sj Miller

Areas of Expertise
Anti-Bullying Studies, Critical Race Theory, Gender and Education, Literacy, Queer Studies, Secondary English Language Arts, Social Justice, Sociocultural Theories and Perspectives, Teacher Education, Urban Education, Writing Education

Biography

sj Miller is Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of Colorado Boulder and affiliate faculty for CU’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV), LGBTQ Studies, and Women and Gender Studies.

sj’s research is framed around social justice, which cuts across theory, epistemology and pedagogy and links across socio-spatial justice, Urban Education, preservice and inservice secondary language arts teacher dispositions, and marginalized/undervalued student literacies and identities.

Currently, sj is Executive Committee member of the Conference on English Education (CEE), consultant for the College Board providing best practices to secondary Pre- and Advanced Placement English teachers, AP Literature and Composition Table Leader and AP Grant Mentor, new incoming co-editor of English Education, coeditor of the inaugural book series with Peter Lang Publishers, Social Justice Across Contexts in Education, Lambda Literary Board Member, and advisory board member for Routledge’s Critical Studies in Gender and Sexuality in Education, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, and CU’s Chancellor’s LGBT Committee. 

Most notably, sj won the 2005 Article of the Year Award from the English Journal for “Shattering Images of Violence in Young Adult Literature: Strategies for the Classroom,” and co-authored Unpacking the Loaded Teacher Matrix: Negotiating Space and Time Between University and Secondary English Classrooms which received the Richard A. Meade award from NCTE. sj helped draft the Beliefs Statement about Social Justice in English Education and helped pass the NCTE Resolution on Social Justice in Literacy Education, which informed the newly-vetted CAEP Social Justice Standard 6. sj’s co-authored Generation BULLIED 2.0: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Our Most Vulnerable Students, has been awarded "Essential Book for Professionals Who Serve Teens," by Voices of Youth Advocate Magazine. sj is past co-chair of AERA Division K, CEE Commission for Social Justice, and past co-president of NC-TEAR.

sj’s works have appeared in a number of journals including; English Education, English Journal, Alan Review, Teacher Education and Practice, Scholar-Practitioner Quarterly, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, and the Educational Leadership Quarterly.
 

Education

PhD Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies, University of New Mexico, 2005

Post MA Elementary and Secondary Language Arts and Social Studies Licensure, University of New Mexico, 1995

MA Jewish Communal Services and Jewish Studies, Hebrew Union College, 1993

BA Social Sciences, minor Psychology, University of California Berkeley, 1992

Awards & Honors

Richard A. Meade Award for outstanding research and writing in English Education: teacher preparation for the book:

Miller, s., & Norris, L. (2007). Unpacking the loaded teacher matrix: Negotiating space and time between university and secondary English classrooms. New York: Peter Lang.

Kate and Paul Farmer Award, Most outstanding article published in English Journal, for “Shattering Images of Violence in Young Adult Literature: Strategies for the Classroom”, NCTE, 2005

Research

At the center of my research is social justice, which cuts across theory, epistemology and pedagogy. My main four areas of research include: Socio-spatial justice, Urban Education, preservice and inservice teacher dispositions, and marginalized/undervalued student literacies and identities. Social justice, critical race theory, feminist theory, geospatial theory, spatiality and temporal theories, critical discourse analysis, anti-bullying theory/pedagogy, and critical literacy primarily frame my work.

Standard VI - The New Standard for Social Justice in Secondary English Teacher Preparation

I conducted a four-year longitudinal, qualitative study reflecting how White pre-service English teachers shifted and performed embodiments of social justice dispositions as they developed their belief systems regarding teaching, learning, and education while growing into their new secondary teaching careers as in-service professionals. Outcomes of this research help explain the processes involved in developing their dispositions, and especially illustrate the participants’ realizations that expectations for social justice in one’s own teaching practices have significant effects on teacher beliefs and behaviors.

