Donita Massengill Shaw

Associate Professor
Primary office:
323 Joseph R. Pearson Hall

Donita Massengill Shaw, associate professor, joined the KU Curriculum & Teaching faculty in the fall of 2002. Dr. Shaw earned her B.S. in Elementary Education and M.A. in Reading Education from Andrews University. Her Ph.D. was awarded from the University of Kansas.


Donita’s primary research interests are adult literacy and teacher education. She is specifically interested in helping adult education students reach their academic goals. Dr. Shaw is also passionate about preparing future and current teachers so they are well-qualified to teach literacy. Donita has published research in Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Reading Psychology, and Reading Research and Instruction. She has presented research at the International Reading Association Conference and the Literacy Research Association Conference (formerly the National Reading Conference).

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction; specialization - reading, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 2002
  • M.A., Reading Education, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, 1994
  • B.S., Elementary Education, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, 1993


Adult Literacy, Literacy Interventions, Teacher Education


Dept Number Course Name
C&T 359 Basic Processes of Reading
C&T 448 Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum
C&T 740 Foundations of Reading
C&T 844 The Reading Program
An update on C&T faculty-conducted research: Last May, Dr. Barbara Bradley was awarded a $135,000 grant from the National Endowment for Financial Education to study young children's development of financial and college-bound identities. The project is collaborative with researchers from the School of Social Welfare, the Departments of Sociology and Linguistics, & the School of Education. Her study is part of a larger project providing savings accounts and financial education to kindergartners in the LPS and following the children and their family members for several years to look at outcomes related to financial and college-bound identity formation in 2 experimental groups and one control group.
“The whole issue of diversity has changed," said Novak:

Why KU
  • Associate professor Diane Nielsen involved in $120 million project to overhaul how reading is taught to children by 2015
  • School of Education is 10th among public universities for its master’s and doctoral programs
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • 3.35: average GPA of students admitted to teacher education program
  • All teacher education programs accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • All teacher education programs accredited by the Kansas State Department of Education
  • Alumni have been named Kansas Teacher of the Year
  • Alumni have received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the Horizon Award