Dianna Townsend, Ed.D.

Associate Professor of Literacy Studies

Contact Information


  • Ed.D., University of California-Irvine
  • M.Ed., Boston University


Dr. Townsend's research centers on the academic language development of adolescent students, with specific attention to academic vocabulary. She examines both the unique academic language demands of the disciplines and effective instructional strategies to help students understand and use academic language in and across disciplines. Her research and outreach projects include interventions with adolescents as well as professional development with secondary teachers. Dr. Townsend's work has been published in Reading Research Quarterly, The Elementary School Journal, The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and Topics in Language Disorders, as well as in other journals and multiple books. Within the College of Education at UNR, Dr. Townsend serves as the Graduate Program Director and Assessment Coordinator for the online Master's degree in Literacy Studies. She created the innovative Virtual Reading Clinic in the online program to support remote and rural teachers in a graduate-level practicum experience.