Melinda McBee Orzulak

Assistant Professor & Coordinator of English Education

Bradley Hall 365
(309) 677-2466

Ph.D., English and Education, University of Michigan


Melinda McBee Orzulak earned her Ph.D. as part of the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan, with a dissertation that offered ways to support new teachers in enacting linguistically informed principles that promote equitable learning:  Understanding language to support equitable teaching: How beginning English teachers engage complexity, negotiate dilemmas, and avoid deficit ideologies.

Before graduate school at the University of Michigan, Dr. McBee Orzulak worked as a classroom teacher and department chair at secondary schools in Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City where she was inspired to explore the intersections between power and language in effective teaching interactions. She earned her master’s degree from Tufts University as an Urban Teacher Training Collaborative intern and a bachelor’s degree from Gordon College in English language, literature, and gender studies as a Kenneth L. Pike interdisciplinary honors scholar. She also holds a current Illinois standard secondary teaching certificate in English language arts, journalism, and sociology.


Dr. McBee Orzulak’s fields of interest include English education methods, composition theory and methods, writing pedagogy, educational linguistics, and young adult literature.

At the university level, she has taught courses in English and education, including English education methods, composition theory, professional writing, academic argument, and field-based student teaching and practicum seminars.


Dr. McBee Orzulak’s scholarship focuses on the intersections of linguistic and interactional awareness in English education, specifically in effective writing pedagogy.

To share her scholarship, Dr. McBee Orzulak values writing for both scholarly and practitioner audiences. She coauthored Taking Initiative on Writing: A Guide for Instructional Leaders (NCTE and NASSP, 2010).  She also has published in English Journal, Reading Research Quarterly, and The Cambridge Guide for Second Language Teacher Education.  As a writer for the James R. Squire Office of Policy Research of the National Council of Teachers of English, she contributed to eight policy briefs published in the Council Chronicle, including Adolescent Literacy, English Language Learners, and 21st-Century Literacies:

Dr. McBee Orzulak enjoys sharing her scholarship at national meetings and conferences, including the American Educational Research Association, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and NCTE Assembly for Research. In collaboration with English education colleagues, she recently presented at the Conference on English Education (CEE) on the redesign of an English methods course sequence (see the English/Education Methods Inquiry Circle).


Dr. McBee Orzulak serves on the English Education Committee. Off campus, she serves on the Board of Program Reviewers for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (National Council of Teachers of English). An active member of NCTE and CEE, she has conducted webinars for instructional leaders focused on writing initiatives.