Associate Professor of Education
on faculty since 2005
Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago, 2011
M.Ed., Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, 2004
M.F.A., Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois, 1994
B.A., Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1988
Professional and Personal Interests
Like many professors, William Boerman-Cornell likes to read. He also likes to research just exactly how people read. Reading plays a central part in his classes at Trinity, in his writing, and in his research.
Boerman-Cornell joined Trinity’s faculty full time in 2005 after spending 10 years at Illiana Christian High School in Lansing, Illinois, teaching literature and creative writing, directing drama productions, and advising both the mock trial team and the improv team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Calvin College, an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Columbia College in Illinois, a master’s in education from Dordt College, and a Ph.D. in literacy studies from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
After a brief stint as a writer for Encyclopedia Britannica, he served as an editor for a grant-funded sociological research project co-sponsored by McCormick Seminary and the Chicago Theological Seminary. He launched his teaching career at Illiana following graduate school.
Although he misses teaching high school, he “absolutely loves” teaching future teachers. He cites three distinct aspects of Trinity’s education department that he believes are essential in preparing and equipping the next generation of teachers:
- The faculty are former teachers with significant experience in the classroom.
- The department involves students early on as participants, not interested observers, in the discussion about best teaching practices through exposure to a variety of classroom environments.
- The faculty and students approach the process from a shared philosophical perspective based on the awareness that “the world is broken, and, out of gratitude for all that God has given us, we are called to an important task.”
In Boerman-Cornell’s course on fine arts in education, Trinity students work with teachers and their classrooms in Chicago and other places to help develop, teach, and evaluate curriculum by working with children in grades 2 through 12. Frequently, he says, students get so engrossed in the project, that they go way beyond the course requirements.
“One year, we took on the problem of educational challenges in Uganda, and tried to determine whether art in the classroom could be helpful. The students headed up an effort to develop art curriculum and to raise funds for art supplies, which were then sent to struggling schools. The students also wrote letters to national and international officials to encourage them to become involved in the situation,” said Boerman-Cornell. “I was terrifically proud of them.”
That flexibility and responsiveness is part of Boerman-Cornell’s teaching philosophy. He believes that “students have amazing capabilities. My job is to equip them with what they need, to challenge them to pursue that knowledge, to guide them along the way, and to know when to get out of the way and let them run with it.”
Boerman-Cornell and his wife, Amy, live in South Holland, Illinois, with their two daughters, Kathryn and Frances. The family attends Hope Christian Reformed Church in Oak Forest, Illinois. In addition to his enjoyment of reading, he finds time for snowshoeing, biking, hiking, camping, and traveling. During the summer, he and a group of friends compete in—and often win—sand sculpture contests.
- Children’s Literature
- Creative Writing
- Educational Psychology
- Fine Arts in Education
- Teaching English in Grades 6-12
- Teaching Reading in the Content Areas
Professional Society Membership
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
- International Board of Books for Young People
- International Reading Association
- Literacy Research Association
Papers Published and/or Presented
With Huyser, Mackenzi, and DeBoer, Kendra. “Christian Schools and Demographic Change: Two Case Studies.” Journal of Research on Christian Education. Pages 4-27. 2011.
"Graphic novels for the classroom: Affordances for using graphic novels to teach high school history.” Chapter in Carrington and Harding’s Going Graphic: Comics and Graphic Novels for Young People, Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK: Pied Piper. 2011. “Top ten books every Christian educator should read (according to one book lover).” Christian Educators Journal 49:4. 2010.
With Huyser, Mackenzi. “A diverse set of diversity experiences: A case example of constructing cultural competence in teacher education.” Teaching with Compassion, Competence, Commitment. 2:1, 54-73. 2008.
With Teale, W. and Kim, J. “It’s elementary—Graphic novels for the K-6 classroom.” Book Links. 17:5. 2008.