headshot photo of Dr. Margie Curwen

Dr. Margie Curwen

Associate Professor
Attallah College of Educational Studies
Expertise: Systems Thinking; Elementary Teaching; Classroom Instruction; Literacy
Office Location: Reeves Hall 134
Scholarly Works:
Digital Commons
University of Redlands, Bachelor of Science
University of California, Los Angeles, Master of Arts
University of Southern California, Ph.D.


Dr. Margie Sauceda Curwen earned her Ph.D. in Literacy, Language, and Learning from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. As a current literacy researcher and a former classroom teacher and reading specialist, she brings her expertise into her teaching of undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy, language arts, children’s literature, and teaching methods. Her current research interests include systems thinking pedagogy, literacy as a social practice, literacy interventions, systemic sustainability education, and inclusive schooling. She has published in top journals including Frontiers in Education: Teacher Education, Journal of Literacy Research, Journal of Adult & Adolescent Literacy, Journal of Language and Literacy Education, Reading Teacher, Issues in Teacher Education, and Urban Education.

K-12 Teaching Experience

Dr. Curwen holds a multiple subject teaching credential with training in Cross-cultural Language and Development (CLAD) strategies.  She taught first grade in a public elementary school in Southern California. As a certified Reading Recovery teacher, she provided literacy intervention for first grade students for several years, later becoming a school site literacy specialist and coach. Throughout these years, she provided professional development in language arts and math and conducted family workshops.

Recent Conference Presentations

Curwen, M., & Ardell, A. (April 2019). “It’s good because it makes you change”: Children’s and Teachers’ Responses to a Systems Thinking Curriculum. American Educational Research Association, Toronto, Canada.

Curwen, M. S., Ardell, A., & MacGillivray, L. (2018).  Hopeful Discourse: Elementary Children’s Activism Grounded in Dialogic Systems Thinking. LRA, Indian Wells, CA.

Curwen, M. S., Ardell, A., & MacGillivray, L. (2018). “Observers of the world”: Primary Grade Students Imagining Solutions to Broken Social and Environmental Systems. American Educational Research Association, New York.

Ardell, A., Curwen, M. S., & MacGillivray, L. (2017, December). Extending consciousness through text, dialogue, and documentation: Systems thinking in a second grade classroom of emerging English Learners. Literacy Research Association, Tampa, FL.

Curwen, M. S., Ardell, A., & MacGillivray, L. (2017). Elementary Students Using Systems Thinking to Interrupt Modern Day Slavery. AERA, San Antonio, TX.

Howard, K., Curwen, M., Howard, N., Colón-Muñiz, A., & Monzó, L. (2017, April).  Independent Learning Center: Mixed Methodology Study. AERA, San Antonio, TX.

Ardell, A., Curwen, M. S., & MacGillivray, L. (2016). Kindness and Slavery: Examining, Identifying, and Disrupting Systems. Literacy Research Association, Nashville, TN.

Curwen, M. S., Ardell, A., & MacGillivray, L. (2016, April). Primary grade teachers and students incorporating systems thinking in the curriculum to address a statewide drought. American Educational Research Association, Washington, D.C.

Ardell, A., Curwen, M. S., White-Smith, K., & MacGillivray, L. (2016). “Like a shot in the arm”: Systems thinking professional development as dialogic learning. American Educational Research Association, Washington, D.C.

Brenner, D., Lycke, K., Crumpler, T., Curwen, M. S., & Slater, L. (2015). “Prepared for the metropolis, teaching in the country: Conversations on Rural Literacy Teacher Education. Literacy Research Association, Carlsbad, CA.

Ardell, A., Curwen, M. S., & MacGillivray, L. (2015). “And then what?’ and “So what?’ an “Now what?”: Elementary teachers’ experiences learning to use systems thinking to plan literacy curriculum. Literacy Research Association, Carlsbad, CA.

