Jana Hunzicker

Associate Professor, William T. Kemper Fellow

Westlake Hall 237
(309) 677-3201

Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction, Illinois State University 2006
M.A., Educational Administration, Bradley University 1994
B.S., Elementary Education, Bradley University 1989


Dr. Jana Hunzicker holds a master’s degree in educational administration, a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, Illinois Type 75 administrative certification, and the Illinois superintendent endorsement. In addition to seven years of teaching experience at the middle school level, she served for nine years as an elementary/middle school administrator before coming to Bradley in 2007.

As a teacher and principal, Dr. Hunzicker regularly planned, delivered, and arranged professional development at the team, school, and district levels, developing great interest in effective professional development over time.  In researching teacher learning during National Board candidacy, she developed a professional learning model called learning leverage, which consists of three dynamics: rigor, reward, and risk. Dr. Hunzicker believes that all three dynamics must be present and fairly balanced in order to maximize professional learning.  

At Bradley, Dr. Hunzicker continues to explore teacher learning and effective professional development through her teaching, research, and service. Conducting much of her research within her own college classroom, she has authored 17 refereed publications and 21 refereed presentations on teaching effectiveness, teacher leadership, scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), and effective professional development. In particular, “Effective Professional Development for Teachers: A Checklist” (2011) offers a practical tool that educators at all levels can use to plan, analyze, and assess professional development initiatives. Through her service to the Bradley PDS Partnership, she coordinates professional development for teachers and health sciences professionals including Manual Rounds and the annual Bradley PDS Partnership Spring Celebration.

In addition to her role as CTEL Executive Director, Dr. Hunzicker holds the rank of associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education and serves as Bradley’s William T. Kemper Fellow for Teaching Excellence. She is a recipient of the Joan L. Sattler Endowed Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013), the College of Education and Health Sciences Faculty Research Award (2012), and the College of Education and Health Sciences Faculty Service Award (2011).


Dr. Hunzicker teaches undergraduate courses in young adolescent development, human development, middle school instruction, and language arts methods. In addition, she teaches two graduate courses in teacher leadership. Her teaching style combines traditional instruction and active learning with emphasis on reflective practice. She tries to enliven her classes with meaningful discussion, activities, and projects to promote higher order thinking and provide opportunities for students to apply information and ideas. Toward this end, she connects each of her classes to actual students, teachers, and schools through field trips, guest speakers, and classroom projects with Bradley’s professional development schools.


    Dr. Hunzicker's research interests include effective teaching practices, teacher learning, professional development, and teacher leadership. She has experience with qualitative and mixed research methods, including ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, case study, and survey research. Two current research projects include “Engaging Pre-service Teachers: A Comparison of Two Literacy Methods Courses” (in collaboration with Dr. Twila
    Lukowiak, Assistant Professor, Bradley University) and “Using Best Practices to Improve Writing Instruction in Primary Classrooms” (in collaboration with Dr. Cecile Arquette, Associate Professor, Bradley University, and Ann Quinzio-Zafran, NBCT, Coal City Elementary School, Coal City, IL).

    Current refereed publications include “Understanding How and Why College Students Engage in Learning” published in The Journal of Effective Teaching, “Attitude has a lot to do with It: Dispositions of Emerging Teacher Leadership” published in Teacher Development, and a book chapter entitled “Professional Development and Job-embedded Collaboration: How Teachers Learn to Exercise Leadership” published in A. Alexandrou and S. Swaffield’s edited book Teacher Leadership and Professional Development: Perspectives, Connections, and Prospects (New York: Routledge).

    If you have been invited to participate in Part Two of Dr. Hunzicker's Teacher Leadership and Professionalism Study, please click here.


      As William T. Kemper Fellow for Teaching Excellence, Dr. Hunzicker coordinates the Bradley PDS Partnership, a school-university partnership between Bradley’s College of Education and Health Sciences and eight Peoria schools. She also serves as chair for her department’s Recruitment and Retention Committee and as faculty liaison for Bradley’s Golden Apple Scholars. In addition, Dr. Hunzicker serves on several university-level committees, including the University Resources Committee, General Education Subcommittee 4 (Curriculum Models), University Writing Task Force, and Peoria Full Service Community Schools (PFSCS) Advisory Council. Beyond Bradley, she serves as a manuscript reviewer for the Journal on Excellence on College Teaching, Learning Communities Journal, and Educational Research. Since 2003, she has served consecutively on the executive board for Illinois Women in Educational Leadership (IWEL) in various capacities.