Click here to Skip to main content
AskARC Logo
Faculty Website Title Banner


CV - Elizabeth Specker, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Specker

Curriculum Vitae 

Davies Hall, 389   4700 College Oak Dr.                        email:

American River College, Sacramento, CA 95841            phone: 916-484-8013         



2008        University of Arizona                Ph.D.    Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) interdisciplinary doctoral program        

Dissertation title:   "L1/L2 eye movement reading of closed captioning: A multimodal analysis of multimodal use" (pdf available here)
Chairs: Drs. Linda Waugh, Tom Bever, with Yetta Goodman


2000        Ohio University                        M.A.     Applied Linguistics, TESOL concentrate

Thesis title:  "Pay attention: How does closed captioning affect the learner's retention?"   
Advisor: Dr. Scott Jarvis


1993        SUNY Plattsburgh, New York B.A.     Anthropology, (Spanish minor, Business minor)






Professor, English as a Second Language                         American River College

Humanities Department

Teaching English to 1st generation and immigrant population students in preparation for academic success in a college and university environment as well as for facilitation in the local community and work force. Active in college and department committees and projects.                           Fall 2008 - present




Instructor, Graduate College, University Teaching Center                                    

697E  English Pronunciation for International Teaching Assistants                        Spring 2008






Graduate Teaching Associate for the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program

University of Arizona, School of Architecture

Assisted with class lectures, including implementation of a podcasting website to facilitate student learning  

Spring 2008                                                                   TRAD 104: Sonora


Graduate Teaching Assistant/Associate in English Composition

University of Arizona, English Department, Writing Program

Teaching composition, critical thinking skills, research, and academic writing for Native and Non-Native Speakers of English.  ENGL 393 is an intern class for tutors at the University Writing Center, 101+ is a studio class for students who need additional support to succeed in writing.

August 2002 - Fall 2007                                                classes: ENGL 101, 101+, 102, 108, 393


Graduate Coordinator of the Writing Center of the University of Arizona

Responsible for organizing the writing center which includes guiding almost 30 undergraduate peer writing tutors, keeping track of statistics, working with administration, and facilitating communication and the fostering of community within the center.                                                  academic years 2005-2007


Invited Lecturer                                                         English 406, Modern English Grammar

"Patterns in English Syntax", "The Lexicon:  Meaning and Dictionaries"                Fall 2007






Lecturer, Center for English as a Second Language (CESL)          University of Arizona

Teaching English in all its aspects to language learners in preparation for academic success in an English speaking university environment.  Successful integration of all language skills and participation in the program's activities.

Intensive English Program                                              June 2005, May - August 2006, 2007


Instructor, Intern position, American Language Program (ALP)   The Ohio State University

Full appointment position teaching classes in all skills and levels, requiring participation in committees, including that of technology and creation of alumni webpage. Designed and created own class (American humor in sitcoms), revamped advanced elective courses.      August 2000 - August 2002 


Teaching Assistant Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE)             Ohio University

Instructor position requiring flexibility to teach a variety of topics and proficiency levels.

                                                                                                June 1999 - May 2000




Lecturer, Center for English as a Second Language (CESL)            University of Arizona

Teaching English in all its aspects to younger learners.  Successful integration of all language skills and participation in the program's activities.

Teen Program                                                                                       July - August 2003, 2004, 2005


Teaching Assistant East Elementary School, Athens, Ohio

Taught young ESL learners in a pull-out classroom.  Full creativity in creation of lesson materials for multiple proficiency levels.

Grades 1 & 4   ESL room                                                         September 1998 - June 1999


Teacher, EFL, grades 4-8, Vaslui, Romania (Peace Corps)

Taught English to grade school students.  Worked with community English teachers to create an English Library, received grant to work with community neighbors to rebuild children's playground, organized and directed Girls Leadership camp for teenage girls.