Curwen, M. S., MacGillivray, L., & Ardell, A. (2015, April). “I never saw nobody read”: Mothers in a homeless shelter share literacy practices and aspirations for children. American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

Curwen, M. S. (2014, Dec). “It was from my hard work”: Developing elementary-student authors in an after-school literacy tutoring program. LRA, Marco Island, Florida.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Curwen, M. S. (March 2020). Recalling the Shame of the Past to Reimagine a Hopeful Future. In N. Thorsos, J. Martínez, & M. L. Gabriel (Eds.), Losing the mother tongue in the USA: Implications for adult Latinxs in the 21st century (pp. 43-69). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
MacGillivray, L., Ardell, A., Curwen, M. S., & Wiggin, S. (2019). “I feel normal here.” The social functions of a book club in a restricted setting. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 14(2), 1-23.
Curwen, M., Ardell, A., & MacGillivray, L. (2019). Hopeful Discourse: Elementary Students Activist Responses to Modern-Day Slavery Grounded in Systems Thinking. Literacy Research: Theory, Methods, Practice, 68(1), 139-161. https://doi.org/10.1177/2381336919870284
Curwen, M. S., Ardell, A., MacGillivray, L., & Lambert, R. (2018). Systems thinking in a second grade curriculum: Students engaged to address a statewide drought. Frontiers in Education: Teacher Education. doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2018.00090
Laster, B., Tysseling, L., Stinnett, M., Wilson, J., Cherner, T., Curwen, M., Ryan, T., & Huggins, S. (April, 2016). Effective use of tablets (iPads) for multimodal literacy learning: What we learn from reading clinics/literacy labs. The App Teacher. Online journal http://appedreview.com/blog/effective-use-tablets-ipads-multimodal-literacy-learning-learn-reading-clinicsliteracy-labs/
MacGillivray, L., Curwen, M. S., & Ardell, A. (June, 2016). “No matter how you word it, it’s for me”: The writing practices of mothers as recovering addicts living in a homeless shelter. Journal of Literacy Research, 48(2), 192-220. DOI: 10.1177/1086296X16662174
Curwen, M., & Colón-Muñiz, A. (2012- May 2014). Innovative Extension of the School Day Strengthens a Bilingual Charter School Community. Prepared for El Sol Science and Arts Academy, Santa Ana.
Miller, R. G., Curwen, M. S., White-Smith, K. A, & Calfee, R. C. (2014). Cultivating primary students’ scientific thinking through sustained teacher professional development. Early Childhood Education Journal,43(4), 317-326. doi: 10.1007/s10643-014-0656-3
Colón-Muñiz, A. & Curwen, M. (April, 2014). Librería Martínez de Chapman University: A community-based initiative to promote literacy and education. Multilingual Educator. Conference edition. (A publication of the California Association of Bilingual Educators), 42-46.
Howard, K. E., Curwen, M. S., Howard, N. R., & Colon-Muniz, A. (2014). Attitudes toward using social networking sites in educational settings with underperforming Latino youth: A mixed methods study. Urban Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0042085914537000
Curwen, M. S., & Colón-Muñiz, A. (July 2013). Educators challenging poverty and Latino low achievement by extending and enriching the school day. Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research, 9, 65-77.
Curwen, M., & Howard, K. (2013). Cultivating democracy at one high school intervention program for Latinos at risk of dropping out. National Journal of Urban Teaching, 7(1), 15.
Howard, K. E., Curwen, M. S., & Colon-Muniz, A. (2013). Evaluation of Anaheim High School Independent Learning Center Year One Data Report: 2011-2012. Orange, CA: Chapman University, College of Educational Studies
Curwen, M.S. (2012). Middle-class Latinos opting for American creed: Stories of hope. In L. D. Monzó & A. Merzal (Eds.), The hope for audacity: Public identity and equity action in education (pp. 10-29). New York: Peter Lang.
Curwen, M.S. (2011). “Martin Luther King stopped discrimination”: Intergenerational Latino Elementary Students’ Perceptions of Social Issues. Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research, 7, 62-71.
Curwen, M., Colón-Muñiz, A., & Valenzuela, N. (2011, January). Year 1 Progress Report 2011. El Sol Science and Arts Academy Extended Day Program.
MacGillivray, L., Ardell, A., & Curwen, M. S. (2010). Supporting the literacy development of children living in homeless shelters. The Reading Teacher, 63(5), 384-392.
MacGillivray, L., Ardell, A., & Curwen, M. S. (2010). Libraries, churches, and schools: The literate lives of mothers and children in a homeless shelter. Urban Education, 45(2), 332-245.
Curwen, M. S., Miller, R. G., White-Smith, K. A., & Calfee, R. C. (2010). Increasing teachers’ metacognition develops students’ higher learning during content area literacy instruction: Findings from the Read-Write Cycle Project. Issues in Teacher Education, 19(2), 127-151.