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Photo of Woodard, Rebecca

Rebecca Woodard, PhD

Associate Professor

Curriculum & Instruction


Building & Room:

1216 ETMSW


1040 W. Harrison St. (MC 147), Chicago, IL 60607

Office Phone:

(312) 996-5499

Related Sites:


Rebecca Woodard's research on writing and writing pedagogy is grounded in sociocultural and critical theories that recognize teaching and learning as not just cognitive, but also social, cultural, and historically- and politically-situated. Utilizing primarily qualitative methods, she examines writing and teaching in k-16 classrooms and professional development settings, as well as out-of-school contexts. Her research has focused on three themes: (a) the broad literate lives of teachers and students; (b) the profoundly social nature of school writing; and (c) teachers’ writing pedagogies and professional development experiences, particularly those that support socio-political orientations. Across these works, she argues that in schools we tend to understand and teach writing in restrictive ways that are misaligned with what we know about writing and learners.

Dr. Woodard's recent research has focused on culturally sustaining writing pedagogies; connected learning pedagogies; and composing and making. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Research in the Teaching of EnglishWritten CommunicationEnglish JournalThe Reading Teacher, and Language Arts.

Selected Publications

Magnifico, A.M., & Woodard, R., & McCarthey, S.J. (2019).  Teachers as co-authors of student writing:  How teachers’ initiating texts influence response and revision. Computers & Composition, 52, 107-131.

Schutz, K., & Woodard, R. (2019).  “The super moon didn’t have a cape!”: Seeing and positioning young children as sense-makers. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 47(2), 2-17.

Woodard, R. (2019). Teacher-writer-crafter-maker: An exploration of how making mattered for one writing teacher. Literacy. Advance online publication. 

Lohnes Watulak, S. C., Woodard, R., Smith, A., Johnson, L., Phillips, N, & Wargo, K. (2018). Connected teaching and learning in K-16 contexts: An annotated bibliography. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 18(2). Retrieved from

Vaughan, A., Woodard, R., Phillips, N., & Taylor K. (2018). Cultivating urban literacies through a pedagogy of spatial  justice. Voices from the Middle, 25(3), 28-31. [Please join the NWP/NCTE April 2019 Marginal Syllabus conversation focused on this article!]

Woodard, R., & Coppola, R. (2018). More than words: Student writers realizing possibilities through spoken word poetry. English Journal, 107(3), 62-67.

McCarthey, S., & Woodard, R. (2017). Faithfully following, adapting or rejecting mandated curriculum: Teachers’ curricular enactments in elementary writing instruction. Pedagogies: An International Journal. Doi:

Woodard, R., Vaughan, A., & Machado, E. (2017).  Exploring culturally sustaining writing pedagogy in urban classrooms. Literacy Research: Theory, Methods, & Practice, 66, 1-17. doi: 10.1177/2381336917719440


Macahado, E., Vaughan, A., Coppola, R., & Woodard, R. (2017) “Lived life through a colored lens”:  Culturally  sustaining poetry in an urban literacy classroom. Language Arts, 94(6), 367-381. 

Notable Honors

2019, Graduate Mentoring Award, UIC Graduate College

2019, Young Alumni Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2017, Teaching Recognition Program, UIC Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


2013 - PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Curriculum & Instruction
2006 - MAT, Pace University, Elementary Education
2004 - BS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Psychology

Research Currently in Progress

Dr. Woodard is honored to be a team member on Young People's Science Theater, a project funded by the university's Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Arts and Humanities, which will enhance and expand an existing partnership between UIC and Chicago neighborhood elementary and middle schools that cultivates young people’s science knowledge through theatrical and embodied ways of learning. In their classrooms, students will explore science topics such as greenhouse gases intertwined with social issues and share their thinking through creative performance. Supported by Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers, and UIC students and faculty in science and in theatre, young people’s performances will showcase their understanding of and passion for science and its relation to the social world, positioning them as leaders of social change.

Becca is also involved with the UIC's College of Education brand new Make Good Lab, a space focused on cultivating innovative teaching and learning experiences that involve making and/or digital media production.