This study provides several important contributions to social justice teaching and teacher education. First, prior findings from the study initially informed the development of the new Standard VI, a standard that advocates for social justice teaching in the secondary English language arts (Alsup & Miller, 2014; Miller, 2014, in press).  It also provides model assignments and assessment tools that align with the newly vetted Standard VI of the National Council of Teachers of English/Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (NCTE/CAEP) for teaching grades 7-12. According to CAEP representatives, Standard VI is the first standard of its kind that advances social justice in teacher education and  to be formally accepted as a national criterion for professional accreditation in U.S. teacher education (P. Yoder, personal communication, May 13, 2013). Second, the study suggests how NCTE/CAEP and educators working in other fields, disciplines, and grade-levels can draw on and adapt from these model social justice assignments to design curricula that enable assessment of pre-service teacher candidates and help them realize dispositions that lead to more (and more sustained) equitable teaching practices. Third, the study demonstrates how teacher education programs for both pre- and in-service teachers might integrate content and pedagogical knowledge about responsive teaching to prepare new professionals who will believe in and work for social justice in their local contexts.

References:

Alsup, J., & Miller, s. (2014). Reclaiming English education: Rooting social justice in dispositions. English Education, 46(3),195-215.

Miller, s. (2014). Cultivating a disposition for sociospatial justice in English  teacher preparation. Teacher Education and Practice, 27(1), 44-74.

Miller, s. (in press). English is “not just about teaching semi-colons and Steinbeck”: Instantiating dispositions for socio-spatial justice in English Education. Teacher Education and Practice.

Queer Literacy Framework

sj recently developed a Queer Literacy Framework (QLF) for “queering” classroom literacy practices across disciplines. The QLF pivots adolescence/ts toward (a) gender and (a) sexuality self-determination in order to promote a continuum for (a)gendered and (a)sexuality justice. The QLF illustrates ten key principles for a queer literacy framework, describes subsequent commitments by teachers, and provides concrete considerations for its future autonomy.

A Study Between 2 Continents: Supporting Preservice Teachers to Engage in LGBTQGV-inclusive Curriculum

This 7-year study, beginning in 2014 between examines shifts in beliefs, norms, and social conditions about LGBTQGV-inclusive curricula within our School of Education and University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The study intends (1). To build bridges between our respective sites that establish an active, contributing, network between preservice into inservice teachers (PIIT) that addresses LGBTQGVM   issues (policy, curricula, social relationships) in secondary schools over time; (2). To develop and expand personal and professional dispositions that will mediate teaching about LGBTQGVM   students; and (3). To provide a cross-cultural and cross-international model about how PIITs can study, interrogate, unpack, and teach others  (e.g., university educators, policy makers, community members, parents, family, etc.) about LGBTQGVM  issues in secondary schools.

Text Complexity, Similar Literary Merit and Young Adult Literature

This ongoing research reflects (Miller & Slifkin, 2010; Miller, 2013) my 13 years of attending the AP English Literature and Composition reading—first as a reader and now as a table leader—where I have observed a scoring phenomenon, where students draw from young adult literature (YAL) and graphic novels in order to answer Question 3, the Open, and how they tend to be subsequently poorly evaluated by some readers because of their text selections, not on the quality of their essays, often receiving a 4 or lower (not a passing score). Through conversations with well over 200 readers, table leaders, question leaders, and my participants in Advanced Placement Summer Institutes (APSI). Because it’s the students who are ultimately impacted by these scores (and the beliefs that impact the scores), it became critical for me to understand the root cause of such widespread injustices. By speaking directly with classroom AP literature teachers and turning to documents from the College Board and the Common Core (CCSS), I was able to ascertain and make meaning of the risk teachers face in teaching YAL in an AP English Literature and Composition classroom, or in encouraging students to use a YA text to answer the exam question.

During the initial phase of the study, Miller and Slifkin (2010) reflected on 1) how the historical phrasing of “similar literary quality” has impacted teacher beliefs about including YAL in an AP English classroom, and 2) how this phrase was generating ambiguous responses from readers at the exam. Most recent work provides models and assessments for how to evaluate text complexity in YA by drawing from combined language in the CCSS and from models of best practices in AP Literature. (See Miller, s. (2014). Text complexity and  “comparable literary merit” in young adult literature. Alan Review 41(2), 44-55).

Also see:

Miller, s. (2013). AP Gatekeeping: Exploring the myths of using YAL in an AP English classroom. Alan Review, 40(2), 79-84. 

