Skip to Main Content

John W White

Associate Professor | English Education; President, UNF Faculty Association

Teaching, Learning & Curriculum | College of Education & Human Services

Areas of Expertise

English Language Arts and content area reading; academic and social discourse processes; cultural and linguistic hegemony; urban education.

Founder and Director, Seven Bridges Writing Project

President of the UNF Faculty Association (faculty governance) & member of the UNF Board of Trustees.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Colorado at Boulder, Literacy, 2004

Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, Curriculum & Instruction, English Education, 2003

M.A., Southern Methodist University, English, 1996

B.A., University of North Carolina at Greensboro, English, 1993

B.A., Wake Forest University, Political Science, 1990


Florida Professional Teacher License in 6-12 English Language Arts and 6-12 Social Studies.


I am a professor of literacy, secondary English methods, and the foundations of education at the University of North Florida. I have two primary strands of research and writing (though they overlap in myriad ways). 


First, I examine ways to broaden “what counts” as legitimate literature, language, and writing in the English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms. I posit that to reach and engage today’s secondary students in the ELA curricula, we must begin to embrace new conceptions of literacy; we must increasingly make use of young adult literature and graphic novels, integrate popular culture into the curriculum, encourage students to use modern technology and creativity to demonstrate learning, and teach and encourage critical literacy. 


My other research focus is on language uses (discourse processes) and their connections to power, to cognition/identity, to social justice, and to access to and success in formal academic settings such as schools. ELA teachers and schools more generally tend to authorize one form of discourse--academic discourse--over all other equally valid ways of knowing, speaking, and thinking. Rather than being the 'grammar police,' ELA teachers should instead demonstrate the value and beauty inherent in discourses and help students code switch or code mesh between discourses depending upon their contexts.


My teaching includes undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of secondary school English methods, reading methods, and the foundations of education (Introduction to Education, Multicultural Education, History and Philosophy of Education). I also work with graduate students on independent study projects and research in the areas described below. Some of my graduate students’ work has been been published and has been presented at regional and national educational conferences. I taught public high school at an inner-city school in Denver and spent a year directing a literacy program at an Elementary school in Colorado.


See also


Recipient, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (UNF), 2019

Recipient, Outstanding University Service Award (UNF), 2016

Recipient, NEA Democracy in Education Award, 2016

Recipient, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (UNF), 2012 

Ignatian Scholar, Regis University, 2007-2008

Colorado Political Leaders Fellowship, 2007-2008

Education Scholarship, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1999-2002

Teaching Fellowship, Southern Methodist University, 1995-1996   

Academic Scholarship in English, Southern Methodist University, 1994-1996


National Council of Teachers of English / International Reading Association (NCTE/IRA)

Conference on English Education (CEE)

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

Sigma Tau Delta (National English Honor Society)

Florida Association of Teacher Educators (FATE)

United Faculty of Florida (UFF)

National Education Association (NEA)

Florida Educator Association (FEA)

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

Grants and Contracts Awarded

2016. Faculty Foundation Grant: Interdisciplinary Curriculum Writing. $26,000.

2016. U.S. Department of Education Grant ($2,200,000). Primary Grant Writer. (Note: I was listed as Co-PI on the grant but withdrew following the grant acceptance.) ESOL Career Ladder and Student Success.

2011. Transformational Learning Opportunity Grant (UNF) to fund international student teacher exchange, Jacksonville-Belize ($16,000).

2010. Transformational Learning Opportunity Grant (UNF) to fund international teacher exchange program to London (graduate students) ($6500).

2009. University of North Florida Foundation Grant (Transformational Learning Opportunity) to fund international   teacher exchange program (graduate students) ($5000).

1998. Technology Grant, Amoco Foundation ($45,000).

Publications & Presentations


(visit for full text articles)




White, J.W. & Ali-Khan, C. (2020). Sex and sexuality in the Language Arts classroom. English Education (summer 2020).