Şcoală no˚5, Vaslui                                                                   September 1996 - June 1998




Instructor, Evening Program Intermediate General English      CESL, University of Arizona

Instruction of English as a Second Language to adult members of the Tucson community.  Requires flexibility and creativity with diverse population             September - December 2004



Training and orientation

Coordinator, Korean National University of Education, for the Center of English as a Second Language (CESL), University of Arizona,                December 2005 - February 2006

Hired instructors, facilitated and directed syllabi, directed orientation, opening and closing ceremonies, developed and implemented evaluations, arranged for guest lecturers, arranged and conducted weekend and weekly trips and excursions, coordinated classrooms and accommodations  for 30 Korean English teachers (4 week program).


Instructor: SEI (Sheltered English Instruction)                                     Nogales, AZ

Teacher training at Lincoln Elementary School.  Topic: "Content as Language".  April 16, 2005


Instructor: SEI workshop: TEFL Certificate workshop for Center of English as a Second Language, University of Arizona.          Topic: "Applied Activities".        March 4 & 11, 2005


Orientation Trainer - Fulbright scholars                                         Ohio University

Developed and presented orientation sessions on a variety of topics.           August 2000




For Special







Center for English as a Second Language/Arizona Health Sciences Medical Program

Conversational English with listening/speaking & medical vocabulary for over 20 international medical students of advanced/intermediate high levels.                       U of Arizona, July 2008


Administrator: University Teaching Center.     SPEAK tests for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs). Organized and administered SPEAK tests and interviews for over 150 ITAs

                                                                        U of Arizona, August 2007 - May 2008






§         TESOL: Methodology, SLA Theory, Materials, Reading, Writing, Listening, L2 Literacy

§         Linguistics: Multimodality, Semiotics and language, Metaphor/Metonymy, Discourse Analysis, Closed Captioning, Sociolinguistics

§         Psycholinguistics: Multilingualism, Bilingualism, Code-switching

§         Media Arts: appropriation & remediation on the internet




Specker, E. (2008). The use of bilingual pragmatic markers: Identity in mediated learning. Arizona Working Papers, vol. 15. Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Arizona.

Specker, E. (2006). Review: "El subtitulado cinematográfico: Fusión de palabra, gesto y movimiento escénico" (González Rodríguez, M. J.). (2006). Linguist List, (17, 2792).  

Specker, E. & Askildson, L. (2006). (Eds.). Arizona Working Papers, 13. Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Arizona.

Specker, E. (2005). Review: "Metalanguage: Social and ideological perspective." (J. Jaworski,  N. Coupland, & D. Galasiński, Eds.) (2004).  Linguist List, (16, 1939).

Beckman-Brito, K. & Specker, E. (2005). (Eds). Arizona Working Papers, 12. Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Arizona.

Waugh, L., Barletta, N., Smith, S., Specker, E., Steinhart, S., & Wang, J., (2005). Peircean Theory, Diagrammatic Iconicity and Academic Texts: Global Structure, Abstracts, and the Role of Narrative. Invited article for: Logos and Language. Journal of General Linguistics and Language Theory, v:1.

Specker, E. (2000). First Aid in the ESL/EFL classroom. TESOL Journal, (9) 1.

Specker, E. (1999). Dave Sperling's ESL Café. Ohio TESOL Newsletter, (21) 3.



"Moving text vs Static text: L1/L2 eye movement reading patterns"

"Turn the captions on: Language learning and literacy"

"Metonymy and metaphor in the media: Category conventionalization and consumption"

"Metaphors of writing: ESL and basic students' perceptions"


PRESENTATIONS - International and National


Specker, Elizabeth (2009). "Multimodal language learning environments: Reading dynamic texts" poster presented at AAAL Conference, Denver, Colorado. March 23, 2009.


Specker, Elizabeth (2008). "L1/L2 reading patterns with dynamic/static texts: Using captions for language learning" accepted for presentation at the Second Language Research Forum (SLRF, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. October 17-19, 2008.