Miller, s., & Slifkin, J. (2010). “Similar literary quality”: Demystifying the AP English Literature and Composition open question. Alan Review, 37(2), 6-16.

Teaching

My pedagogy is framed by a deep commitment to social change and social justice through constructivism, social activism, and liberatory teaching practices. These theories lay the foundation for my teaching practices and praxis which are student-centered. I teach to enable preservice student teachers to develop a beginning teaching pedagogy by interrogating how their prior experiences shape their belief systems and how those belief systems shape their teaching practices and goals. I encourage preservice teachers to make meaning of how their belief systems have shaped their eventual teaching identities. Together we interrogate and deconstruct how we have been shaped by hegemony and the institutions in which we are embedded and discuss how we can reconstruct ourselves away from institutionalized thinking and practice. We do so by examining how our own prejudices, and if gone unchecked, can escalate into detrimental teaching patterns and practices. I assist my student teachers in creating socially and culturally relevant lesson plans that will meet the needs of the diverse learners with whom they will engage.

Courses Taught

EDUC 5365: Secondary English Methods

The purpose of this course is to present information, resources, and opportunities that enable students to reflect critically on the curriculum and pedagogy of the secondary English Language Arts. 

EDUC 8155: Advanced Literacy Seminar: Naming Power and Privilege through Critical Theories of Race in the Urban Classroom

This course is designed to enhance students’/practitioners’ knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to successfully understand and/or conduct teaching and learning in urban classrooms through examining the historical, sociological, and political factors both locally and writ large that have led to today's urban schools. 

Service & Outreach

SERVICE

NATIONAL

Conference of English Education (CEE) Executive Committee

NCTE, 2012-present

•Mentor for two junior colleagues, Summer 2013-present

•Selected Veal Seminar Mentor, Fall 2013-present

•Cultural Diversity Grant Committee Member, Fall 2012-present

•National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) liaison, Fall 2013- present

 

Lambda Literary Board, 2014-present

 

Conference of English Education (CEE) Commission on Social Justice

NCTE, 2004-present

•Co-chair, Elected 2008

•Selected to be a mentor by CEE for new faculty

•Reviewer of proposals for CEE Summit, Summer 2012

 

American Educational Research Association: Division K, Teacher and Teacher Education:

•Section 10 (Investigations on teacher education and policy) Co-Chair, Appointment, 2011- 2012

•Section 4 (Investigations on multicultural education/social justice frameworks), Co-Chair, Appointment, 2012-2014

Early Career Award Committee, Appointed, Spring 2012-present

 

American Educational Research Association: Division G, Social Context of Education

•Invited to be on the Mentoring Award Committee, Fall 2013

 

National Council Teachers of English Research Assembly Executive Committee- NCTEAR

•Executive Committee Member

•Co-Chair, Elected 2009

•Co-Secretary/Treasurer, Elected 2007

                      

College Board consultant, table leader, and mentor Advanced Placement (AP) English   Literature and Composition, 2001-present

 

                       

UNIVERSITY

Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV), affiliate faculty, 2014

LGBTQ Studies, Affiliate Faculty, 2014

Women and Gender Studies, Affiliate Faculty, 2014

Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on GLBT Issues, 2014

CU Award Committee, Graduate Part-Time Instructors, 2014

TRANSforming Gender Symposium planning committee, 2014

 

DEPARTMENTAL

Doctoral Literacy Cohort Team, 2014-present

Secondary Humanities Team, 2014-present

Teacher Education Committee, 2014-present

National Council Teachers of English, Faculty Advisor, 2014-present

 

Selected Publications

For links to publications listed here, go to www.sjmiller.info.

Journal Articles- Refereed/Peer Reviewed Submitted:

Miller, s. (submitted). A queer literacy framework promoting (a)gender and (a)sexuality self-determination and justice. English Journal.

Miller, s., (submitted). Reading YAL queerly: A queer literacy framework for promoting (a)gender and (a)sexuality self-determination and justice. Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education.

Burns, L., & Miller, s. (submitted). Social justice policymaking in teacher education from conception to application: Realizing Standard VI.

Miller, s. & Burns, L. (submitted). Realizing social justice dispositions in teaching and teacher education: A 4-year study.

