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

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

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

Assistant Professor Curriculum & Instruction, University of Houston, 1997 - 1999

Assistant Professor Curriculum & 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, Morocco Fulbright Institute of International Education, 2014 - 2014

Undergraduate Teaching Award College of Education, 2014 - 2014

Visiting Professor Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey, 2014 - 2014

Dean's Prize for Breakthrough Initiatives in Teaching College 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.


Dressman, M. (2016). Reading as the interpretation of signs. Reading Research Quarterly, 51 (1), 111-136.

Dressman, M. (2015). The paradox of poetry education. Routledge International Handbook of Arts and Education ( pp. 203-211). New York: Routledge.

Dressman, M., Faust, M., & , . (2014). On the teaching of poetry in English Journal, 1912-2005: Does history matter? Journal of Literacy Research, 46 39-67.

Journell, W., Dressman, M., Babock, A., Weatherup, N., & Makhoukh, A. (2013). “Toward technology-mediated transcultural education: Learning from a discussion of politics and culture between American and Moroccan students.”. International Journal of Social Education, 24 (2), 169-192.

Dressman, M. (2013). Beyond disbelief: A confessional tale of religion, technology, and academic conceit. 14 255-274.

Dressman, M., Journell, A., & Mann, J. (2012). Teacher education: Qualitative research approaches. Handbook of qualitative research in education ( pp. 181-194). Cheltenham, Glos, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Dressman, M., & McCarthey, S. (2011). Toward a pragmatics of epistemology, methodology, and other people's theories in literacy research. Literacy research methodologies ( 2nd ed pp. 322-346). New York: Guilford Press.

Dressman, M. (2010). Let's poem: The essential guide to teaching poetry in a high-stakes, multimodal world New York: Teachers College Press.

Dressman, M. (2008). Using social theory in educational research: A practical guide London: Routledge.

Dressman, M. (2007). Theoretically framed: Argument and desire in the production of general knowledge about literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 42 332-363.

Dressman, M. (2006). Teacher, teach thyself: Teacher research as gendered ethnographic practice Ethnography, 7 (3), 329-356.

Wilder, P., & Dressman, M. (2006). New literacies, enduring challenges? The role of capital in adolescent readers' internet practices. Reconceptualizing the literacies in adolescents' lives ( 2nd ed pp. 205-230). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Dressman, M., Wilder, P., & Connor, J. (2005). Theories of failure and the failure of theories: A cognitive/sociocultural/macrostructural study of eight struggling students. Research in the Teaching of English, 40 8-61.

Dressman, M. (2004). Dewey and Bakhtin in dialogue: From Rosenblatt to a pedagogy of literature as social, aesthetic practice. Bakhtinian perspectives on language and literacy education ( pp. 34-52). Cambridge, UK: University Press.

McCarthey, S., & Dressman, M. (2004). Toward a pragmatics of epistemology, methodology, and other people's theories in literacy research. Literacy research methods ( pp. 322-346). New York: Guilford Press.

Dressman, M., & Faust, M. Lessons from the history of poetry education in one journal, 1912-2005: Does history matter? Journal of Literacy Research.


Redesigning English Instruction in Moroccan Universities: Task-Based Learning, Social Networking, and Ubiquitous Technology (2014). Chulalangkorn and Thammasat Universities: Bangkok, Thailand.

Becoming accountable to our students: New approaches to teaching and learning in undergraduate education (2014). Turkish Educational Research Association: Haceteppe University, Ankara, Turkey.

You say you want a revolution?: Qualitative research and the production of general knowledge about education (2014). Near East University: Lefkosa, North Cyprus.

Does history matter? Analyzing the history of poetry education in one journal via three perspectives (2012).

English on the Internet: WebQuests as sites of task-based learning (2012).: Morocco.

Reading the signs: A semiotic analysis of Occupy Wall Street on Al Jazeera and CNN (2012).: Morocco.

What kind of sign is Occupy Wall Street? Toward an integrated model of semiotic analysis for multimodal texts (2012).

Globalization and higher education: An American perspective (2011).: Rabat, Morocco.

(2011). One hundred years of research: A review of research published by NCTE at the elementary, secondary, and college/adult levels (2011).

Morocco: (R)evolutionary exception? (2011).: Urbana, IL.

Social networking in the classroom (2011). University of Illinois College of Education.


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

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

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


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

Chair, Early Career Research Award Committee National Reading Conference, 2006 - 2009

Member, Editoral Board Research in the Teaching of English, 2003 - 2008

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

Book Review Editor Journal 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, a course in content area literacy across many content areas, and a course on social media. At the masters level, I teach courses in curriculum development, social media, 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.


Intro Tchg in a Diverse Societ (CI 401) Orients the student to ways in which English, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies is learned in high school settings. Integrates an introduction to the use of technology as both a tool and a context for teaching and learning. As participants in a series of learning activities, students will reflect on the teaching and learning of English, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies from an inquiry oriented perspective. Coursework is integrated with a high school field experience to connect theory with practice in an examination of research and current trends in English, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies education. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours.

Tchg Diverse Middle Grade Stu (CI 402) 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. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 9 credit hours.

Disciplinary Literacy (CI 473) 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 Illinois Professional Teaching Standards for educator preparation of the Illinois State Board of Education. 2 or 3 undergraduate hours. 2 or 3 graduate hours. Students in music and kinesiology education take for 2 credit hours; students in agriculture, art, mathematics, science, social studies, and English education take for 3 credit hours.

Social Learning and Multimedia (CI 482) 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. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

Navajo Nation Trip (CI 499) Seminar course on topics not treated by regularly scheduled courses; requests for initiation may be made by students or faculty member. 2 to 4 undergraduate hours. 2 to 4 graduate hours. Approved for both letter and S/U grading. May be repeated to a maximum of 8 hours.

Fundamentals of Curr Develop (CI 501) Examines a variety of definitions of curriculum development, from past to present. Course activities use theories and research to frame discussions of substantive issues in the field: how learning is influenced by the stated goals of education; the cultural background of diverse learners; structure of the school setting; competencies of teachers; means of student assessment; and approaches to incorporating technology and 21st Century skills into classrooms. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit.

Qualitative Writing (CI 552) 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.

Dressman, Mark

Professor Emeritus, Curriculum & Instruction



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

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