Dr. Deb Van Duinen

Arnold and Esther Sonneveldt Professor of Education
Profile photo of Dr. Deb Van Duinen

Deborah Vriend Van Duinen joined the Hope College faculty in 2010. She was given the Towsley Research Scholar award in 2013 and in 2014 became the program director of NEA Big Read Lakeshore, a community-wide reading program that takes place in November. She received the 2016 Michigan Reading Association's Individual Literacy Award for her leadership with The Big Read and with English education.

She frequently collaborates with English education students and area English high school teachers on research projects and conference presentations. She has been on the board of editors for Reformed Journal since 2012 and serves on the boards of Ready for School and Opportunity Thrive. She is also a member of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English Executive Committee.

Visit NEA Big Read Lakeshore online 

AREAS OF expertise 

Deborah writes and teaches in the area of English education, disciplinary literacy, young adult literature and adolescent literacy. In her work with preservice teachers, Deborah emphasizes inquiry-based teaching and reflective practices.


  • Ph.D., curriculum, instruction and teacher education, Michigan State University, 2011
  • M.A., curriculum and instruction, Calvin College, 2002
  • B.A. in English, religion and theology, Calvin College 1998


  • The Big Read Grant – Program Director, National Endowment for the Arts with Arts Midwest
    • $15,000 grant to support a community-wide reading of Station Eleven, 2018
    • $13,500 grant to support a community-wide reading of When The Emperor Was Divine, 2017
    • $16,000 grant to support a community-wide reading of Brother I’m Dying, 2016
    • $16,200 grant to support a community-wide reading of The Things They Carried, 2015
    • $16,000 grant to support a community-wide reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, 2014
  • Christian Scholars Foundation Grant – Emerging Scholars Network grant, $7,500 to support a young adult literature research project, Christian Scholars Foundation, Emerging Scholars Network, 2015
  • Great Lakes Colleges Association Library of Congress Grant, $2,500 to support faculty-student digital humanities collaborative research, Great Lakes Colleges Association, 2013
  • Great Lakes Colleges Association New Directions Grant, $6,345 awarded for professional development with colleague Dr. Jane Finn, Great Lakes Colleges Association, 2013

Selected Publications

  • “Purposeful Reflections: Scaffolding Preservice Teachers’ Field Placement Observations,” with E. Hamilton, The Teacher Educator, 53:4, in press
  • “Discussing War-related Death and Trauma Through Storytelling in The Things They Carried,” with G. Rumhor-Voskuil, in Moving Beyond Personal Loss to Societal Grieving: Discussing Death's Social Impact Through Literature in the Secondary ELA Classroom, M.M. Falter and S. Bickmore (eds.), Rowman & Littlefield, 2018
  • “Sponsoring Ways of Being: Adolescent Boys Religious Literacy Practices,” Boyhood Studies, 10:2, 2017
  • “Boy Troubles? Male Literacy Depictions in Children’s Choice Picture Books,” with K. Gritter, K. Montgomery and D. Bishop, The Reading Teacher, 7:5, 2017
  • “Reading and Challenging Constructions Together: The Mother-Daughter Book Club as Affinity Space,” with E.R. Hamilton and G. Rumohr-Voskuil, Voices From the Middle, 24:4, 2017
  • “From the living room to the classroom: Showing off insider sport knowledge,” in A. Brown and L. Rodesiler (eds.), Developing Contemporary Literacies through Sports: A Guide for the English Classroom, National Council of Teachers of English, 2016
  • “Reading To Kill a Mockingbird in Community: Relationships and Renewal,” with Bolhuis, A., English Journal, January, 2016
  • “‘Who are Our Mockingbirds?’: Participatory Literacies in a Community-Wide Reading Program,” with Schoon-Tanis, K., Journal of Language and Literacy Education 11.1 (listen to the podcast)
  • “Craigslist, LEGO and Wakeboarding: Examining the out-of-school sponsorship of early adolescent boys’ literacy practices,” Research on Teaching and Learning with the Literacies of Young Adolescents, Information Age Publishing, 2015
  • “More Complicated Than You Think: Exploring the relationships between teen boys’ identities and their sports-related literacy practices,” Journal of Sport and Society 3.3, 2013
  • “Teen Boys’ Overlooked and Undervalued Literacy Practices,” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57.1, 2013
  • “Holding the words in our mouths,” with Wilson, M., English Journal, 97.3, 2008
  •  “Strategies that improve adolescents’ performance with content-area tests,” with Conley, M., Freidhoff, J., Gritter, K., in Meeting the Challenge of Adolescent Literacy: Research We Have, Research We Need, The Guilford Press, 2008

Outside the College

Deborah is married to Jon Van Duinen and has four pretty fantastic kids – Claire, David, Jacob and Eli. Proud of her Canadian heritage, she is a huge Toronto Maple Leafs and Blue Jays fan and celebrates Canadian Thanksgiving every October with her Hope students. That’s pretty neat, eh? She is an active member of Third Reformed Church.

She loves reading so much that she is part of four book clubs, including a mother-daughter and a mother-son book club.

Profile photo of Dr. Deb Van Duinen
Dr. Deb Van Duinen

Phone Number616.395.7737

VanZoeren Hall Room 283 41 Graves Place Holland, MI 49423-3617
A map showing the location for Dr. Deb Van Duinen VanZoeren Hall Room 283 41 Graves Place Holland MI 49423-3617