Maria Dantas-Whitney

Professor, Education & Leadership

503-838-8636 |
RWEC 223

Personal Website

At WOU since


Course schedule

Fall 2022
11352 ED200 SPANISH - FOUNDATIONS OF ED TR 1400-1520 RWEC 107
10574 ED481 INTRO ESOL BIL ED SPANISH R 1700-1950 RWEC 208



  • Ph.D. in Education, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
  • M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona
  • B.A. in English and Portuguese, Universidade Santa Ursula, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Teaching focus

  • Teacher Education, ESOL and Bilingual Education

Grants and funding

  • 2011-2016: U.S. Department of Education, National Professional Development Program, “Project SPELL (Sustainable Practices for English Language Learners).” Principal Investigator and Project Director. ($1,915,069)
  • 2014-2015: Oregon Department of Education, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Practices Grant, “Project High Five: Culture, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication, and Community. ”Principal Investigator and Project Co-Director with C. Hughes ($200,000)
  • 2012-2013: University/School Partnership Title II-A Grant-“Project LUISA (Language Understanding to Improve Student Achievement).” Project Director& Co-Principal Investigator with C. Cáceda ($172,984)
  • 2011: Major Project Research Grant, Western Oregon University. “Schooling Practices in English Language Education in Oaxaca, Mexico.”($2,130)
  • 2004-2012: Travel Faculty Development Grants, Western Oregon University. (from $775 to $2100 yearly)
  • 2008-2009: Fulbright-García Robles Senior Scholar Award, “Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Mexico: Building Expertise and Improving Practice.” TEFL Lecturing/Research at Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, Mexico.($35,700)

Professional experience

  • Professor (2012-present)
  • Associate Professor (2007-2012)
  • Assistant Professor (2004-2007). Division of Teacher Education, College of Education, Western Oregon University. Monmouth, Oregon. Coordinator of ESOL and Bilingual/ESOL endorsement programs.
  • 2012-Present: Chair (2013-present); Interim Chair (2012-2014),Division of Teacher Education, Western Oregon University
  • 2014-Present: Co-director, Project High Five (Culture, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication, and Community), Western Oregon University
  • 2012-2013: Director, Project LUISA (Language Understanding to Improve Student Achievement), Western Oregon University
  • 2011: summer Visiting Professor, International Program, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina. Sponsored by Northwest Council on Study Abroad
  • 2008-2009: Visiting Professor/Senior Fulbright Scholar, Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárezde Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 2000-2005: summers Adjunct Instructor, School of Education, Oregon State University
  • 1990-2004: ESL Instructor, English Language Institute, Oregon State University
  • 2003-2004: summers Director, COMEXUS/SEP (Fulbright-sponsored) Program for Mexican EFL Secondary Educators, Oregon State University

Dr. Maria Dantas-Whitney is Professor of ESOL and Bilingual Education at Western Oregon University. Originally from Brazil, Dr. Dantas-Whitney has taught ESL and teacher education for over 25 years in Colorado, North Carolina and Oregon. She has been a Fulbright scholar in Mexico (2008-2009) and in Panama (2016-2017), where she conducted ethnographic classroom-based research in primary and secondary schools, taught courses for her host institutions, and offered professional development opportunities for local teachers and educational leaders. She has directed several grant projects (sponsored by the federal and state governments), which provided professional development activities for Oregon K-12 teachers such as coursework, mentoring and guidance on classroom-based research.

Dr. Dantas-Whitney is the recipient of the AERA Outstanding Dissertation Award in Second Language Research and the TESOL/College Board Award for Teacher as Classroom Researcher. She has served as president of Oregon TESOL and ORATE (Oregon Association for Teacher Educators). Her publications and presentations focus on linguistically and culturally responsive pedagogy in teacher education, critical reflective practice, and classroom ethnography.

Awards and honors

  • 2012 Promotion to Professor, Western Oregon University
  • 2012 Alma and Mario Pastega Award for Excellence in Teaching, Western Oregon University
  • 2012 Inducted into WOU Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
  • 2008-2009 Fulbright-GarcíaRobles Senior Scholar Award, TEFL Lecturing/Research at Universidad
  • Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 2007  Tenure award and promotion to Associate Professor, Western Oregon University
  • 2004  AERA Outstanding Dissertation Award in Second Language Research
  • 2004  TESOL/College Board Award for Teacher as Classroom Researcher

