Joanne R. Nurss

Joanne R. Nurss Endowed Scholarship in Life-Long Literacy

Georgia State University recruited Joanne R. Nurss in 1969 to start the Early Childhood Education department (now known as Early Childhood and Elementary Education). She spent most of her career educating teachers and working in programs for young children, adult literacy, and English as an additional language.

During her time at GSU she conducted extensive research and published numerous articles, gaining international recognition for her work. She served as the chair for the Early Childhood Education Department for many years. She also served as director of the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy, a center with a mission to link theory and practice through research, professional development, and community partnerships. Dr. Nurss was a strong advocate for life-long literacy as a way to empower those in need.

Throughout her life, Dr. Nurss was a strong supporter of the fine arts and traveled widely. Her experiences in other parts of the world enriched her teaching, research and volunteer work. After retirement, she devoted countless hours to improving the lives of others by volunteering with a variety of organizations. She didn’t just speak about her beliefs, she was always eager to help those who struggled.

This scholarship is being created in memory of Dr. Joanne R. Nurss and will provide support to graduate students who are committed to a focus on early literacy, adult literacy, and/or the acquisition of English as an additional language.


The Joanne R. Nurss Endowed Scholarship in Life-Long Literacy

Photo of Joanne R. Nurss

I. Purpose

The Joanne R. Nurss Endowed Scholarship in Life-Long Literacy was established by Martha Abbott-Shim, in memory of Dr. Joanne R. Nurss, who founded Georgia State University’s Early Childhood Education Department and was critical to its success, and the success of its students.  The Joanne R. Nurss Endowed Scholarship in Life-Long Literacy will provide a monetary award to a graduate student, in good academic standing, who is focusing on early literacy, adult literacy, and/or the acquisition of English as an additional language.

II. Award Process & Criteria

A committee established by the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development or his/her designee will determine the number and recipients(s) of the award(s).

The recipients(s) of the award must:

  • be in good academic standing at Georgia State University;
  • be pursuing a graduate degree focusing on early literacy, adult literacy, or the acquisition of English as an additional language; and
  • have demonstrated financial need as determined by the GSU Office of Financial Aid.
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