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Denise Morgan named Goodnight Distinguished Professor of Early Literacy

denise morgan

Denise Morgan

By Julia Duvall

After nearly 20 years at an institution, it would be hard to pick everything up and move to a new school and a new state.

Denise Morgan, Western Carolina University’s newly announced Goodnight Distinguished Professor of Early Literacy did just that.

After nearly 20 years as a professor of literacy education at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, Morgan decided to move to the mountains to be closer to her parents in Morganton as well as start a new adventure at WCU.

“As a child, I lived in North Carolina for a few years, so I was familiar with the area and was excited to come back and embark on this new adventure at WCU.

In January, Morgan was hired as the Goodnight Distinguished Professor in Early Literacy at WCU. 

Named for Ann B. and James H. Goodnight, the WCU College of Education and Allied Professions fund is used to elevate how the University of North Carolina System institutions are ensuring well-prepared teachers of reading and support.

“I always loved reading and writing and when I was teaching early on in my career in Illinois, those were always my favorite subjects to teach,” Morgan said.

In addition to her duties at WCU, Morgan serves as an adviser for the UNC System’s literacy initiatives and is part of a state network of endowed professors.

“Dr. Morgan dove right in and engaged with faculty on curricular changes and improvements to our literacy courses,” said Kim Winter, dean of WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions. “She is currently teaching a newly developed course in the teaching of reading and is heavily invested in our ongoing continuous improvement.”

Morgan directed the Kent State Reading and Writing Development Center, which provides services to school-aged students and adults with reading and reading-related difficulties from 2010 until her departure.

“Teaching is challenging and I want to find creative ways to support our teachers,” Morgan said. “I am excited to find ways to get teachers the resources they need so they and their students succeed in literacy.”

“I am honored to hold this position; everyone at WCU has been so welcoming,” Morgan said. “Switching from one institution after nearly two decades is quite a change, but everyone at WCU has made the transition very smooth.”

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