Deb Van Duinen, Assistant Professor of Education, is being
honored by the Michigan Reading Association (MRA) for her significant
contributions to promoting literacy. She will receive an Individual Literacy Award from the MRA during the
statewide organization’s 60th annual conference, taking place on March 18-21 in Detroit. Citing her work as program
director of the Big Read Holland Area during the past two years as well as her
research and additional service at Hope and in the community, the
conference program’s biographical sketch praises her as “an exemplary
The Big Read Holland Area encouraged community-wide reading of “To Kill
a Mockingbird” in 2014 and “The Things They Carried” in
2015. Thousands of people of all ages participated each year, with related
activities ranging from lectures to performances to reading-discussion groups
throughout the area. Multiple community organizations worked together for the
events, which were funded through highly competitive grants, administered
by Van Duinen, to the college through the Big Read initiative of the
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest.
Van Duinen’s research and teaching interests include adolescent literacy,
literacy theory and pedagogy, English education, secondary teacher
preparation and development, and children’s and young adult literature.
She is the author of multiple articles related to her areas of research, and
has made more than 30 presentations at professional conferences around the
country as well as Canada. Locally, she organizes monthly research
colloquies in the Education Department and connects her pre-service
teachers with teachers, colleagues and community members to study literature
resources, opportunities and networks.