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Michelle Zoss

Assistant Professor    

Ph.D. in Language Education, The University of Georgia, 2007
Master of Arts in Curriculum & Teacher Education, Stanford University, 2003
Teacher Certification, K-12 Art and Secondary English, The University of Iowa, 1999
Honors Bachelor of Arts in Art and English, German minor, The University of Iowa, 1996


English Education
Integration of arts with English language arts and literacy education
Aesthetics and experience in education
Teacher education and mentoring
Arts-based approaches to the teaching of English language arts
Qualitative research methods


Michelle Zoss focuses her research and teaching on the integration of visual arts in language arts teaching. Her publications include research on teachers’ curriculum decisions for teaching secondary students to communicate via writing and drawing. She also studied pre-service teachers to examine their uses of metaphors for teaching literacy in urban schools and their understandings of aesthetic experiences. Other publications argue for the need for students to learn to write and draw as they move through the K-12 school system. In 2013, Zoss received the GSU College of Education & Human Development Outstanding Faculty Research Award at the Assistant/Associate Level.

Zoss’s interests in the connection between literacy and visual arts stems from her professional experiences as a teacher and her university education. She taught art and English in elementary and high schools in Las Vegas, Nevada where she was awarded a Southwest Region STAR Educator Award for Clark County Schools and a Journalism Adviser of the Year by Class! magazine. She earned honors bachelor’s degrees in Art and English, with a minor in German, and graduated magna cum laude from The University of Iowa. She also earned certification to teach secondary English and K-12 art at Iowa. At Stanford University she earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Teacher Education. At The University of Georgia she earned a doctoral degree in Language Education and received multiple awards for travel and tuition funding, including the Graduate School Dissertation Completion Assistantship and the Carol J. Fisher Award for Excellence in Graduate Research.


Select Publications
Zoss, M., Holbrook, T., McGrail, E., & Albers, P. (in press). Knotty articulations: Professors and preservice teachers on teaching literacy in urban schools. English Education, 47.

Zoss, M., & White, A. M. (2011). Finding “my kind of teaching”: How a drama project became a teacher’s expressive teaching moment. English in Education 45, 161-175. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-8845.2011.01096.x

Holbrook, T., Moore, C. D., & Zoss, M. (2010). Equitable intent: Reflections on Universal Design in education as an ethic of care. Reflective Practice, 11, 681-692.

Holbrook, T., & Zoss, M. (2009). So why can’t we write AND draw? Thinking visually and verbally in the academy and beyond. NCTE Gallery Document #283656. The National Gallery of Writing. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Zoss, M., Smagorinsky, P., & O’Donnell-Allen, C. (2007). Mask-making as representational process: The situated composition of an identity project in a senior English class. International Journal of Education & the Arts. Retrieved from

Select Conference Presentations

Wood, W., Klein, S., & Zoss, M. (2013, Nov.). (Re)Imagining spaces for social networking and learning. Paper presentation at National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention, Boston, Massachusetts.

Ariail, M., Zoss, M., & Thompson, M. C. (2013, Apr.). Competence, confidence, and control: Shifting identities from student to teacher in a teacher education program. Paper presentation at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California.

Campbell, T., Sowerbrower, K., Johnson, L., Ogletree, T., Smagorinsky, P., & Zoss, M. (2012, Nov.). Integrating common core standards into middle and high school classrooms. Symposium presentation at National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Zoss, M. (2012, Nov.). Literacy in the eyes, hands, and bodies of students: Teaching literacy through the arts in Western and Southern Cities: Visual note-taking for striving readers. Paper presentation at National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Zoss, M., & White, A. M. (2011, Sep.). An expressive teaching moment: How a semiotic-rich project informed one teacher’s experience. Paper presentation at the triennial congress of International Society for Cultural and Activity Research Congress (ISCAR), Rome, Italy.