Lisa Pelkey

Assistant professor of professional education Lisa Pelkey lectures to her education class March 29. Pelkey was recently appointed to serve on a national organization for teaching and was selected to be on its Standing Committee on Global Citizenship.

One of Northwest’s assistant professors, Lisa Pelkey, has been appointed to serve on a national organization for teaching and was selected to be on its Standing Committee on Global Citizenship.

Pelkey, who has been part of the Northwest faculty since 2019, is an assistant professor of professional education. Before working at Northwest, she earned a doctorate degree at the University of Kansas for curriculum and instruction in literacy.

While Pelkey may spend a lot of her time at the Everett Brown Education Building, she will have a bigger reach than the students she teaches while serving on the National Councils of Teachers of English.

“I was really, super excited,” Pelkey said with a smile. “Because not only is it a way for me to reach out to other countries with literacy, it’s also a way for me to model for my own students that literacy is important outside of the classroom.”

She said her students will see that literacy is much bigger than just school.

“Literacy changes lives,” Pelkey said with a tone of excitement.

Following the announcement of her position on NCTE, Pelkey said she has received nothing but positive messages from others. She said Timothy Wall, the dean of the Northwest School of Education, sent her an email expressing the same excitement, and students have come up and congratulated her.

Wall said Pelkey would be great in this role. He said she has a great passion for literacy and her job.

“I was super proud,” Wall said. “I’m really proud of the work that she does.”

Communications manager for NCTE Abby Herevin said that the organization is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.

Herevin said that for more than 100 years, NCTE has worked with its members to offer journals, publications and resources to further the voice and expertise of educators as advocates for their students at the local and federal levels, and to share lesson ideas, research and teaching strategies through its annual convention and other professional learning events.

NCTE is split up into 16 different committees. The committee that Pelkey serves on has its own set duties like any committee. Pelkey said her committee's job is to focus global literacy for people of all ages, starting at the pre-K level.

When applying to be appointed, Pelkey applied for a different part of NCTE, the Orbis Pictus Award Committee for Children’s Literature. However, she said the council liked her application and thought she would be better on the committee she currently serves.

“They thought it would be a better fit and that I would be able to help more with literacy outreach versus selecting books for awards,” Pelkey said.

To serve on a national organization like NCTE, Pelkey said they want people who have a passion for literacy and global outreach.

“It’s not just about literacy in the United States, but literacy across the world, and ‘How do we ensure and help promote reading for all countries in the world?’” Pelkey said.

Pelkey said that during her application process, the NCTE was looking for someone who was already working with students. She said the organization wanted someone who could impact the students directly.

Less than a month in the position, Pelkey said the committee has already conducted a Twitter chat that had five questions about global citizenship. She said almost 30 people across the globe participated in the post.

Pelkey said that for Northwest, she could see herself bridging her committee work with study abroad opportunities in literacy for students.

“I’ve talked with the study abroad office a couple of times, and now with the selection of this committee, I feel like I really need to get those conversations in action,” Pelkey said.

Wall said it’s an honor for Northwest to be represented on NCTE, especially the Standing Committee of Global Citizenship.

“They’re tackling the toughest challenges of our time,” Wall said.

He said Pelkey would push discussions about the needs of students in literacy and she would learn new techniques on teaching.

Pelkey will serve a three-year term that will end in November 2023 after the NCTE Annual Convention.

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