Joined USJ: 2015
An experienced teacher and researcher, Ashley Oldham, Ph.D., was drawn to the University of Saint Joseph’s small, but passionate community. Previously a faculty research associate at the University of Connecticut, her work centered on beginning readers and students at risk for language and learning disabilities. As a middle school Special Education teacher earlier in her career, Oldham noticed that students’ literacy problems originated at young ages. As a result of this awareness, she focused on establishing effective literacy instruction methods for young students. “If they are given research- and evidence-based strategies specific to struggling readers, they can develop early literacy foundational skills in a way that will help them with instruction in comprehension, writing, and content,” Oldham said.
Oldham’s dedication to improving the education system is reflected not only in her research and teaching, but in the way she connects the two. As a part of the Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative, she implements whole-school models for reading instruction, intervention, and assessment in schools across Connecticut. Now, she connects her USJ students to the pilot schools, creating mutually beneficial and collaborative relationships. “We have these amazing women and men who want to learn and want to be mentored as teachers,” Oldham said. “And the schools have a lot of students who really benefit from one-on-one attention and instruction.”
While helping her students gain important field experience, Oldham also provides simultaneous in-class instruction that addresses challenges students might experience in the field. Dedicated to student-centered, individualized teaching and mentoring, Oldham models teaching practices for her students, always instilling in them an understanding that a teacher’s education extends beyond graduation day. “I try to encourage my students to understand that you never really arrive as a teacher,” Oldham explained. “It’s a constant journey of learning and reflecting, adapting and responding.”
Ph.D., M.A., B.A., University of Connecticut