McGinley, W., Kamberelis, G., & White, J.W. (accepted for publication). Roles of affect and imagination in reading and responding to literature: Reclaiming the humanities in the English classroom. Educational Philosophy and Theory Journal.


White, J.W., Aragon, S.R., and Pascale, A. (2020). Collegiate    cultural capital and integration into the college community. College Student Affairs Journal.


Ali-Khan, C., & White, J.W. (2019). Between hope and despair: Teacher education in the Trump era. Educational Philosophy and Theory Journal.


White, J.W. (2018). Poems, Artifacts, Ambiguity: William Butler Yeats and Beer Goggles. English Journal, 108(2), 55-61


Proffitt, J. & White, J.W. (2017, Winter). Preventing violence or promulgating fear? ALEC, the NRA, and guns on campus. Thought & Action. 33(1), 11-27

White, J.W., Ali-Khan, C., & Zoellner, B. (2017). Deconstructing meritocracy in the college classroom. College Teaching, 65(2), 1-15.


White, J.W., & Chant, R.H. (2014). Challenging idealism: Pre-service teachers’ core beliefs before, during, and after an extended field-based experience. Teacher Education Quarterly, 41(2).


White, J.W., & Hungerford-Kresser, H. (2014, May). Character journaling through social networks: Exemplifying tenets of the New Literacy Studies. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(8), 642-654.

White, J.W., & Ali-Khan, C. (2013). The role of academic discourse in minority students’ academic assimilation. American Secondary Education, 42(1), 24-42.


White, J.W. (2012). Can I Get an Amen? The Black Gospel Church as Discourse Community, Pedagogy, and Model of Code Meshing. Journal of Languages and Cultures, 3(6), 96-111.


White, J.W. (2012). Round peg, square Hole: Trying to bridge PDS models and nontraditional teacher education. School University Partnerships, 5(1), 40-56.


White, J.W. (2011). Resistance to classroom participation: Minority students, academic discourse, cultural conflicts, and issues of representation in whole class discussions. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education 10(4), 250-265.


White, J.W. (2011). De-centering English in the English classroom: Using texts to highlight the dynamic nature of the English language and to promote the teaching of code-switching. English Journal 100(4), 44-49.


Black, K.L.* & White, J.W. (2011). Deedle-deedle everyone: Creating a school-wide curriculum based upon a musical. Teaching Theater, 21(2), 12-20.


White, J.W., & Lowenthal, P.R. (2011). Minority college students and tacit “codes of power”: Developing academic discourses and identities. The Review of Higher Education, 34(2), 283-318.


White, J.W., & Lowenthal, P.R. (2009, Spring). The cyclical rhetoric of educational reform and the rationalization of a failed zeitgeist. eJournal of Educational Policy.


White, J.W. (2009). Reading “The Word and the World”: The double-edged sword of teaching critical literacy. Voices from the Middle, 17(2), 55-57.

White, J.W. (2005). Sociolinguistic challenges to minority collegiate success: Entering the discourse community of the college. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 6 (4), 369-393.

McGinley, W., Conley, K., & White, J.W. (2000). Pedagogy for the few: Book club discussion guides and the modern book industry as literacy teacher. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 44(3), 204-214.


Book Chapters

Ali-Khan, C., and White, J.W. (2020). Confronting disembodiment in public schooling. In Kress, T., C. Emdin, & B. Lake (Eds.), Critical pedagogy for healing: A soul revival of teaching and learning.  Bloomsbury Publishers.


White, J.W. (2012). From textbooks to ‘managed instructional systems’: Corporate control of the English Language Arts. In H. Hickman and B. Porfilio (Eds.). The new politics of the textbook: A project of critical examination and resistance(pp. 193-212). Boston: Sense Publishers.


White, J.W. (2007). Sociolinguistic challenges to minority collegiate success: Entering the discourse community of the college. In A. Seidman (Ed.), Minority Student Retention: The Best of the Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice (pp. 271-295). Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Company.

Contact Information

Building 57, Room 2319

(904) 620-1244


Office Hours

by appointment