Cheryl A.

Profile: Cheryl A. McLean

Associate Professor

Cheryl McLean works in Literacy Education and is Coordinator of the English Education program. Her teaching and research explore approaches to creating learning communities that better support the diverse learning styles, backgrounds and interests of adolescent learners. Dr. McLean’s scholarship brings critical lenses to bear on issues around adolescent and youth literacy that involve two central research strands: (1) culture and identity, and (2) digital and multimodal literacy. Her research in adolescent literacy explores the intersection of (1) practices (language, texts, and communicative tools), (2) social contexts (where learning takes place—environments, communities, local-global, digital and multimodal), (3) culture and identity, and (4) pedagogical instruction. Using qualitative research and ethnographic research methods, Dr. McLean has previously conducted research in Georgia and currently in New Jersey, documenting the life stories, literacy practices, and accompanying texts and artifacts of immigrant and minority youth and how they map onto identity construction. 


Professional Affiliations:

American Educational Research Association (AERA)
American Reading Forum (ARF)
International Reading Association (IRA)

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

Literacy Research Association (LRA)


Associations and Boards:

Chair, American Educational Research Association (AERACaribbean and African Studies in Education (CASE) SIG


Ph.D., The University of Georgia

Expertise & Research Interest

Adolescent literacy
Culture and identity
Digital and multimodal literacy
Qualitative research
Critical pedagogy and teacher education

Research Work With Students

Dr. McLean's current research "Literacy in urban school contexts: An artifactual approach" is a longitudinal study that investigates academic achievement and pedagogical practices through the integration of multimodal and digital texts, tasks, and tools across three high school classrooms.

Funded by Faculty Research Council, 2012: $24,000; Rutgers University Research Council Grants 2010-14: $5,500.00

Recent & Selected Publications


McLean, C., & Rowsell, J. (forthcoming, 2014). Imagining writing futures: Photography, writing and technology. Reading and Writing Quarterly.

McLean, C. & Rowsell, J. (2013). (Re)designing literacy teacher education: A call for change. Teaching Education 24(1), 1-26.

McLean, C. (2013). Literacies, identities and gender: Reframing girls in digital worlds. In B. Guzzetti, & T. Bean (Eds), (Re)constructing Gender through Global Literacy Practices and Policies (pp. 64-73). NY: Routledge.

Rowsell, J., McLean, C., & Hamilton, M. (2012). Visual literacy as a classroom approach. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. 55(5), 444-447.

McLean, C. (2012). The author's I: Adolescents mediating selfhood through writing. Special Issue, Writing Ecologies. Pedagogies: An International Journal. 7(3),, 229-245.

Alvermann, D. E., Marshall, J. D., McLean, C. A., Huddleston, A. P., Joaquin, J., & Bishop, J. (2012). Adolescents' web-based literacies, identity construction, and skill development. Literacy Research and Instruction. 51(1), 179-195. * Selected by LRI editors as a featured article in Routledge’s Back to School Reading List: a collection of editor-selected articles from the journal's archives.

McLean, C. (2010). A space called Home: An immigrant adolescent’s literacy practices. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. 54(1), 13-22.

Alvermann, D.E. & McLean, C. (2007). The nature of literacies. In A. Berger, L. Rush & J. Eakle (Eds), Secondary school reading and writing: Writing literacy reveals for classroom practice (pp. 11-35). Urbana IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

McLean, C. (2006). T.A. as text: Reading the implied role of the teaching assistant. Journal of Language and Literacy Education.

Honors & Awards

Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence - Rutgers University, 2014

Teaching the World Fellow - Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University 2013

IRW Research Fellow - Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers University 2009