Educating Bilingual Learners Online Program Faculty: Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth Howard, Associate Professor

Academic Degrees:
EdD Human Development and Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2003
MA Educational Psychology, University of California at Berkeley, 1993
BA Spanish Language and Literature, University of Maryland, 1987

Areas of Expertise:
Dual Language Education
Biliteracy Development
Emergent Bilingual Learners

Dr. Howard is an associate professor of bilingual education in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches graduate courses on linguistic and cultural diversity and conducts research focusing on dual language education, biliteracy development, and the preparation of teachers to work with multilingual learners. She has served as a principal investigator of several large-scale federally funded research projects exploring various aspects of the literacy development of bilingual learners, often in the context of dual language programs. Her books include Realizing the vision of two-way immersion: Fostering effective programs and classrooms, Preparing classroom teachers to succeed with second language learners, and Culturally and linguistically responsive education: Designing networks that transform schools. She is also the lead author of a number of professional resources for dual language educators, including Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education, the Dual Language Program Planner, the Two-Way Immersion Toolkit, and the Two-Way Immersion Observation Protocol. Previously, she has worked as a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Linguistics and as a bilingual teacher in California and Costa Rica.


UConn Online Graduate Certificate in Educating Bilingual Learners, Michele Back

Michele Back, Associate Professor, World Languages Education

Academic Degrees:

  • PhD (Distinction). University of Wisconsin, Madison, Second language acquisition (Minor: Spanish)
  • 2009. Dissertation: “We did the wrong dance:” Ecuadorians negotiating identity in transnational contexts. Supervisor: Richard F. Young, Department of English.
  • MA University of California, Berkeley, Hispanic Languages and Literatures, 1995
  • BA (summa cum laude) University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Spanish (Minor: LAS), 1992


    Areas of Expertise:
    Quechua varieties
    Second Language Acquisition
    Discourse Analysis

    Dr. Back joined UConn as an Assistant Professor, World Languages Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Neag School of Education in 2015. Prior to this, she served as Assistant Professor, Spanish Linguistics, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. She also served as a visiting professor and lecturer at the University of California, Riverside, from 2006-2013. Her fields of interest include world language teacher education, advocacy, recruitment, and professionalization; Translanguaging and home language use in the school; additional language learning, use and socialization; peer tutoring; study abroad; transnational and multilingual identity; language, race, and discourse. Dr. Back is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Ecuadorian Quichua, and French, and worked in several countries, including Mexico, Peru, Brazil, and Mozambique. She has conducted extensive research, focusing on how educators and learners negotiate and construct identity and pedagogy in transcultural, translingual contexts. Dr. Back has also published two books that stem from her interest in the role of different communities of practice on language learning, use, and maintenance.


    UConn Online Graduate Certificate in Educating Bilingual Learners, Danielle Filipiak

    Danielle Filipiak, Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction

    Academic Degrees:
    PhD, Teachers College, Columbia University
    MA, Michigan State University
    BA, Michigan State University

    Areas of Expertise:
    Literacy and English Education in Plural Contexts
    Civic Learning and Critical Digital Literacies
    Identity Construction of Urban School Administrators and Academic Achievement

    Danielle Filipiak is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of the Secondary English Education Program at the University of Connecticut. She also serves as the Curriculum Director for Cyphers for Justice, a youth and teacher development program housed at Columbia University that apprentices young people as critical social researchers through multiple literacies, hip hop and spoken word. She has nearly 20 years of experience working in city schools, including a decade of teaching and activism in Detroit, MI as well as schools and higher ed institutions across New York City and Connecticut. Her work has been featured in publications such as English Journal, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and Theory Into Practice and a variety of  publications through the National Writing Project, including a co-edited book, “Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom.” Punctuated by a collaborative, participatory approach, Dr. Filipiak’s scholarship and teaching invites those working in educational spaces to reimagine curriculum and pedagogy in ways that honor the voices, imaginations, and knowledge of the communities and students they serve.


    Educating Bilingual Learners 100% Online Program Faculty: Eileen Gonzalez

    Eileen González, PhD, Alum and adjunct professor from the University of Saint Joseph, Connecticut

    Academic Degrees:
    PhD, University of Connecticut
    MA, University of Connecticut
    BS, Central Connecticut State University

    Dr. González joined the School of Arts, Sciences, Business, and Education at the University of Saint Joseph in 2018 as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Education/Special Education. In 2003, she received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from UConn and to date, has completed more than 23 years in education, including 13 years of classroom teaching experience and 10 years in higher education. Dr. González is focused on conducting research that examines the dispositions, beliefs, and instructional practices of teachers working with English Language Learners while participating in the TESOL program. An EL herself when she moved from Puerto Rico to the United States, Dr. González remains dedicated to enhancing the educational agenda for all students. She will serve as a guest faculty member of the Educating Bilingual Learners Online Graduate Certificate Program at UConn.