Skip navigation

Faculty and Leadership


James Cohen, Ph.D.

James Cohen

Ph.D. 2008, Arizona State University, College of Education, Div. of Curriculum & Instruction, concentration in Language and Literacy
M.A.T.E.S.O.L. 1997, School for International Training, Brattleboro, Vermont
B.S., Secondary Education-English. 1990, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

Northern Illinois University (NIU) Latino Resource Center: Recognized as an Exceptional Outreach Professor for the Latino community, May 7, 2015.
NIU Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities Deacon Davis Diversity Award as a member of the NIU College of Education Diversity Committee (2014)
NIU Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities Deacon Davis Diversity Award (2013) (individual recipient)
NIU College of Education Alyce Kramer Marcus Exceptional Teacher Award, Dec. 2012
American Educational Research Association (AERA) Social Contexts of Learning Research Fellowship for Early Career Scholars, Aug. 2006 - 2010
Arizona State University (ASU) University Graduate Fellowship, 2007/8
ASU College of Education Dean’s Fellowship, 2005/6
ASU May Hazlewood LaRue Scholarship Endowment, 2004
ASU Ernestine Lund Nash Scholarship/Fellowship, 2004/5 & 2007/8
ASU University Graduate Award, 2001/2, 2002/3 and 2003/4

Dr. James Cohen, Associate Professor of ESL/Bilingual Education at Northern Illinois University, has made the education of immigrants and culturally and linguistically marginalized students central to his teaching and research. He teaches courses in language and identity, multicultural education, and foundations of language minority education as well as methods of teaching linguistically diverse students. He has received an NIU College of Education exemplary teaching award and several university-wide cultural diversity awards, including one specifically for his outreach to Latino communities. He has published widely in scholarly journals and has been successful in obtaining nearly $6 million of grants.

Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Ed.D.

Samina Hadi-Tabassum

Assistant Professor

B.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University
Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Teachers College, Columbia University

2006 - dissertation of the year award from the National Association of Bilingual Education
2013 - Constance McCullough Award from the International Literacy Association.
2014 - TOEFL Award for an international curriculum development program in India
2016 - American Education Research Association's social service project award for work in early childhood development.

Samina Hadi-Tabassum teaches in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at Northern Illinois University. Her courses focus on ESL methodology, linguistics and literacy development. Recent publications focus on using the inquiry method to teach science and social studies. In addition to her work, Samina has three children and lives with her family in Oak Park, Illinois.


Laurie Elish-Piper, Ph.D.

Laurie Elish-PiperPh.D., Curricular and Instructional Studies, Literacy Education Specialization, The University of Akron, 1995
M.S.Ed., Elementary Education and Reading, Purdue University, 1987
B.S.Ed., Elementary Education and Reading, St. Joseph's College (Indiana), 1985

Presidential Engagement Professor, Northern Illinois University, 2013
Presidential Teaching Professor, Northern Illinois University, 2009

Dr. Laurie Elish-Piper is the Dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. She is a tenured professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, where she has taught undergraduate students in the Elementary Education program, master’s students in the Reading Specialist program and doctoral students in the Curriculum and Instruction program. She served as the director of the Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic for more than a decade and as the co-director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy for eight years. Her research focuses on literacy coaching, professional development for teachers and family involvement in education. Dr. Elish-Piper is an expert in literacy education and has published books, chapters and articles in many professional education journals. She just completed a term on the Board of Directors of the International Literacy Association, and she previously served as president of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers. Prior to her work in higher education, she was an elementary teacher and a middle school reading and language arts teacher.t.

David Walker, Ph.D.

David Walker

Ph.D., Iowa State University of Science and Technology
M.A., Iowa State University of Science and Technology
B.A., St. Olaf College

Virgil S. Lagomarcino Laureate, Iowa State University of Science and Technology 
Fellow, National Center for Education Statistics, National Science Foundation and Association for Institutional Research

Dr. David Walker is the associate dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University and a professor of Educational Research and Assessment. His research interests include statistical code and algorithms, structural analyses, predictive analyses, the general linear model, survey research and program evaluation. He teaches classes in statistics, research design and quantitative methods. Dr. Walker’s research record includes 106 refereed publications, a research methods textbook in its ninth edition, 146 refereed conference presentations, 43 invited presentations/lectures and 215 statistical computer program creations. As a project evaluator and principal investigator, he has been involved in numerous federal- and state-based grants totaling $8.68 million in research funding.

Terry Borg, Ph.D.

Terry Borg

Ph.D., College of Education, Michigan State University
M.A., Sussex European Research Centre, University of Sussex (England)
B.A. with Honors, James Madison College, Michigan State University

Presidential Award for Excellence, Northern Illinois University (2013)
Rotary Foundation Fellow (1978-1979)

Dr. Terry Borg is currently director of Northern Illinois University’s (NIU) College of Education (CoE) External & Global Programs Office. His role in the CoE is to develop regional and international degree program cohorts and events. Through his most recent focus on Asia, Dr. Borg’s work has resulted in producing multiple cultural-educational programs/exchanges for the youth of the Republic of China.   Prior to joining the CoE, Dr. Borg was formerly vice president of the Illinois Council on Economic Education (now Econ Illinois) and director of the Illinois Global Economics & Finance High School, a division of NIU Outreach. Dr. Borg has also held positions with Hewitt Associates, Arthur Andersen LLP, The Pennsylvania State University, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin-Rock County and Michigan State University. His career has focused on learning, performance, instructional design and leadership development. Dr. Borg has taught courses in higher education administration, economics and political science. He has held senior corporate and university appointments; been a consultant for labor unions; is a trustee for the Village of Maple Park, Illinois; and a representative on the Kaneland Community Unit School District #302 Citizens Advisory Council. 

Wei-Chen Hung, Ph.D.

David Walker

Ph.D., Instructional Systems Technology with minor in Information Science, Indiana University-Bloomington
M.S., Media Technology, University of Wisconsin-Stout
B.F.A., Visual and Graphic Design with an emphasis on computer graphics, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Dr. Hung is chair and professor in the Department of Educational Technology, Research & Assessment at NIU. Dr. Hung has conducted and published studies on the use of technology and information architecture to support problem solving and performance improvement. Dr. Hung has served as panel reviewer for National Science Foundation as well as a journal reviewer for a number of peer-review journals. Before joining the NIU faculty, Dr. Hung was director of learning and performance technology for a health organization where he had been active in grant project development and evaluation, and instructional system design and development. He was also a consultant for IBM’s training division (Skills Dynamics) to assist with needs and task analysis and instructional design on skill-based training, and a project manager for developing database management systems and web portals for the National Reading Conference and National Women’s Resource Center. Dr. Hung is one of the principal investigators for a NSF grant to develop a scenario-based software simulation for research methods using visual dialogue metaphor, and an educational specialist for a NASA-supported educational grant project to disseminate scientific data to the public.