William Dee Nichols, Ph.D.

Professor of Literacy - University of Maine - Literacy, Language, and Culture

William Dee Nichols, Ph.D.

Professor of Literacy - University of Maine - Literacy, Language, and Culture

Biography

William Dee Nichols is a professor of literacy education and former dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine. Prior to his arrival at UMaine, Dr. Nichols served as director of the School of Teaching and Learning at Western Carolina University and chair of the Special Interest Group of Balanced Literacy for the International Reading Association. Dr. Nichols also has been a faculty member at Cumberland College, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Virginia Tech University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of literacy development, literacy teaching methods and strategies, reading diagnosis, and young adult literature. His research interests include fluency development, vocabulary instruction, and reading comprehension with particular interest in professional development in these areas. He is also interested in the early stages of reading development and helping all learners develop a solid foundation in literacy. Dr. Nichols received the outstanding alumni award from the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University in 2013. He was awarded the Dean’s Research and Creative Achievement Award by UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development for the 2016-17 school year, and has been a lead speaker and several International Reading Associations Institutes.

Speaker: Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D.

What Now? What’s Next?: An examination the effects of a community collaboration to develop literacy and skills among incarcerated women


For three and a half years, the What Now? What’s Next? Project has worked to supply innovative programming for women incarcerated in a jail in northern New England. Through a partnership with the local adult education program, the correctional institution, the local Literacy Volunteers group, and literacy faculty from a neighboring university, weekly programs have been offered to women in the jail. This presentation will examine the types of programming and how it is offered as well as the effects on the more than 300 women who have engaged with it.

This presentation will detail the context, intervention and results of the What Now? What’s Next? Project, which is a community collaboration of an adult education program, university literacy faculty, a Literacy Volunteers group, and a county jail within a community that is experiencing a rapid inflation of the number of prisoners due, in part, to the growing drug epidemic in this New England state. The presenters will share how the collaboration developed, the creation of the intervention, and a view of the programming offered including writing groups, family literacy programming, book clubs, financial literacy programming and more. Over the three and a half years that the program has been running, more than 300 women have engaged with some aspect of the programming. Presenters will share samples of the women’s writing and hear stories of the effects of the programming on the women’s lives. Employing a qualitative approach, the presenters have examined the program since its inception and have observed several themes emerge but are left with many more questions. Participants in this session will be encouraged to ask questions and share their own experiences with Justice Literacy programming.

All sessions by William Dee Nichols, Ph.D.