Marlene Meisels, PhD

Associate Professor of Reading, Language and Literacy

Program Leader

College of Graduate and Innovative Programs

Dr. Meisels teaches graduate courses in literacy, with a special interest in whole school improvement at Concordia University Chicago. She currently teaches master's and doctoral level literacy classes for classroom teachers and administrators including Policies and Politics of Reading, Research in Literacy and Multiliteracies, and Studies in Literacy and Multiliteracies. Her areas of research include effective schools, whole school improvement, teacher development and writing difficulties related to language. Dr, Meisels began teaching at Concordia University Chicago in 2008. 

She previously served as Senior Advisor in Literacy and Leadership Development for a nationally recognized school improvement organization. While there, Dr. Meisels worked with Chicago schools using literacy as a catalyst for whole school change, building school-based problem-solving teams with Local School Councils, teachers and principals. She has conducted program evaluation for non-profit literacy-based organizations, helping assess the impact of instructional practices and curriculum on students, and translates research on effective schools to a wide audience. The Ohio Department of Education adopted an effective schools resource guide, which she co-authored. She previously served as managing editor of The High School Journal and on the editorial board of The Reading Teacher


  • PhD, Literacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • MEd, English Language Learners, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago.
  • BA, Philosophy, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago.  

Academic and Professional Highlights


  • Leadership for Quality Education/ Chicago Community Trust Charter School Tour Grant, 2004
  • University of North Carolina Student Conference Grant, 1994

Selected Publications:

  • "What does It Take? Challenges Facing Female Doctoral Students," (working title) In Terri Mozingo (Ed.) 2016 expected.
  • "I Could Have Done More," (Submitted for review.) 2012.
  • "Stuck in the Mud: Why is it so Difficult to Impact Social Change Using Museum Exhibits," (Unpublished.) Goldman, M., 2005.
  • “Dangerous Harmonies: The Memoir of Harold Coletta.” Edited by Meisels, BookSurge Publishers, 2005.
  • “Is Writing Really Good for you? A Short Exploration into the Connections Between Writing and Learning.” The English Record, Spring 2002.
  • “All Our Kids can Learn to Read. Building a School Community that Reads.” 2002.
  • “Schooling in America: Cases, Studies and Comment.” Edited by Meisels, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 2000.
  • “Rethinking Retention to Help all Students Succeed, a Resource Guide: 8 Strategies that Educate our Children Effectively Without Social Promotion or Retention.” Designs for Change, 1998.
  • “Sympathy for the Fleas.” Utne Reader, July-August, 6 (editorial). Dowdy, J.P., et al., 1995.
  • “On Walking Tightropes and Juggling: Teachers Talk about a New State Reading Test.” In A.L. Heining-Boynton and G.T. Garvey (Eds.), International Conference on Standards and Assessment: Report, (pp.13-28) Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.,1995. 
  • “Some Reflections on the Use of Computer Technology: A Position for Developmental Educators.” Research & Teaching in Developmental Education, 11, 101-109, 1993.
  • “Piaget.” Encyclopedia of Rhetoric, Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993.
  • “Issues in Facilitating Learning: New Directions for Changing Times.” (with Swinton, J.R., & Agopsowicz, W.M.) MCLCA White Papers, 2, 1-30, Chicago, 1988. 
  • “Read and Respond.” (M. Meisels et al. Editorial Advisory Board.) Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company.

Selected Presentations:

  • “Promising Literacy Practices. Investigating Teacher Rationales for Comprehension Strategy Instruction.” Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers; Omaha, Neb., 2010.
  • “Untangling the Web: An Analysis of Comprehension Objectives in Masters of Reading Practicum Lesson Plans Revisited.” Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers; Charlotte, N.C., 2009. 
  • “Early Childhood Literacy Development: Using Informal Learning Environments to Build Reading Skills.” Community Partnership Program; Chicago Public Schools, 2005. 
  • “Teen Power: An Energetic Education Resource for Zoos and Aquariums.” American Zoological and Aquarium Association; New Orleans, La., 2004. 
  • "Teaching All Kids to Meet Learning Standards: Essential Guidelines for Developing Reading Skills and Modifying Lessons for Students in Special Education.” Parents Association for Children with Hemiplegia and/or Stroke, and Advocates Behind Legal Education Northwest; Chicago, 2003. 
  • “What are the Sources of Students’ Reading Comprehension Errors and What, for Pete’s Sake, Do We Do about Them?” Links-to-Literacy, Chicago, 2002. 
  • “What’s the Problem? Overcoming Obstacles to Comprehension.” Annual Citywide Reading Conference, Chicago Annenberg Challenge Network for Leadership Development; Chicago, 1999.
  • “Chicago's 111 Improving Elementary Schools: What Makes These Schools Stand Out?” Rethinking Retention to Help All Students Succeed Conference; Chicago, 1998.
  • “Learning to Love Reading.” Annual Citywide Reading Conference, Chicago Annenberg Challenge Network for Leadership Development; Chicago, 1997.
  •  “Epistemological Foundations of a Post-Structuralist Writing Course.” International Reading Association; San Antonio, Texas, 1994.
  •  “Concepts and Resources for Working with Culturally Different Children.” New Hanover High School; North Carolina, 1994.
  •  “Diagnostic and Other Testing: What to Select and How.” North Carolina Association of Developmental Studies Eastern Regional Conference; Raleigh, N.C., 1993.
  •  “Is Technology Value-Free?” Greater Midwest Consortium on Developmental Education, Chicago, 1992. 

Awards and Honors:

  • National Association for Developmental Education Service Award, 1988-1993
  • National College of Education, Administrator of the Year Award, 1989
  • Who's Who in American Women, 1986
  • International Who's Who in Education, 1985 

Professional Memberships:

  • Peer Review Committee, Concordia University Chicago, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4). Board Vice Chair, 2004-2010; CEO Evaluation Committee, Chair, 2004-2008; Board Member, 2003-present; Auxiliary Fund Raising Committee, 2003-2006
  • Lincoln Park Zoo, Inclusion Advisory Committee Chair, 2003-2005
  • Life Learners Inc., Preparing Substitute Teachers, Advisory Council Member, 2002-2003
  • International Reading Association, Editorial Advisory Boards for The Reading Teacher and Journal of Adult and Adolescent Literacy, 2001-2007
  • BookPals, Screen Actors Guild, Chicago Public Schools Initiatives Advisor, 2002-2004
  • Chicago Annenberg Foundation, Annenberg Challenge External Partners Advisory Council, 2000-2002
  • Links-to-Literacy Steering Committee (a CPS-community partnership), Chair, 2000-2002; Vice-chair, 1996-1999
  • Pennies for Pets, North Carolina, Fund Raiser, 1994
  • Greater Midwest Consortium on Developmental Studies, Symposium Chair, 1992 & 1993
  • Kind News, Adopt-a-Teacher Program, Fund Raiser and Chicago Public Schools Sponsor, 1996-2001.
  • National-Louis University (formerly National College of Education) Language and Academic Development Advisory Committee Chair, 1989-1990.
  • Writing Across the Curriculum Committee Member, 1986-1990 & Curriculum Council Chair, 1989
  • Council on Academic Standards Member, 1986-1988
  • Graduate Council Advisory Board Member, 1982
  • Midwest College Learning Center Association, Professional Development Committee Chair, 1992 &  Professional Standards Committee, 1989-1990
  • Literacy Council of Chicago, Program Committee Member, 1985-1990