College of Education and Human Services

Allison Dagen

Allison Dagen Headshot
Allison Dagen wearing a WVU mask.

My teaching and advising style is built on 100% support and respect for my students, and 99% of them are working every day in PreK-12 schools, taking care of children and/or parents, and contributing to their communities through coaching or volunteer commitments.

Allison pursued reading specialist certification immediately after graduating from college, and then left her middle school reading teacher position after a few years to earn her doctorate.

“With every phase, I always felt there was still so much more to learn about the reading and writing process,” she says. “Now I am in a position where I get to read, think, question, and research issues around literacy, teaching and PreK-12 schools as part of my work. Each day, I am reminded there is always more to learn.”

Dagen says WVU Online’s Literacy Education, an advanced teaching degree, builds on what the PreK-12 teachers in the program already know through their daily classroom experiences. The teachers in the program owe it to themselves to grow in their content and pedagogical knowledge because it improves their confidence and ultimately their job satisfaction.

“It is an incredible professional, vocational graduate degree,” she says. “I also remind the program’s students about the usability and range of the PreK-adult certification that comes along with earning the degree. This may open up future job opportunities outside of the PreK-12 schools, such as in a college learning center or around adult learning someday.”

In her own teaching, Dagen says she is guided by her heart. That means empathy and giving. “Yes, of course, the content matters, but without a positive, mutually respectful relationship, learning may not happen in higher education or PreK-12 schools.”

“My teaching and advising style is built on 100% support and respect for my students, and 99% of them are working every day in PreK-12 schools, taking care of children and/or parents, and contributing to their communities through coaching or volunteer commitments.”

Technology She Utilizes in the Classroom
Tools embedded in e-Campus, including Voice Thread. I advise students to use VT lectures in a mobile way – grab some headphones, walk, commute whatever. You don’t have to “see” the VT to learn from it.

About Her Students
They are smart, hardworking, plate-juggling rock stars!

Pedagogical Changes on the Horizon
For years, I have used the expression, “Digital literacy IS literacy” in response to the shifts around the way learners consume, create, and share digital content. Now, since the pandemic, I have used my other mantra often – “Online teaching IS teaching.” I believe those who never imagined teaching online, or those who feared it, may become its greatest advocates.

Work or Publication Most Proud Of
Best Practices of Literacy Leaders: Keys to School Improvement, Second Edition: (2020). Eds. Allison Swan Dagen and Rita Bean.

About Mentoring
My doctoral studies mentor and I have continued to engage in research, present, and publish. For the past two decades, we now “take turns” mentoring each other, which is really interesting as this has been one of the best relationships of my professional and personal life. #Mentoring Matters

Favorite Book
As a former K-8 teacher, my favorite book is (and may always be) The Giver by Lois Lowery because of the engaging way the middle school students I taught lit up when they encountered this story – and this was well before the movie release!