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College of Education, Clemson University, South Carolina

Ph.D. Literacy, Language and Culture

The Literacy, Language and Culture Program concentrates on issues related to learning about literacy and language in formal and informal settings such as schools, communities, and families. Some of the issues that can be explored within the Literacy, Language, and Culture program include PreK-12 language and literacy development, biliteracy and bilingualism, sociocultural and literacy theory, PreK-12 writing development and scholarly writing, family literacy, children's literature, and disciplinary literacy. This program provides rich experiences and expertise of faculty and fellow students to provide a student-centered environment in which both groups engage in research, exploration, and inquiry.

The literacy, language and culture Ph.D. program at Clemson University is grounded in research and inquiry, and built on the rich experiences and expertise of its faculty and students who acknowledge the centrality of culture on literacy and language practices. We seek strong applicants with potential and drive to serve as innovative leaders in the field of literacy. Applicants with unique personal and professional experiences and diverse perspectives are expected to engage with and be challenged by faculty and fellow doctoral students.

The program provides in-depth, advanced education to individuals who hold a master’s degree in education and are pursuing careers as researchers and teacher educators at the college and university levels. The Ph.D. in literacy, language and culture prepares knowledgeable and skilled educators who promote equitable and effective instruction to improve literacy and language for students of all ages in a myriad of educational and community contexts.

The program prepares educators and scholars with sophisticated understandings of the relationships among literacy, language and culture, and the ability to use this knowledge to improve learning in in- and out-of-school contexts.

Program graduates will be able to:

  • Review, analyze and synthesize empirical research and theoretical literature in literacy, language and culture.
  • Apply theories and research to policy and current issues in the field.
  • Use knowledge of cultures’ influence on in- and out-of-school language and literacy practices to
    • capitalize on the cultural and linguistic strengths of learners and their families as resources for literacy teaching and learning; and
    • foster relationships with learners, families and communities in ways that honor the culturally specific ways of knowing and being in the world.
  • Analyze the relationships among economic and social inequality and literacy, and language development.
  • Critique and conduct research relevant to language, literacy and culture.

The priority application deadline is January 15. Applicants who wish to be considered for an assistantship should submit a complete application by January 15 in order to be included in the first round of reviews.

If the annual priority deadline is missed, applicants have until April 15 to submit complete applications, but assistantships may not be available during this second round of reviews.

This program only admits for fall terms.

Admission requirements include the following:

  • Minimum of two years teaching experience or the equivalent
  • Master’s degree with a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • A complete application:
    • Unofficial transcripts (Official transcripts will be required if recommended for admission.)
    • Competitive GRE scores
    • Current resume/vita
    • Sample of professional writing
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Letter of intent communicating the following: (a) professional goals, (b) teaching philosophy, (c) research interests and (d) purpose for seeking the doctorate degree
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for applicants whose native language is not English

In addition to the requirements above, meritorious applicants will participate in an on-campus or Skype interview.

Participants are immersed in a culture of intellectual curiosesity aimed at developing the next generation of scholars who will advance knowledge leading to innovative, adaptive and transformative practices in schools and communities. The program focuses on acquisition of deep and critical knowledge of various theoretical perspectives, current data and diverse research methodologies in an effort to further literacy as a means for enhancing personal and social wellbeing. Public, civic and social engagement is expected as a necessary and natural extension of academic scholarship within and beyond the program.

Literacy, Language and Culture Ph.D. (62 credit hours minimum):

  • Core Literacy, Language and Culture courses (9 credit hours)
  • Cognate courses (12 credit hours)
  • Research methods courses (16 credit hours)
  • Departmental doctoral seminar (2 credit hours)
  • Literacy, Language and Culture doctoral seminar (2 credit hours)
  • Teaching internship (3 credit hours)
  • Dissertation (18 credit hours minimum)

In addition, students will:

  • engage in scholarly writing, publication and presentation of research and papers at national and international professional conferences;
  • complete qualifying examinations and/or projects;
  • develop an approved dissertation research proposal; and
  • successfully conduct original research and write and defend a dissertation.

Download the Program Handbook

C.C. BatesCeleste C. (C.C.) Bates, Ph.D.

Bates’s research interests include use of technology in teacher training, classroom management and differentiated reading instruction in the primary grades. Bates is an assistant professor of literacy education, and is also the director of the Reading Recovery® and Early Literacy Training Center for South Carolina.

Mikel ColeMikel Cole, Ph.D.

Cole's areas of interest include English language learners in K-12 settings, preparation of teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students, and the intersection of language policy and practice in schools and classrooms. He is an assistant professor in literacy, language and culture.

Susan Crindland-HughesSusan Cridland-Hughes, Ph.D.

Crindland-Hughes' areas of interest include adolescent literacy; morality-literacy studies, history of literacy, culture and literacy, and English education. She is an assistant professor in English education.

Pamela DunstonPamela J. Dunston, Ph.D.

Dunston’s research focuses on struggling readers, digital literacy, and adolescent literacy and reading motivation. She is an associate professor of literacy education.

Susan King FullertonSusan King Fullerton, Ph.D.

Fullerton’s research interests include strategic reading processes, comprehension instruction, literary response and discussion, struggling learners (including deaf/hard of hearing), and teacher expertise and decision making. She is an associate professor of literacy education.

Anna HallAnna Hall, Ph.D.

Hall’s research interests include early childhood writing instruction and the writing attitudes of teachers and students. She is an assistant professor in early childhood education.

Kathy HeadleyKathy Headley, Ed.D.

Headley’s research interests include adolescent literacy, writing and interdisciplinary specializations in comprehension and vocabulary. She is actively involved in policy development and implementation for literacy improvement. She is Senior Associate Dean for the Division of Collaborative Academic Services in the College of Education and the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences. She is also a professor of literacy education in the College of Education.

Dani Herro.Dani Herro, Ph.D.

Herro's areas of interest include game play and game design in the classroom, digital media and learning, and in-school practices with emerging technologies. She is an assistant professor in digital media and learning.

Jacquelynn MalloyJacquelynn A. Malloy, Ph.D.

Malloy’s current research emphases include learner engagement, particularly as related to instructional design, and discussion as a tool for learning and developing communities of learners – particularly in the content areas. She is also investigating teacher visioning and transformative teaching practices with a focus on equity education. She is enthusiastic about the contribution of formative and design experiments in advancing transformative educational goals.

Jonda McNairJonda C. McNair, Ph.D.

McNair specializes in literature intended for youth with an emphasis on books written by and about African-Americans. Her research interests include African-American children’s literature and politics of children’s literature. She is an associate professor of literacy education.

Phillip WilderPhillip Wilder, Ph.D.

Wilder is an assistant professor in adolescent literacy. He received his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013. While at Illinois from 2007-2013, his work in a school-university partnership through the Center for Education in Small Urban Communities used collaborative practitioner inquiry to design responsive teaching practices, which expand notions of literacy and learning in secondary schools. Now at Clemson, his primary research involves partnering with schools to improve responsive teaching practices and the disciplinary literacies of adolescents.

For more information regarding the program or questions associated with applying to this program, please contact Julie Jones at [email protected] or 864-656-5096.

Information about the program can also be found in the Program Handbook.