About Leif Gustavson

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Faculty. Leif

I’m the Dean of the College of Education and a Professor at Pacific University. While not strategically planning with my insanely talented faculty and staff, I teach courses that explore literacy, the design of meaningful learning environments, how improvisation informs teaching and learning, and ethnographic methods. My research focuses on three areas: the creative practices of youth and how the ways in which youth learn every day can inform and influence pedagogy; the intersection of improvisation, teaching, and learning; and how teachers find permission to take risks in their teaching.

This research has found its way into some publications: The Journal of Children’s Literature and Field Methods, to name a few. I have  also recently presented papers at University of Pennsylvania’s Ethnography Forum, the American Educational Research Association,  as well as the Annual Conference for Middle Level Education. In 2008 I published my first book, Youth Learning On Their Own Terms, through Routledge.

A while ago now – 2003! – I had the amazing opportunity to assist in developing and coordinating a study abroad program for first year students attending Arcadia University. 60 plus students and I explored London through a cross-cultural mini-course and a project-based composition course that positioned the students as writers in the world that is London. More recently, I have had the privilege of working with several schools on reconceptualizing ELA curriculum to be writing-based.

I have a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in Reading, Writing, and Literacy, a master’s degree in Literature from the Bread Loaf School of English, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Franklin and Marshall College.

Away from Pacific, I tromp through the woods with our unpredictable Aussie; eagerly await the next Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, or Serie A match; convince my family yet again that we should make carnitas, bask in my kids’ myriad interests, and seek my wife’s sage advice. All in a good day’s work!