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, Bill 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 Introduction to Education course, Trinity students work with high school students from Chicago’s Austin neighbourhood to help the students learn about what they need to do to be ready for college. Boerman-Cornell’s students also begin learning about the classroom by participating as an aide in a range of grades and contexts in nearby schools. Frequently, he says, students get so engrossed in these projects, that they go way beyond the course requirements.
“It is exciting to see students in what it often their first education course, enjoying the chance to get into the classroom and work one on one with small groups, and occasionally with the entire class--as a teacher. Then we can bring what the students saw back into the classroom, and it makes our discussions about educational ideas and theories come alive.”
Boerman-Cornell’s teaching philosophy is that his 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
- Honors Seminar: Young Adult Literature and Shakespeare
- Teaching English in Grades 6-12
- Teaching Reading in the Disciplines
- Masters Thesis Completion for Special Education
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
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, William (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, W. and M. Huyser (2008) 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