Forthcoming

Miller, s. (forthcoming). English is “not just about teaching semi-colons and Steinbeck”: Instantiating dispositions for socio-spatial justice in English Education. Teacher Education and Practice.

Select Journal Articles- Refereed/Peer Reviewed

Miller, s. (Guest Ed.) (forthcoming). Labeling “GIFTED” or “SPECIAL”: Perpetuating the mismeasure of students. English Journal.

Miller, s. (2014). Cultivating a disposition for sociospatial justice in English teacher preparation. Teacher Education and Practice, 27(1), 44-74.

Alsup, J., & Miller, s. (2014). Reclaiming English education: Rooting social justice in dispositions. English Education, 46(3),195-215.

Miller, s. (2014). Text complexity and  “comparable literary merit” in young adult literature. Alan Review 41(2), 44-55.

Miller, s. (2013). Losing and gaining a self: Affirming the body, mind and spirits of transgender youth. Educational Leadership Quarterly, 35(3), 12-13.

Miller, s. (2013). AP Gatekeeping: Exploring the myths of using YAL in an AP English classroom. Alan Review, 40(2), 79-84.

Miller, s. (2012). Flawed visions of democracy in the United States: Influences on current critical social justice research. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 28(2), 92-103.

Miller, s. (2012). Mythology of the norm: Disrupting the culture of bullying in schools. English Journal, 101(6), 107-109.

Miller, s., Bieler, D., Bolf-Beliveau, L., Charest, B., George, M.A., King, J., & Williamson, P.  (2011). Applying the CEE position statement Beliefs about Social Justice in English Education to Classroom Praxis. English Education, 44(1), 63-82.

Miller, s. (2011). Demythologizing “Real” ity TV: Critical implications for a new literacy. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 3(3), 135-152.

Conference on English Education Commission on Social Justice. (2010). Resolution on Social Justice in Literacy Education.(http://www.ncte.org/press/2010resolutions.). NCTE. Orlando: FL.

Miller, s., & Slifkin, J. (2010). “Similar literary quality”: Demystifying the AP English Literature and Composition open question. Alan Review, 37(2), 6-16.

Conference on English Education Commission on Social Justice. (2009). CEE position statement: Beliefs about social justice in English education. First Biennial CEE Conference. Chicago: CEE.

Invited Chapter and Peer-Reviewed in Books

Miller, s., (forthcoming). Reading YAL queerly: A queer literacy framework for promoting (a)gender and (a)sexuality self-determination and justice. In D. Carlson, Beyond borders: Queer eros and ethos (ethics) in LGBTQ young adult literature (pp. xx-xx). New York: Peter Lang.

Miller, s. (forthcoming). A queer literacy framework for promoting (a)gender and (a)sexuality self-determination and justice. In E. Brockenbrough, J. Ingrey, W. Martino and N. Rodriquez (Eds.). Queer studies and education: Critical concepts for the 21st century.

Miller, s. (2014).  Moving an anti-bullying stance into schools: Supporting the identities of transgender and gender variant youth. In S. Steinberg and A. Ibrahim (Eds.), Critical youth studies reader (pp. 161-171). New York: Peter Lang.

Miller, s. and Gilligan, J. (2014). Heteronormative harassment: Queer bullying and gender non-conforming students. In D. Carlson and E. Meyer (Eds.), Handbook of gender and sexualities in education (pp. 217-229). New York: Peter Lang. 

Miller, s. (2014). Hungry like the wolf: Gender non-conformity in young adult literature, In C. Hill (Ed.). The critical merits of young adult literature: Coming of age (pp. 55- 72). New York: Routledge.

Miller, s. (2014). Spatializing social justice research in English education. In C. Compton-Lilly and Erica Halverson (Eds.), Time and space in literacy research (pp.122-133). New York: Routledge.

Miller, s. (forthcoming). Learning from equity audits: Powerful social justice in English education for the 21st Century. In L. Scherff & E. Morrelll (Eds.), English education for the 21st Century: Teaching, teacher education, research, assessment, and advocacy (pp. xx-xx). Rowman & Littlefield.

Miller, s. (2009). (Dis)Embedding gender diversity in the preservice classroom. In S. Steinberg (Ed.), Diversity and multiculturalism: A reader (pp. 193-209). New York: Peter Lang.