Professor of Education
on faculty since 2005
Education helps us to pass on what we understand about God’s world to our children and their children. We live in a broken, sinful world, but God has consistently, from the Old Testament through the New, sent us teachers to help us figure out how to try to fix the brokenness.”
When Dr. Bill Boerman-Cornell was little, he would lose track of time while reading books. “As a high school English teacher, I found that it was exciting to help my students discover that kind of reading again. As a scholar, I do a lot of research about how high school teachers can use graphic novels to help students visualize what they read and understand some of the more complicated concepts within academic disciplines like history, math, English, and science.”
Boerman-Cornell wants his students to learn to be excellent teachers. ”But I also want them to understand that good teaching requires them to love their students as God loves us. God is able to see the moments of grace that are in all of us.”
What drew him to Trinity:
Boerman-Cornell had taught as an adjunct in English, Communications Arts, and Education at Trinity. “I was drawn to the way that Trinity allows students to take the initiative to do research with professors, to start clubs, or to begin things like a hydroponic fish farm or an anti-bullying campaign in local schools. But what I love most about teaching at Trinity is the way my students care so deeply about becoming excellent teachers and making a difference in their students’ lives.”
His research focuses on ways that middle school and high school teachers can help students to learn how to read in the context of different academic disciplines. “Even though we think that reading is reading and all reading is the same, it turns out that historians, for example, read to discover arguments in the sources that they read and evaluate those arguments in light of the writer’s biases, historical context, and interest in the issue. Skilled readers of science focus on inquiry and evidence and use the observable results of experimentation to form hypotheses that they test. Readers of literature start with the story and the characters, then look for themes. So since there are different ways to read for different disciplines, I then try to figure out what certain types of writing can offer to teachers interested in helping students to learn to understand reading within the disciplines.”
When he’s not teaching:
Boerman-Cornell likes to read, write, bicycle, canoe, and work with his friends to create award-winning sand sculptures.
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
Courses and Publications/Research
Boerman-Cornell began a blog in 2010, when former students kept emailing him for book recommendations, which can be found at bookcommercial.blogspot.com
• Children’s Literature
• Creative Writing
• Educational Psychology
• Honors Seminar: Young Adult Literature and Shakespeare
• Teaching English in Grades 6-12
• Teaching Reading in the Disciplines
• Master’s Thesis Completion for Special Education
Papers and Publications
Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications
- Boerman-Cornell, W. (2015) Using Historical Graphic Novels in High School History Classes: potential for Contextualization, Sourcing, and Corroborating. The History Teacher. 209-224.
- Boerman-Cornell, W. (2013) Exploring the Image/Text Wilderness: Ironic Visual Perspective and Critical Thinking in George O’Connor’s Graphic Novel Journey into Mohawk Country. In Bookbird: Journal of International Children’s Literature. 29-34.
- Klanderman, D., Maxwell, M., Robbert, S., and Boerman-Cornell, B. (2013). Reading Assignments and Assessments: Are Your Students Reading Math Text Before Class, After Class, Both, or Neither? In Proceedings of the 19th Conference of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences. Wheaton, IL: Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences, 1-8.
- Huyser, Mackenzi, Boerman-Cornell, Bill; and DeBoer, Kendra (2011). Christian Schools and Demographic Change: Two Case Studies. Journal of Research on Christian Education. Pages 4-27.
- Boerman-Cornell, Bill (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.
- Boerman-Cornell, Bill (2010) History is relatives: Educational affordances of the graphic novel in The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. International Journal of Comic Art. 12:1, 147-156.
- Boerman-Cornell, Bill (2013) More than Comic Books. Educational Leadership. March. Pages 73-77.
Awards and Memberships
Awards and Honors
- Co-Editor:Christian Educator’s Journal (2016-2017)
- June 7, 2015 Speaking Engagement: “Graphic Novels and Youth in the US: Trends in publishing and School Instruction” with Dr. William Teale, at the “Researching Young Readers: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches Conference,” Center for Young Peoples Literature and Culture, Wroclaw University, Poland
- Summer 2016 Trinity Summer Research Grant awarded to work on contracted book about using graphic novels in the high school classroom, with Jung Kim and Mike Manderino.
- November 2015 Awarded the Trinity Christian College Honorary Alumnus Award.
- Summer 2015 Awarded the Christian Scholars Foundation Grant from Intervarsity with Dr. Deb Van Duinen of Hope College and Dr. Kris Gritter of Seattle Pacific University for work on spiritual development in and through Young Adult literature.
- 2015-16 VanderVelde Junior Scholar Program – Worked with Hannah Dykstra on designing and producing a graphic novel biography of the composer Shostakovich.
- 2013-14 VanderVelde Junior Scholar Program – Worked with Alexa Dokter on a paper about using Harry Potter to teach mathematical dimensionality. Paper was later accepted by the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literature.
- 2012-13 VanderVelde Junior Scholar Program – Worked with Andrew Blok on paper about how the reader transitions from the reader’s world to the world of the book. Paper was later accepted by the Christian Educators Journal.
Professional Society Memberships
• Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
• International Board of Books for Young People
• International Reading Association
• Literacy Research Association