Beth Schurman

Chair of English Department & Director, Writing Center

Dr. Schurman serves as chair of the Department of English. She is passionate about training the next generation of English teachers. She does that from two perspectives: as an experienced high school English teacher and as a higher education teaching professional. She also teaches in the Honors Program and supports students throughout the culminating scholarship project.

Before joining Olivet’s faculty, she taught English and writing, as well as speech, mythology and broadcast communications at Manteno High School. She also coached swimming at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School.

In 2006, after three years at MHS, she came to Olivet as an adjunct professor. Currently, she teaches college writing, young adult literature, reading process and skills, and English education methods. She also works with student teachers, observing them in their assigned classrooms.

Dr. Schurman is an accomplished writer and speaker with these achievements:

  • Second place in the Kneale Award for Pedagogy category in Purdue University’s 2012 Annual Literary Awards Contest for “The Role of Service-Learning in Teacher Education: Creating Servant Leaders”
  • “Second Reaction: A Classic Young Adult Fantasy Piece,” published in First Opinions, Second Reactions (2008)
  • “From service-learning to servant leaders: A rationale for service-learning in teacher education programs” appeared in the Illinois English Bulletin, 102(2), 53-82

Her presentations at professional conferences include:

  • “Fostering Candidate Advocacy through University-School Collaborative Projects” (2016). Presented at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference.
  • “Shrink the Ratio and Increase Reading: Using University-High School Collaborations to Enhance the Effectiveness of Lit Circles” (2016). Co-presented at the Illinois Association of Teachers of English Conference.
  • “Third Spaces in Service Learning: Teacher Education Students’ Engagement with Cultural Difference” (2015). Presented at Olivet’s Scholar Week.
  • “Creating Critical Spaces in the 5-12 Classroom” (2012), presented for Midwest Association of Teacher Educators.
  • “Service-Learning: A Junior High School and University Collaboration” (2011), presented for Illinois Association of Teachers of English.
  • “Teacher as Researcher? Navigating the Dual Roles of Teacher and Researcher in the Classroom,” (2011), presented for Purdue University’s 5th Annual Graduate Student Educational Research Symposium (AGSERS).
  • “Teaching in a Third Space: Eliminating the Mind/Body Dichotomy in the Classroom” (2010), presented for National Conference of Teachers of English.
  • “Think Before You Speak Write” (2008) on the connection between critical thinking and writing, co-presented for Olivet’s Professional Development Day for Teachers.

She is a member of NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), IRA (International Reading Association) and IATE (Illinois Association of Teachers of English).

Read Dr. Shurman’s curriculum vitae here.

Finding Dr. Schurman with a book in her hand probably wouldn’t be surprising. For fresh air and exercise, she enjoys the outdoors, especially running, biking and camping.

She and her husband, Jeff, have four children: two sons, Ethan and Emmett, and two daughters, Farrah and Faith.