Graduate courses taught

  • ED 603 Thesis and Professional Project
  • ED 630 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in the Schools
  • ED 631 Methodology: Second Language Learning and Content
  • ED 633 Research and Writing
  • ED 683 Fostering Cultural and Community Connections in ESOL/Bilingual
  • ED 684 Language Acquisition and Educational Linguistics
  • ED 691 Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Strategies for ELLs
  • ED 692 Classroom Strategies in First and Second Language Reading & Writing

Undergraduate courses taught

  • ED 446D Environments for Diverse Learners
  • ED 483D Culture, Community and the ESOL/Bilingual Classroom
  • ED 484D First and Second Language Acquisition and Educational Linguistics
  • ED 491D Curriculum Models, Instructional Approaches and Assessment Strategies for ELLs
  • ED 492D Teaching Reading and Writing to ESOL and Bilingual Students

Publications and Presentations

  • Dantas-Whitney, M. (2012). Using qualitative methods in second language teaching and teacher education. In M. Lengeling, I.M. Pablo, & J.A. Shanahan(Eds.). Qualitative research and interpretation. Selection of articles from the third international qualitative research conference(pp. 479-492). Guanajuato, Mexico: Universidad de Guanajuato.
  • Dantas-Whitney, M., Cotton, C., Christensen, H., Edwards, M., Freeman, L., & Wood, J. (2012). Becoming the cultural “Other:” Pre-service teachers conduct ethnographic projects while studying abroad. Northwest Passage: Journal of Educational Practices,10(1), 149-157.
  • Dantas-Whitney, M., Clemente, A., & Higgins, M. (2012). Agency, identity and imagination in an urban primary school in Southern Mexico. Calidoscopio, 10(1), 114-124.
  • Milstein, D., Clemente, A., Dantas-Whitney, M., Guerrero, A., & Higgins, M. (2011). Introducción. La localización de las prácticas educativas de niñ@s y adolecentes: Narrativas etnográficas [Introduction. The localization of children’s and adolescents’ educational practices: Ethnographic narratives]. In D. Milstein, A. Clemente, M. Dantas-Whitney, A. Guerrero & M. Higgins (Eds.), Encuentros etnográficos con nin@s y adolescentes: Entre tiempos y espacios compartidos [Ethnographic encounters with children and adolescents: Between shared times and spaces](pp. 15-26). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Miño y Davila.
  • Clemente, A., Dantas-Whitney, M., & Higgins, M. (2011). “Queremos enseñarles que hay otras maneras:” Los encuentros etnográficos y la enseñanza de inglés enuna escuela de Oaxaca [ “We want to show them that there are other ways:” Ethnographic encounters and the teaching of English in a school in Oaxaca]. In D. Milstein, A. Clemente, M. Dantas-Whitney, A. Guerrero & M. Higgins (Eds.), Encuentros etnográficos con nin@s y adolescentes: Entre tiempos y espacios compartidos [Ethnographic encounters with children and adolescents: Between shared times and spaces] (pp. 79-102). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Miño y Davila.
  • Dantas-Whitney, M. (2011). Developing students’ language awareness. In N. Houck, & D. Tatsuki(Eds.) Pragmatics: Teaching natural conversations(pp. 191-203). Alexandria, VA: TESOL. Dantas-Whitney, M. (2011). Fostering biliteracy through engagement and collaboration: A view of a first grade classroom. Bilingual Basics 12(1), 2-6.
  • Dantas-Whitney, M. (2010). Theory, localization, and reflection in second language teacher education.  Revista Perspectivas Educativas 23, 19-31.  Ibague, Columbia: Universidad del Tolima.

Professional memberships

  • 2009-present: Member of TOEFL Awards and Grants Committee, Educational Testing Service (ETS)
  • 2009-present: Member of Academic Committee, International Symposium of Ethnographic Encounters with Children and Adolescents in Educational Contexts
  • 2010-present: Member of Editorial Board, Educational Perspectives
  • 2010-present: Member of Editorial Board, ORTESOL Journal
  • 2014-present: Member of Oregon Educator Equity Advisory Group,Oregon Education Investment Board
  • 2011-2014: Member of Doctoral Committee, Oregon State University(Susan Roebber, Kena Avila)
  • 2011-2014: Member of Fulbright Scholar TEFL and Applied Linguistics Review Panel, Institute of International Education/Council for International Exchange of Scholars
  • 2013-2014: Member of Working Group, Competencies for TSPC Dual Language Specialization
  • 2011-2013: Member of Planning Committee, ELL Collaborative of Oregon School Districts, TSPC, ODE, and Institutions of Higher Education
  • 2010: Member of Fulbright Screening Committee for English Language Teaching Assistantships in Colombia, South America, Institute of International Education

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