Dr. Wendy Gardiner

Sharing her passion in literacy with future teachers

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines literature as a, “body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age.” However for Dr. Wendy Gardiner it means so much more. Literacy is Dr. Gardiner’s passion; she believes it is important for everyday life. She comments that, “it is a foundational piece, in order to participate in a democratic society, and to to cultivate interests. It also allows you to navigate barriers”; “More broadly, literacy allows us to engage in constructive and informed dialogue.”

Dr. Gardiner’s passion for sharing literature has only grown throughout her career. For ten years she taught kindergarten through third grade in the Chicago Public Schools. Following this she became a faculty member in the Reading and Language Program at National Louis University in Chicago and a faculty member at Otterbein University specializing in early literacy and children’s literature. In addition to her experience in the classroom, Dr. Gardiner has been an active member in the American Education Research Association (AERA), the Literacy Research Association (LRA), and the International Literacy Association (ILA).

When Dr. Gardiner and her husband moved from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Gardiner felt that it was important to find a new position with a University that shared her same values, “I wanted to enjoy my work and who I would work with.” As Dr. Gardiner went through the process she found that PLU stood out in more than one way. She discovered that PLU was recently funded by the Gates Foundation to support study away, in addition to this many of the education faculty included Fulbright scholars from multiple backgrounds, and on campus there were multiple organizations that promoted and reflected diversity and these organizations were being promoted by the University. With this knowledge, Dr. Gardiner joined PLU as a faculty member in the education department in the fall of 2016.

As a faculty member at PLU Dr. Gardiner teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes. For the graduate level Dr. Gardiner teaches elementary literacy methods courses. In 2016 she had three peer-reviewed publications, and more recently in 2017 published an article in The New Educator. These publications focus on providing scaffolded, individualized coaching to new teachers in high-need, hard-to-staff schools.