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Alumni Profile

Zoi Philippakos

Program: Ph.D., Education, Specialization: Literacy (with a focus on writing)

Year of Completion: 2012

Dissertation Title: Effects of Reviewing on Fourth and Fifth Grade Students’ Persuasive Writing and Revising

Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Charles MacArthur

Zoi Philippakos

Current Position

Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Current Research

Dr. Philippakos conducts research on genre-based strategy instruction in primary grades, middle, and high school; on development and evaluation of a professional development model on genre-based strategy instruction in K -12 settings; and on design and evaluation of a writing program in postsecondary settings.

Recent Publications

Book:  Philippakos. Z. A., & MacArthur, C. A. (2019). Developing strategic, young writers through genre instruction: Resources for grades K-2. New York: Guilford Press.

Chapter:  Traga Philippakos, Z. A. & MacArthur, C. A. (2019). Writing strategy instruction for low-skilled postsecondary students. In Perin, D. (Ed.). Wiley Handbook of Adult Literacy (pp. 495-516). New York: Wiley.


Traga Philippakos, Z. (in press). Effects of strategy instruction with an emphasis on oral language and dramatization on the quality of first graders’ procedural writing. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/10573569.2018.1547233

Traga Philippakos, Z. A. (2019). Sentence construction: Supporting elementary students’ editing skills. Language and Literacy Spectrum. 1(29), 1-23.

Traga Philippakos, Z. A., & MacArthur, C. A. (in press). Integrating collaborative reasoning and strategy instruction to improve second graders’ opinion writing. Reading & Writing Quarterly. DOI: 10.1080/10573569.2019.1650315; https://doi.org/10.1080/10573569.2019.1650315

Traga Philippakos, Z. A., Munsell, S. & Robinson, L., (in press). Combining strategy instruction and principles of dialogic pedagogy to support primary-grade students’ story writing: Results from cycle 1 of design research. Literacy Research and Instruction.

Recent Awards/Funding

Dr. Philippakos received the Early Career Achievement Award from the Literacy Research Association in 2019.  In 2017, she was recognized with the New Graduate Alumni Award from the University of Delaware’s College of Education and Human Development. Recent grants include:

  • MacArthur, C. A., Philippakos, Z. A., & May, H. (2016). Supporting Strategic Writers: Effects of an innovative developmental writing program on writing and reading outcomes. Proposal funded by the Institute for Education Sciences, U. S. Department of Education (5 years, $3,245,858).
  • Traga Philippakos, Z. A. & Riggel, A. (2019). Genre-based writing instruction in Grades 6 to 8: Cycle 1 of design research. Proposal funded by the University of Tennessee for summer graduate fund, (Summer, 2019; $ 3,600).

Philippakos, Z. A. (2015). Effects of professional development models on teachers’ writing instruction and on students’ writing quality across genres. Proposal funded by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Faculty Research Grant, (2 years; $ 6,000).

Why did you choose to pursue your PhD at CEHD? What was it about the university/school that drew you here?

“UD has an impeccable reputation and has always conducted research that was relevant and innovative. At the time of my admission to CEHD’s M.Ed. in Reading program, I was interested in metacognition and cognitive practices in reading and writing. I continued on to pursue a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Literacy. As I had hoped, I had the chance to work with researchers who supported my research interests, were willing to collaborate, and viewed their students as future colleagues.”

Can you share on positive memory that has stuck with you since you left UD?

“There are plenty to remember. I learned so much about research and research ethics from Joe Glutting, Amanda Jansen, Bob Hampel, Roberta Golinkoff, and Nancy Jordan, and my thinking and views were challenged by Eugene Matusov, David Blacker, Charles MacArthur, and Ralph Ferretti, among many others.

In the first two years of my doctoral program, I worked as a research assistant for Sharon Walpole and collaborated with her and Michael McKenna from the University of Virginia to develop instructional resources for differentiated reading instruction in grades 4 to 5. I also ran a pilot on differentiated reading instruction for Grade 1 and worked on dissemination of resources for kindergarten to grade 3. Working with schools and classroom teachers and principals was a valuable experience.

The next year, until the end of my program, I worked with my advisor Charles MacArthur on the design and evaluation of a writing program for postsecondary learners. I continued to work on that project as a researcher and then as a collaborator. I was fortunate to learn from researchers while I engaged in research. Indeed, so many people at UD helped shape my way of thinking and acting in the world of education and educational research.

I have plenty of stories to share, but I will never forget Dr. MacArthur’s reaction and response when, in my first semester of study, I asked him, “What type of researcher will I be, a qualitative or a quantitative one?” He looked at me and replied, ‘It is not about a label. It is about the questions you ask. Your questions determine your methodology. It is not the other way around. You will read the literature and ask questions. Those informed questions will lead your research. And it doesn’t matter if you do qualitative or quantitative research. But whatever you do, you need to do it well!’

Those were wise words that I will carry with me. It was a privilege to have Dr. MacArthur as my advisor and now as a colleague. I have learned how to be ethical in research but also how to conduct research, work with schools, teachers, parents, students, my students, and love what I do! Thank you, UD for being my academic home!”

Updated on March 11, 2020