award (2004) and the French Institute of Washington Award (2003) for his work on dialogic grammar instruction in foreign language classes.

Amanda Godley Associate Professor
Amanda Godley’s research interests center on high school literacy instruction, predominantly in urban schools. Her current research focuses on writing, language and grammar instruction in high schools. In one line of research, she is studying how peer review can help the development of high school students' academic writing across disciplines. In another set of current studies, she explores the design and implementation of language and grammar instruction that builds on the various ways culturally and linguistically diverse students use language in their lives. Her research has been funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education), the National Science Foundation, the American Educational Research Association, and the Spencer Foundation.

Katrina Bartow Jacobs Visiting Assistant Professor
Katrina Bartow Jacobs’ research centers on the integration of sociocultural perspectives of literacy and practitioner research within teacher education programs, particularly those situated within urban contexts. Within this area of research her current work focuses on three related strands: the intersections of literacy practice, theory, and policy; the ways that children are invited (or not) to demonstrate knowledge of texts in literacy classrooms; and the ways that teachers develop, make sense of, and enact reading and writing assessments of their students.

Linda Kucan Associate Professor
Linda Kucan’s research interests focus on comprehension and learning from text—particularly informational text. She investigates discussion as a context for comprehension instruction as well as the role of tasks in mediating student learning from text. She is also interested in vocabulary development and instructional approaches to support students in acquiring academic vocabulary and using that knowledge for reading and writing.

Michael Lovorn Assistant Professor
Michael Lovorn's research interests include best practices and curriculum development in secondary social studies education, historiographical analysis of content and community, teaching and learning in international/intercultural learning environments, and humor in the classroom. Mike earned a PhD in social studies education from the University of Tennessee in 2003. Prior to the completion of this degree, he taught various secondary social studies classes at culturally and economically diverse public schools in Tennessee and Georgia. Mike is currently serving as president of the National Social Studies Supervisors Association.

Emily Rainey studies disciplinary literacy practices, disciplinary literacy teaching, and literacy teacher education. Two big questions guiding her work are 1) What does it mean to teach secondary students to read, write, and learn within and across the many discourse communities of their lives, including the academic disciplines? and 2) How do we best prepare the next generation of middle and high school classroom teachers to support adolescents’ sophisticated literacy learning? Emily is especially committed to improving the quality of literacy instruction in typically underserved school and community contexts.
Veronica Sardegna Visiting Assistant Professor
Veronica Sardegna’s research focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of using learning strategies and instructional technology tools for second and foreign language learning and teaching in the areas of English pronunciation and culture learning. She also examines the effects of teaching interventions on the development of English language learners’ (ELLs) oral and written skills and intercultural sensitivity. She received a Research Priorities Award (2014-2015) from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) for her research on pre-service foreign language teachers’ intercultural development through telecollaboration. She is currently serving as the Chair of the Speaking, Pronunciation, and Listening Interest Section (SPLIS) of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association.