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VALRC Celebrates Drs. Rolander & Watson

The Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center (VALRC) is very happy to celebrate and share the news that two of our specialists, Kate Daly Rolander and Susan Watson, have recently earned doctorates in education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Both focused on adult learning in their Ph.D. studies and continue to bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their work with adult educators across the state.

Dr. Watson

Dr. Watson’s dissertation, Exploring Literacies in the Assemblage of English for Speakers of Other Languages Classrooms, looks at experiences of language and literacy learning in adulthood. Her research interest is second language teaching and learning, especially for adults with limited reading and writing skills in their first language. She also holds an M.Ed. in adult literacy from VCU, a TESL graduate certificate from George Mason University, and a Virginia ESOL certification. She has taught adults in a variety of settings, including in the military and health care industries, and spent three years as an EFL instructor in Japan. Since coming to Virginia in 2007, she has taught ESOL for Prince William County Schools Adult Education Program and Northern Virginia Community College Workforce Development Division; she also teaches a course on the foundations of American education as adjunct faculty at VCU. As VALRC’s ESOL Specialist, Dr. Watson coordinates, designs, and delivers ESOL teach professional development that aligns with state and federal initiatives as well as local interests and needs.

photo of Drs. Rolander & Watson

Dr. Rolander

Dr. Rolander’s dissertation is entitled An Exploration of Identity Negotiation in Adult English Learners’ Communities of Practice. Her research interests and publications center on the ways adult learners interact and behave in their many communities and how those interactions shape identity, motivation, and learning. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Arizona in Tucson and a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Northern Arizona University. She has taught English language acquisition at community colleges in Richmond and Phoenix, in the Ukraine, and with Richmond area refugee resettlement programs. As Workforce Education Specialist at VALRC, she supports Virginia’s development and implementation of career pathways programs, supports instructors and staff in tailoring instruction for workforce readiness, and coordinates PluggedInVA programs.