Mary Beth Cancienne, Ph.D., Professor of English Education

Office: Memorial Hall 3240

Mary Beth Cancienne, PhD, is professor of English education at James Madison University in the Middle and Secondary Education Department in the College of Education. She was honored in 2017-2018 as the Distinguished Teacher and in 2011- 2012 as the Madison Scholar. She teaches courses in high school English methods and accompanying high school practicum, Curriculum and Co-Curriculum, Foundations of American Education, student teaching, and seminar. In 1999, she cofounded the Arts and Inquiry in the Visual and Performing Arts in Education SIG with the American Education Research Association. She has also published in such academic journals as the Virginia English Journal, Qualitative Inquiry, Theory into Practice, the Journal of Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue and the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. Her chapters appear in such books as the Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research (2007) and Knowing Differently (2008). Additionally, she co-edited, with C. Bagley, a book and CD-ROM titled Dancing the Data (2002, Peter Lang).

Dr. Cancienne's google scholar page.

Recent Publications

Cancienne, M. B. (2019). Using metaphorical thinking to understand a literary archetype: The hero's journey. Virginia English Journal, 69(1), 59-71.

Cancienne, M.B. (2018). Embodying Macbeth: Incantation, visualization, improvisation, and characterization. In C. A. Mullen (Ed.), Creativity under duress in education: Resistive theories, practices, and actions (pp. 361-381). New York: Springer.

Cancienne, M.B. (2018, Winter). Reflections of an English methods professor: Storying six years of course development and revisions. Virginia English Journal, 67(2), 42-49.

Cancienne, M.B. (2017, Winter). This I believe II: Teaching English methods. Virginia English Journal 66(2), 4-13.

Cancienne, M.B. (2016, Summer). Movement, visualization, and drawing to inspire pre-writing within the writing process: Strategies as a precursor to personal writing. Virginia English Journal 66(1), 4-12.

Recent Conference Presentations

Cancienne, M. B., Godfrey, Hardy, D., M., Jacob, L., Jones, R., Law, S. (2020, February). Preserving the past and shaping the future of black poetry with the Furious Flower Poetry Center’s digital archive. A panel discussion presented at the meeting of the African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, Harrisonburg, Va.

Cancienne, M. B., Coleman, B., Gilliam, K., & Gooden, K., (2019, November). The Hate You Give, All-American Boys, and American Born Chinese: Multicultural Multi- Genre Projects with a Focus on Theme and Voice in Writing. Presentation and panel discussion presented at the meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English, Baltimore, MD.

Cancienne, M. B., & Godfrey, M. (2019, November). Innovating the Archives: Digitizing Black Poetry with the Furious Flower Poetry Center. Presentation presented at the meeting of the American Studies Association, Honolulu, HI.

Cancienne, M. B., Godfrey, M., Jacob, L., M., Jones, N., Law, S., McCarthy, S. (2019, September). Furious Flower: Innovating the Archive. Presentation and Panel Discussion presented at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.

Cancienne, M. B. (2019, September). Innovating the Furious Flower Poetry Center Digital Archives: Lesson Plans Inspired by the 1994 Furious Flower Conference honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. A teaching demonstration presented at the meeting of the Virginia Association of Teachers of English.

Cancienne, M. B. (2019, October). The Furious Flower Digital Archive: Lessons from African-American Poets. A teaching demonstration presented at the meeting of the Virginia Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Cancienne, M.B., & Bagley, C. (2019, April). The Arts & Inquiry’s 20th Anniversary: The vital role the Arts & Inquiry SIG has played in creating a space for the visual and performing arts with AERA. An invited presentation at the Arts & Inquiry SIG Business Meeting at the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, Canada.


University of Virginia, Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction
Louisiana State University, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction
Louisiana State University, B.A. in English

Courses Taught at JMU

MSSE 570: Content Area Methods of Teaching in High School: English 9-12
MSSE 571: Content Area Field Experiences in High School: English 9-12
MSSE 607: Middle and Secondary School Curriculum and Co-Curriculum
MSSE 650: Internship Seminar
MSSE 675: Internship (Student Teaching) in Middle and Secondary Education
EDUC 300: Foundations of American Education

Current Projects

Professional Interests

Movement and Thought in English Education Methods
Diversity, Social Justice, & the Arts in English Education
Pre-Service Teacher Education
Curriculum Theory and Teaching in A Diverse Society


What Sustains Us (Advisory Chair since 2011)
Co-Founder of the Arts & Inquiry in the Visual and Performing Arts in Education SIG at AERA (since 1999)
NCTE/CAEP Accreditation SPA for English Education
Virginia Association of Teachers of English Board Member (2010-2012)
Chair of the College of Education Diversity Committee (2010-2013)
Departmental Personal Advisory Council
Teacher Work Sample Committee

Back to Top