Leif Gustavson, PhD

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Dr. Leif Gustavson, Dean, joins the College of Education at Pacific University from Philadelphia, PA where he served as interim Dean of the School of Education at Arcadia University. Leif has a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in Reading, Writing, and Literacy as well as a master’s degree in Literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. Before pursuing his Ph.D., Leif taught middle school language arts and history. While in his Ph.D. program, Leif worked with middle and high school teachers in West Philadelphia to design inquiry and project-based learning curricula as well as developed a reverse-mentoring program where high school students mentored pre-service teachers on how to be effective urban teachers. More recently, Leif has collaborated with K-12 public and private schools to design and implement writing-based curricula which positions teachers and students as writers living writing lives together out in the world. His research focuses on this kind of curricula as well as the intersection of improvisation, teaching, and learning, and how teachers find permission to take risks in their teaching. When not working with his amazing faculty and staff, Leif enjoys tromping through the woods with his unpredictable Aussie; watching Arsenal claw its way up the Premier league table; convincing his family yet again that they should make carnitas, basking in his kids’ myriad interests, and seeking his wife’s sage advice.

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PhD in Education – University of Pennsylvania

MA in Literature – Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College

BA in English – Franklin and Marshall College




Gustavson, L. (2007). Youth Learning on Their Own Terms: Creative Practices and Classroom Teaching. New York: Routledge.


Amoroso, D., Gustavson, L., & Yaffe, C. (2013). Write: Fluency, flexibility, precision – Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Lower School for Girls Sourcebook.

Journal Articles (Refereed)

Baker-Doyle, K & Gustavson, L. (in press). (Giving Ourselves) Permission to Teach: Permission-Seeking, Teacher Collaboration, and Teacher Agency. Journal of Educational Change.

Gustavson, L. & Cytrynbaum, J. (2003). Illuminating spaces: Relational spaces, complicity, and multisited ethnography. Field Methods, 16(3).

Gustavson, L. (2000). Normalizing the text: What is being said, what is not and why in students' conversations of E.L. Konigsburg's The View from Saturday, The Journal of Children’s Literature, 26(1).

Book Chapters

Gustavson, L. (2008). Influencing pedagogy through the creative practices of youth. In Hill, M. & Vesudevan, L. (eds.). Media, Learning, and Sites of Possibility. New York: Peter Lang.

Gustavson, L. & Appelbaum, P. (2005). Youth Cultural Practices, Popular Culture, and Classroom Teaching. In Kincheloe, J. (ed.). Classroom Teaching: An Introduction. New York: Peter Lang.

Gustavson, L. (2002). School’s out!: Bridging out-of-school literacies with classroom practice. Schultz, K. & Hull, G. (Eds.). New York: Teachers College Press.

Other Publications

Gustavson, L. (2013). Keeping yer wits about ya!: Writing from Upper Dublin High School. Qui Vive Press.

Gustavson, L. (2013). Suspicious Maintenance: Open Letters, Memoir, and Flash Fiction by Writers from Sandy Run Middle School. Qui Vive Press.

Gustavson, L. & Doherty, T. (2009). Spring and all: William Carlos Williams and the Objectivists. Philadelphia, Qui Vive Press.

Gustavson, L. & Doherty, T. (2008). Writing nature in the city. Philadelphia: Qui Vive Press.

Recent Presentations/Papers Delivered

Baker-Doyle, K. & Gustavson, L. (2014). (Giving Ourselves) Permission to Teach: Permission-Seeking, Teacher Collaboration, and Teacher Agency. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Gustavson, L. & Baker-Doyle, K (2013). Beyond the Traditional Field Experience Partnership: Collaborative Writing Curriculum Development in a K-12-University Partnership. University of Pennsylvania School of Education 37th Annual Ethnography Forum, Philadelphia, PA.

Gustavson, L. (2011). Metacognition and coaching. Philadelphia Union coaches conference. King of Prussia, PA.

Gustavson, L. & Nichol, P. (2010). Achieving third mind: Collaborative writing with middle school students. National Middle School Association Annual Conference, Baltimore, Maryland.

Gustavson, L. & Scanfield, V. (2010). The art of the remix. Educon. Philadelphia, PA.