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Dr. Karen F Tardrew


Associate Professor
Teaching Learning and Assessment &
Wisconsin Academic Director

Programs/Classes Taught:

Deepening Classroom Practice in M.Ed. in Teaching, Learning and Assessment program

Courses Taught or Developed at NLU


TLA 578 Developing School Cultures.
TLA 541 Assessing Teaching and Learning: Introduction to Assessment.
ESR 531 Exploring Action Research (I).
TLA 588 Constructing Curriculum for Engaging the Whole Learner.
ESR 532 Engaging in Action Research (II).
TLA 591 Meeting Challenges of Contemporary Classrooms: Field Study.
TLA 542 Linking Assessment of Teaching and Learning: Field Study.
TLA 589 Differentiating for Diverse Learners.
ESR 533 Continuing Action Research (III).
TLA 594 Examining Curriculum Perspectives: Independent Study.
TLA 543 Reflecting on Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.
TLA 579 Engaging with Critical Multicultural Perspectives.
ESR 534 Completing Action Research (IV).
FND 509 Educational Foundations.
CIC 528 Curriculum and Instruction I.
EPS 527 Group Theory and Classroom Applications.
ESR 510 Action Research I.
CIC 529 Curriculum and Instruction II.
CIC 591 Field Study/ Curriculum and Instruction.
CIL 531 Cross-Cultural Education.
ESR 511 Action Research II.
EPS 528 Human Development and Learning.
ESR 591 Action Research III.
CIC 594 Independent Study/ Curriculum and Instruction.
EDL 594 Independent Study/ Educational Supervision.
ESR 592 Extending Action Research.
ESR 595 Special Topics in Research.
IDS 560 Integrated Curriculum I.
IDS 561 Integrated Curriculum II.


ELE 200 Practicum I.
ELE 315 History and Philosophy Of Education.
ELE 390 September Field Experiences Supervision/Seminar.
ELE 470 Student Teaching Supervision.
ELE 470 Student Teaching Seminar.
ELE 580 Practicum I.
FND 504 History and Philosophy of Education.
ELE 585 Workshop/Elementary Education Instructional Practices.
ELE 590 Student Teaching Seminar.
CIC 514 Classroom Management.

Areas of Expertise:

She has been with NLU since 1992. Her experience includes teaching in Urban Special Education settings (Middle and Elementary Levels). At NLU she has taught in several departments since 1992 including Elementary Education, Special Education and Master of Arts in Education. Currently, she teaches in the Teaching, Learning and Assessment graduate program and also coordinates its work in Wisconsin. Karen’s teaching focuses on collaborative group process, constructivist teaching, action research, teacher wellness, teacher self study, cross cultural education, visual literacy, service learning and alternative assessments.


Karen grew up in the Chicagoland area and always had an interest in education and underserved students. Fun fact: she grew up on a small farmette with sheep in the suburbs. She lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin. She enjoys amateur photography, travel and an active lifestyle. She loves teaching teachers.


NATIONAL LOUIS UNIVERSITY, Evanston, Illinois Doctor of Education (June 2003) Major: School Leadership/Instructional Leadership Dissertation topic: Uncarting the Complexities of Collaborative Teacher Dialogue Through Portfolio Development NATIONAL LOUIS UNIVERSITY, Evanston, Illinois Master of Education (1988-1989) Thesis title: "If I'm Good Do I Get A Cookie?" INDIANA UNIVERSITY, Bloomington, Indiana Bachelor of Science in Special Education (1983-1987)

Research and Interests:

President of the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA) and active in the American Educational Research Association, Karen is particularly interested in the Holistic Education SIG. Her research includes publications and presentations on: teacher reflection, self-study practices, visual research, holistic education and co-constructing knowledge. Recent publications include: Tardrew, K. (March 2010) Teacher: A Portrait Study. Selected Readings Of International Visual Literacy Association- Spring 2010. Tardrew, Karen. (2010). Book Review: Teacher Action Research: Building Knowledge Democracies. i.e.: inquiry in education: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 4. Retrieved from: Tardrew, K. (March 2009) Visual Teacher Reflections: What's Teaching? Selected Readings Of International Visual Literacy Association- Engaging Creativity and Critical Thinking 2009.

Contact Information:

Karen F. Tardrew, Ed. D. 
Associate Professor

Teaching Learning and Assessment &
Wisconsin Academic Director 
"To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world!" 


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

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