Joan Erickson, Ph.D.

Professor of Education
photo School of Education

Office Location: Institute for Collaboration, Room 229
Telephone: 630-844-5685
Fax: 630-844-5530
Email Address:

Learning to read changes the lives of children. Continuing to read changes their lives forever. This is at the core of my life's work — making sure that all children become readers who keep reading their whole lives. And since teachers are the ones who make that happen, it is also my passion to help young teachers develop the skills and beliefs needed to do this.

Prior to coming to Aurora, Dr. Erickson spent 19 years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she taught and conducted research related to literacy and learning. She opened and directed a reading clinic that provided tutoring to children and adolescents in the community with reading disabilities, and provided training for preservice and practicing teachers. Her focus at AU continues to be on literacy development for all students.

Ph.D. - Cognitive Psychology/Literacy Processes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
M.Ed. - Educational Psychology/Special Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
B.S. -  Special Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Areas of Specialization
Literacy theory and instruction
Instructional methods for reading and language arts
Reading and writing disabilities
Special education strategies for inclusion

Courses Taught
Methods of Teaching Reading and Language Arts
Content Area Reading with a focus on Social Studies
Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum
How Schools Work
Introduction to Special Education
Reading Disability Theory and Methods
Written Language Development and Disorders
Advanced Reading Disabilities
Student Teaching Supervision
Characteristics and Identification of Disabilities and the Law
Reading Disability Theory and Methods
Unified Field Experience and Seminar

Highlights of Publications, Honors and Professional Contributions:
Article selected for inclusion in an International Reading Association publication that included important articles on reading comprehension published in the past decade; the article selected for inclusion was: Hibbing, A. N., & Rankin-Erickson, J. L. (2009). A picture is worth a thousand words: Using visual images to improved comprehension for middle school struggling readers. In D. Lapp & D. Fisher, Essential readings on comprehension. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Notre Dame, Alliance for Catholic Education, 2006.

Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award for Teaching Excellence, University of Nebraska Teachers College, $10,000, 2002.

Co-recipient, along with Michael Pressley, of the International Reading Association's Albert J. Harris Award. This award recognizes outstanding contribution to the diagnosis or instruction of learners experiencing problems developing as readers and writers, 1996; award was for the article: Pressley, M. & Rankin, J. L.  (1994).  More about whole language methods of reading instruction for students at-risk for early reading failure.  Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 9, 157-168.

Highlights of Campus Involvement

Council on Certification of School Personnel; Member from September 2008 to present; Chair from January 2010 to present.

University Faculty Development Committee; Member from 2009 to present

Serve on various committees related to curriculum review, program development, and program revisions in the College of Education.

Chairing and serving on dissertation committees for doctoral students in the College of Education.

Other Interests
Working with teachers on projects related to excellence in literacy instruction
Baking desserts