Seven New Faculty Members Join Education at Illinois

by College of Education at Illinois  /   Aug 22, 2019

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The College of Education welcomes seven new faculty this fall, across multiple areas of expertise. These scholars will contribute to the College’s robust research culture and develop important scholarship around learner-centered pedagogy, educational equality, clinical psychology, ESL and bi-lingual education, and increasing STEM educational opportunities and equity for underserved communities.

Introducing the Fall 2019 Faculty Hires

Curriculum & Instruction

tissenbaum-sizedCatherine Dornfeld Tissenbaum
Assistant Professor

Dr. Dornfeld Tissenbaum completed her doctorate in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on Learning Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the ways in which classrooms and museums support learning collaboration. In her research, Dr. Dornfeld Tissenbaum analyzes the dynamics of social interactions in learning contexts and looks for evidence of knowledge co-construction and learner-center pedagogy. Her primary aims are to help teachers adopt learner-centered pedagogical practices; to help parents capitalize on “learning moments” in museums; and to help museums become inclusive community spaces. She looks forward to collaborating with critical theory experts in the College of Education to further address social factors that shape collaboration and learning.

ybarra-sizedMonica Gonzalez Ybarra
Assistant Professor

Dr. Gonzalez Ybarra is a proud University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign alumna. She completed her undergraduate degrees at Illinois in Latina/Latino Studies and Spanish in 2011. She then earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Utah, in 2013, and the University of Colorado Boulder, in 2018, respectively. She is a former Cultivating New Voices Fellow through the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and was a recipient of the AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship. Gonzalez Ybarra’s teaching and work with bilingual pre-service and in-service teachers seeks to create opportunities for transformative educational experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. She is committed to working with educators, students, and community members to collectively to re-imagine and build educational spaces and opportunities for youth and communities of color.

negrette-sizedGiselle Martinez Negrette
Assistant Professor

Dr. Martinez Negrette completed her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spring 2019. She is an expert in bilingual/ESL education, sociolinguistics, and educational policy studies. She has worked as a language teacher in several different regions including Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Her research interests are centered on issues of language, equity, and social justice, particularly in relation to the schooling of linguistically and culturally diverse children in the United States and other regions of the world. Her research focus has led her to conduct research examining language and education in Latin America, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Australasia. In her most recent work, Dr. Martinez Negrette investigates how emergent bilinguals in dual language immersion (DLI) programs perceive, enact, and negotiate the tenuous intersections of race, ethnicity, social class position, and language in American school settings. Her work has been recognized nationally and locally by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, and the Morgridge Center for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Educational Psychology

khuri-sizedLydia Khuri
Clinical Associate Professor

Dr. Khuri received her doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology-Chicago and has maintained a part-time independent practice for over 20 years in Champaign-Urbana. Dr. Khuri joins Counseling Psychology with more than 15 years of Illinois experience in the Housing Department’s multicultural and STEM living-learning communities and the University’s Counseling Center, where she provided clinical services and facilitated experiential social justice education courses.



Nidia Ruedas-Gracia-sizedNidia Ruedas-Gracia
Assistant Professor

Dr. Ruedas-Gracia received her doctorate in Developmental and Psychological Science from Stanford University in 2019. Her research explores sociocultural factors that impact academic performance and psychological development of historically marginalized students. Currently, she is examining how diverse cultures and students across the developmental spectrum experience a sense of belonging in various contexts and how sense of belonging impacts important life outcomes. Dr. Ruedas-Gracia hopes to utilize findings from her work to inform and develop culturally-sustaining interventions for historically marginalized students such as first-generation and/or low-income students.

Bosch-sizedNigel Bosch
Assistant Professor

Dr. Bosch completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Notre Dame and most recently served as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) on the Urbana campus. He joins the College in a joint appointment with the School of Information Sciences. His research employs statistics and machine learning to model emotion, engagement, and learning, with a special focus on the fair treatment of students who are members of underrepresented groups. Bosch’s work has included automatic emotion detection from facial expressions, measurement of emotion during computer programming education, and other topics related to learning and affective computing.

Special Education

hardy-sizedJessica Hardy
Assistant Professor

Dr. Hardy received her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education from Vanderbilt University and her M.Ed. and B.A. from the University of Florida.  Before arriving at Illinois, she taught in Portland, Oregon as a Head Start and early childhood special education teacher. Dr. Hardy’s primary research interests are evidence-based instructional practices, particularly for teaching early math and science, and early childhood coaching and professional development. 

Please join us in welcoming these new faculty to the College!