I am a former secondary teacher of English and the social studies in urban, international, and rural (Navajo Nation) contexts. My research, teaching, and service are focused on the improvement of educational theory, research, and practice across a wide range of settings.

Key Professional Appointments

ProfessorCurriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011 - present

Associate ProfessorCurriculum & Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003 - 2011

Assistant ProfessorCurriculum & Instruction, University of Houston, 1997 - 1999

Assistant ProfessorCurriculum & Instruction, New Mexico State University, 1994 - 1997


Ph.D., Language and Literacy Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, 1994

M.A., Curriculum Development, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1981

B.A., English and Psychology, Thomas More College, Crestview Hills, KY, 1977

Awards, Honors, Associations

Fulbright Senior Scholar Flex Award, MoroccoFulbright Institute of International Education, 2014 - 2014

Undergraduate Teaching AwardCollege of Education, 2014 - 2014

Visiting ProfessorScientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey, 2014 - 2014

Dean's Prize for Breakthrough Initiatives in TeachingCollege of Education, 2011 - 2011

Research & Service

My research focuses on the improvement of educational research and practice, with a focus on language and literacy education, both domestically and internationally.

Currently, I am a Fulbright senior scholar working in Morocco over the next three years to improve the teaching of English in universities there and to study the informal English learning practices of university students. This project is part of a larger project to compare English language policy, practice, and outcomes in Morocco and South Korea.

I am also engaged in a project to theorize relations across print, images, and sound in multimodal texts, with the goal of improving educational websites and multimedia.

Past projects have included studies of poetry education, the use of social theory in educational research, literacy policy, and literacy in school libraries.


Principal InvestigatorHardie Collaborative Stipend: Religion, Race and Language in Global Context: A Proposal for Collaborative Undergraduate Ethnographic Research, Bureau of Educational Research, 2007 - 2008

Principal InvestigatorUsing Technology to Enhance Achievement in Math, Science, and Literacy: A Middle School-University Partnership, Hewlett-Packard, 2001 - 2003

Principal InvestigatorReading the Lives and Literacies of Disenfranchised, Disaffected Youth, Campus Research Board, 2000 - 2001


Co-EditorResearch in the Teaching of English, National Council of Teachers of English, 2007 - 2013

Chair, Early Career Research Award CommitteeNational Reading Conference, 2006 - 2009

Member, Editoral BoardResearch in the Teaching of English, 2003 - 2008

Area 6 Co-Chair, Adolescent, College, and Adult Literacy ProcessesNational Reading Conference, 2004 - 2006

Book Review EditorJournal of Curriculum Studies, 2002 - 2006


I teach a wide variety of courses at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. At the undergraduate level, I teach courses in the secondary English education program and a course in content area literacy across many content areas. At the masters level, I teach courses in curriculum development and literacy, and at the doctoral level I teach courses in qualitative analysis and writing.

I am equally proud of my work in program development at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and particularly of the study abroad and service learning trips I organize and lead to Spain, Morocco, and the Navajo Nation.


Tchg Diverse Middle Grade Stu Examines the curriculum and philosophy of teaching students in the middle grades. Students will focus on a number of related topics including teaching a diverse middle school student population, including all students in instruction, using technology for teaching middle school English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies and alternative means of assessing students' learning. Seminar content will be integrated with coursework in adolescent development, and special education in middle school settings. Coursework is integrated with a middle grade field experience. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: CI 401 and concurrent enrollment in CI 473 and EPSY 430.

Literacy in Content Areas Provides secondary and K-12 level education majors with principles and practices of effective language and literacy instruction in their content areas, consistent with the Core Language Arts and Content Standards of the Illinois State Board of Education. Course Information: 1 undergraduate hour. 1 graduate hour. Prerequisite: Admission to a teacher education program.

Social Learning and Multimedia Learning in multimodal environments from a social and cultural perspective. Topics include the formation and expression of individual and group identity across multiple contexts, including social networking, online gaming, reality television programs, streamed video, and in online courses. Assignments include both analytic and project-based tasks, with an emphasis on implications for formal learning environments. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

Fundamentals of Curr Develop Examines a variety of definitions of curriculum developments; readings reflect current theories and research related to substantive issues in the field: how learning is influenced by stated goals of education, cultural background of the learners, structure of the school setting, competencies of teachers, psychological characteristics of the learners, and means of measuring student achievement.

Qualitative Research Methods Reviews the principal methodologies used in research on curriculum problems; emphasizes subject-analytical, large-scale survey, experimental, case methods, and clinical studies; emphasizes the conceptual and practical problems in such research.

Qualitative Writing Focuses on analysis of data and writing of qualitative/ethnographic research in educational contexts. Topics include the history of qualitative research practices; approaches to the analysis and interpretation of multiple forms of data, including coding, discourse analysis, text analysis, and structural/post-structural analysis; different styles of qualitative writing; social theory as a framing device; and writing for publication. Provides a theoretically informed but very practical, hands-on approach to qualitative writing for graduate researchers across the broad range of educational and social science contexts. One part of the course focuses on methods of analysis through application, while a second part is designed as a writer's workshop in which students "write up" the data from a study in three narrative styles. Assignments include weekly readings, three short writing assignments, and a more substantial writing project. Advanced graduate standing is useful but not required.

Mark Dressman

Professor, Curriculum & Instruction



316 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Edit Refresh

Refreshing data...please wait