The JCCL currently has four initiatives that guide our work. The active projects that help us explore and contribute to each initiative are listed below.
1. OUTREACH – Outreach is critical to our mission and focuses on sharing research and practice related to literacy teaching and learning with educators, families, the community, and beyond the borders of the State of Iowa. Dissemination of our original research will occur through ongoing presenting and publishing. Outreach projects will include:
- Project WEBSITE – We will re-brand and re-design the JCCL website in alignment with UNI’s re-branding process. We will also establish a social media presence where we will share information on current and historical research, practice, and policy in literacy education as well as related topics while also using this tool to share JCCL initiatives and opportunities to learn. Also, we intend to create an online resource for innovative teaching practices on our website.
- Project CONNECT – Mentoring others as researchers is critical to the vision and strategic plan so we will enact a multi-layered mentoring plan for faculty, UNI graduate and undergraduate students, and educators. Mentoring opportunities will include a fall guest speaker on literacy research, brown bag mentoring opportunities, the creation of the Jacobson Fellows supporting faculty to research innovative aspects of literacy education, and a library of resources (both print and electronic) to support literacy researchers.
- Young Readers and Writers Conference – This yearly conference will bring 4-5 th graders to campus from across the state of Iowa to share their writing and learn from a variety of authors and illustrators. This conference will also give our undergraduate teacher education majors a chance to interact with a variety of learners from across the state and give the elementary students a chance to get to know the opportunities that are possible for them at the University of Northern Iowa.
2. LITERACY RE-IMAGINED – The literacy profession is looking to the future by questioning the very definition of literacy. Literacy processes and practices continue to be transformed by technology, and our growing understanding of the complexities of learning to read and write, talk and listen, enact and visualize. Two projects to start our work in this initiative:
- Research-Practice Partnerships – Central to the JCCL mission is to generate new knowledge about literacy through research. We are dedicated to creating research-practice partnerships with teachers, schools, families, and other community organizations to explore a broad definition of literacy that can inform our understanding of literacy teaching and learning.
UNI Literacy Scholar Collaborative Network – This website now includes a page dedicated to many of the UNI scholars from across campus that do research related to a broad definition of literacy and how literacy can be re-imagined. Some areas represented include media literacy, health literacy, environmental literacy, civic literacy, science literacy, and more.
3. BECOMING - Teacher learning has been central to the JCCL mission since its beginning 10 years ago. Becoming a teacher and continuing to grow in our understanding of the teaching and learning of literacy is a critical commitment of the JCCL. Two specific projects:
- UNI Literacy Initiative – We will create the UNI Reading Project in the summer of 2021. It will focus on a model of teachers as researchers in their own classrooms. A two-week summer institute will support teacher learning and kick off a research project that each teacher will do during the school year with JCCL support ending with a Share Fair every April.
- UNI Literacy Clinic – The UNI Literacy Clinic is one effort to expand a professional development school model specifically for literacy education. The clinic supports the learning of pre-service and in-service teachers as they tutor school-age children in local school settings. The JCCL will provide organizational and research support to this ongoing initiative.
4. ILLUMINATE – Literacy teaching and learning are dependent on materials for writing and reading and creating environments where this learning can occur. Two specific projects:
- Texts & Technology – This project overlaps with our “Literacy Re-imagined” initiative to explore aspects with a group of teacher researchers about how texts & technology are re-shaping the way we think about literacy teaching and learning.
Provisioning for Literacy Learning – This project will be our focus to create a demonstration space for this work -- an active, ever-changing, evolving space that will be informed and experienced by both pre-service and in-service teachers as well as a location for ongoing research.