Donna L. Pasternak teaches middle and secondary English education courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and directs the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Writing Project, an affiliate site of the National Writing Project. From 2001 through 2011, she directed the Early Adolescence through Adolescence English Education program at UWM.
With four colleagues from universities across the US, she is involved in a nationwide study of the teaching of the English Language Arts (ELA) methods (teaching practices) course. The study is comprised of four parts: (1) a national survey of English teacher educators that addresses the content and context of the methods class at institutions of higher education, (2) syllabi from those courses, (3) focus group interviews of English teacher educators, and (4) a pilot study of the practices used by teacher candidates in the field. The stages of this study will build a comprehensive description of English teacher preparation in the US, leading to an understanding of what ELA content and pedagogies support English teachers to be effective in their classrooms.
Her scholarship has focused on the integration of technology into the teaching of the ELA, the teaching of literature and writing, Adolescent Literature, and critical inquiry and teacher development. In addition to publishing in these areas, she has a scholarly interest in war literature and has published on the works of Tim O'Brien and Robert Stone.
Pasternak was the Fulbright Roving Scholar in American Studies in Norway. Sponsored by Fulbright and the Norwegian Ministry of Education, she worked with Norwegian American studies teachers and their students at their schools and teacher conferences. A former President of the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English, Pasternak serves on the Executive Board of the Modern Language Association’s Division on the Teaching of Literature, is a member of the MLA’s President’s Committee on K-16 Initiatives, and is the Policy Analyst for the state of Wisconsin for the National Council of Teachers of English.
Pasternak earned her B.S. in Secondary Education: Communication with a specialization in Literature from Lock Haven University. She received her M.A. degree and Ph.D. in English and American Literature from New York University.