Faculty Bios - Allan De Fina

  •  adefina  

    Dr. Allan De Fina
    Dean, Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe College of Education

    Email: adefina@njcu.edu 
    Phone: (201) 200-2101
    Office:  Professional Studies 303
    Specializations: Writing, poetry, developmental readers, assessment



    Ph.D., School of Applied Psychology, New York University
    M.A., Psychological Foundations of Reading, New York University
    B.A., Special Education, Jersey City State College


    Dr. Allan A. De Fina served as the Acting Dean of the Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe College of Education, prior to his official appointment to the position in August 2010, after a national search.  Before becoming the Dean, he was a Professor and, later, served as Chairperson in the Department of Literacy Education at New Jersey City University.  A former Special Educator, High School English Teacher, and Elementary School Staff Development Specialist, he is an award-winning poet, who has twice received the William Carlos Williams Poetry Award for New Jersey Poets.   Dr. De Fina has long been associated with the University community, being an alumnus of New Jersey City University, formerly known as Jersey City State College, with teaching certifications in Special Education and English.  His M.A. is from the Psychological Foundations of Reading Program, with certifications as a Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist, and his Ph.D. is from the School of Applied Psychology at New York University.  Dr. De Fina has served on numerous committees of the International Reading Association and on committees for the New Jersey Department of Education and is a past-President of the New Jersey Reading Association.  He is the author of two books, one for teachers and one for children, and has authored numerous scholarly articles.  Dr. De Fina is the Literacy Series Advisor for over 250 non-fiction texts for elementary and middle school children.

    Awards and Honors


    Victoria Foundation Grant, New Jersey City University and Newark Public Schools, April 2007
    Victoria Foundation Grant, New Jersey City University and Newark Public Schools, December 2006
    Striving Readers Grant, New Jersey City University and Newark Public Schools, February 2006
    Reading First Grant, New Jersey City University and Hoboken Public Schools, June 2004


    IRA:  International Reading Association
    Kappa Delta Pi, Beta Pi Chapter, Honorary Member
    NCTE:  National Council of Teachers of English
    NJADE:  New Jersey Association for Developmental Education
    NJRA:  New Jersey Reading Association
    NRC:  National Reading Conference
    NYMADE:  New York Metropolitan Association for Developmental EducationNYCLSA:  New York College Learning Skills Association
    TESOL: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

    Selected Publications and Presentations


    “De-Romanticizing Our Past Loves:  Breaking Up With Literacy Practices that Don’t Work Out.”  Keynote Address, New Jersey State Department of Education Literacy Conference, New Brunswick, NJ, December 7, 2009.

    “Best Classroom Practices: What Administrators Should Look For in Every Classroom,” Keynote Address, Jersey City Administrators Summer Symposium, August 19, 2009.

    “Best Literacy Practices for Working with Adolescents: What Teachers, Literacy Coaches, and Administrators Should Agree Upon,” New Jersey State Department of Education Annual Literacy Conference, New Brunswick, NJ, July 26, 2009.

    “‘You Are The Best Teacher that I Never Had’:  Helping English Language Learners Say What They Mean and Mean What They Say,” New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, May 15, 2009.

    “Writing with Meaning: Building Comprehension through the Writing Process,” Center for Literacy Development, Rutgers University, February 11, 2009.

    “Moving Beyond Literal Comprehension of Informational Text: Engaging Students in Critical Thinking Using Collaborative Comprehension Strategies,” (co-presented with Dr. Mary Lee Bass, Monmouth University, Dr. Fran Levin, Dr. Deborah Woo), International Reading Association, Atlanta, GA, May 2008.

    “Brainstorming or Just Brain-Clouding?  Ideas for Generating Ideas for Responding to Fiction and Informational Texts,” Center for Effective School Practices, Rutgers University, September 22, 2008.

    “Raising Standards in Writing for Pre-service Teachers,” (co-presented with Dr. Audrey Fish and Dr. Tracy Amerman), National Council of Teachers of English, San Antonio, TX, November 2008.


    “What Should Teachers Know?”  The Academic Forum; Spring, 2006

    “A Case History (In Progress) of Change in the College of Education Writing Assessment Exam,” (various authors), The Academic Forum; Spring, 2006

    “I’m Still Getting Used to My Younger Brother” and “My Older Sister’s in the Bathroom,” in No Boys Allowed: Poems About Brothers and Sisters, Boyds Mills Press, 2006.

    “Why Johnny Needs Alternative Assessment:  Effective Teaching and Assessment Practices, Not Standardized Tests, Help Johnny Learn,” The Learning Consultant Journal, Fall 2000.

    “A Planet at Risk,” The Academic Forum; Spring, 2000.

    “Dad,” in Daddy Poems, Boyds Mills Press, 2000.

    “Uncounting Days,” in The Academic Forum; Spring, 1999.

    A Nation Still at Risk?:  Standards and Assessment Fifteen Years Later; But, What About Instruction?” The Academic Forum; Spring, 1998. 

    “Why I Believe in Whole Language...” in the LEARN (Language Educators Applying Reflection Now) Newsletter for April 1998.

    “Who Will Read in the 21st Century?”  The Academic Forum, June 1997.

    “Why I Still Believe in Whole Language (and What We Need to Do Now When So Many Others Don’t),” Talking Points journal, Spring 1997.  

    Alternative Integrated Reading/Writing Assessment and Curriculum Design,” De Fina, Anstendig, & De Lawter, Journal of Reading, February, 1991.

    “Reading and Writing Poetry:  A Classroom Experience, ” New York University/District Two monograph, June, 1989

    “The Loss of Affordable Housing,” New York Times, NJ Section, March 13, 1988.

    A Guide and Resource Manual for Education for Functional Learning, (numerous authors), Jersey City State College monograph, 1981


    Portfolio Assessment: Getting Started, New York: Scholastic Professional Books Division, 1992.

    When a City Leans Against the Sky, a book of poetry for children,  Honesdale, PA:  Wordsong Press, 1997.