The Elizabeth G. Sturtevant, PhD, Center for Literacy (SCL)

The SCL is supported by the Sturtevant Endowment in Literacy Education.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Elizabeth G. Sturtevant, PhD Center for Literacy is to promote literacy outreach, scholarship, and teaching. We will honor her legacy with a lasting endeavor that represents and continues her work to promote literacy development. The Center provides organizing structure for Literacy outreach, scholarship/research, and teaching. Our outreach strand provides professional support for classroom teachers and school-based leaders while also addressing student literacy development. Our research strand explores questions about innovative ways to teach and learn literacy in diverse settings. Our teaching strand supports innovative teaching practices that promote literacy knowledge and development for all students.

Participating Faculty and Other Collaborators

Leadership Team

Dr. Allison Ward Parsons, Acting Director

As the acting/founding Director, Dr. Ward Parsons has led efforts to develop plans and goals for the Elizabeth G. Sturtevant, PhD Center for Literacy. Dr. Ward Parsons is a former kindergarten teacher who saw firsthand the impact of generational poverty on childhood literacy, which forms the basis of her interest in research, service, and teaching via a social justice lens. She has served in reading clinics offering diagnostic and tutoring services, and has spent the last three summers supervising Literacy graduate students during their practicum coursework as they earn credentials towards Reading Specialist licensure in Virginia. Her research agenda is based on improving literacy outcomes for all students via effective instruction and teacher support through coaching and professional learning. She also studies student reading engagement and techniques to support vocabulary through interactive read-alouds.

Dr. Jennifer I. Hathaway, Associate Director

Dr. Hathaway is an Assistant Professor of Education in the College of Education and Human Development. She serves as the Literacy Academic Program Coordinator, which includes outreach and building partnerships with local schools. She teaches elementary reading methods courses for prospective teachers and graduate level courses preparing teachers to serve as Reading/Literacy Specialists. Each summer, she coordinates tutoring practicum coursework to pair Mason graduate students with K-12 students who require additional reading instructional support. Her research interests include teachers’ beliefs, literacy coaching, teacher education, and professional development. She received her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University after teaching for several years in elementary schools in North Carolina.

Mason Faculty

Mason Literacy Center and Faculty Affiliates have broad research interests and advocate for excellent classroom and clinical instruction that advances the literacy knowledge of students.


Community Collaborators

Dr. Joanna Newton, Office of Student Support, Fairfax County Public Schools and Dr. Athene Bell, Manassas City Public Schools (retired). Both Dr. Newton and Dr. Bell are Mason graduates and are deeply familiar with the Literacy Program as well as the goals of the Center. Both were also mentored by Dr. Sturtevant during their doctoral work at Mason. Since graduating, both Dr. Newton and Dr. Bell have worked with local school divisions to support teachers and improve student literacy outcomes through coaching and professional learning assistance. Their support for the Center will guide and inform outreach efforts.