Waugh, Linda, Elizabeth Specker, & Jun Zhao (2007). "Metaphor and Metonymy in Spontaneous, Co-Speech Gestures" presented at the 14th Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning Research Working Conference, University of Arizona, Tucson.  October 27th, 2007.


Specker, Elizabeth. (2007). "Discourse markers in code-switching: Social relationships in Maya & Miguel".  Paper presented at 17th International Conference on Pragmatics & Language Learning (PLL), University of Hawai'i at Manoa. March 26-28, 2007.


Specker, Elizabeth (2007). "Code-switching discourse markers as indicators of social relationships: bilingual characters in the educational entertainment show Maya and Miguel". Poster session at AAAL, Costa Mesa, California. April 21-24, 2007.


Specker, Elizabeth. (2006). "Metonymy in the Media: Conceptual change and conventionalization" in the panel presentation: "Metaphors of Power: Critical inquiries into constructing metonymous others" Presented at the RaAM 6 Conference (Research and Applying Metaphor), Leeds, England, April 10-12 2006.


Zhao, Jun., Margaret W. Smith, & Elizabeth Specker. (2006, March). "Media as a medium for learning gestures". Presented at TESOL 2006, Tampa, FL.


Johnson, Neil H. & Elizabeth Specker. (2004, March). "Metaphorical frameworks for enhancing video and film". Presented at TESOL 2004, Long Beach, CA.


Specker, Elizabeth (2002, April). "Closed Captioning enhances different types of learning".  Presented at TESOL 2002, Salt Lake City, UT.


Specker, Elizabeth, & Anne Bruehler. (2001, February). "Making Video into Web Projects Using Non-Scary Technology". Project presented at TESOL 2001 Internet Fair, St. Louis, MO.




Specker, Elizabeth (2010). "ESL writing x Metaphoric Organization", poster presentation at Northern CATESOL conference, Monterey, CA. November 13, 2010.


O'Brien Ramirez, Kathleen & Elizabeth Specker (2008). "Eye fixation in Multilingual Reading". Presented at the Language, Reading & Culture Colloquy, Tucson AZ, Feb. 28, 2008.


Specker, Elizabeth. (2007). "Choice of Modalities: comprehension strategies in L1 & L2" poster session at SLAT Roundtable, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ, March 3, 2007.


Specker, Elizabeth. (2006). "Metonymic terrorism in the media". Presented at the New Directions Conference, University of Arizona, April 8, 2006.


Specker, Elizabeth (2003, January). "ESL students and American Sitcoms". Presented at AZTESOL mini-conference, Tucson, AZ.


Beckman-Brito, K., N. Johnson, E. Specker, & S. Steinhart, (2004, March). "Respecting Voice: identity, contrastive rhetoric, diversity, and the role of negotiation".  Presented at Language at the Borders Spring Conference 2004, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.


Specker, Elizabeth. (2001, October).  "ESL students and American Humor in Sitcoms".  Presented at OTESOL Fall Conference 2001, Columbus, Ohio.


Specker, Elizabeth, & Lori Sandholdt. (2001, April). "Poster Sessions for high & low level students: The process and the products". Presented at OTESOL Spring Conference 2001, Athens, Ohio.




"Reading Text: Static and Moving", California State University at Sacramento, graduate level 215A Reading/Vocabulary Acquisition, Dr. Reiko Komiyama (February 10, 2011).


"Using digital recorders in your classroom", American River College ESL department. (Aug. 19, 2010)


"Moving text vs Static text: L1/L2 eye movement reading patterns", SLAT colloquium. (Feb. 08, 2008)


"ESL/EFL CALL in/out of the classroom"         ENGL 613 Methods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Dr. Suzanne Panferov (November 13, 2007)

"Metonymy in the Media: Conceptual change and conventionalization", SLAT colloquium. (April 21, 2006)

"Using Media in the EFL classroom", Korean National University for English (KNUE) teacher training program, Center for English as a Second Language, University of Arizona. (Feb. 18, 2006) 

"Contrastive analysis & semiological analysis in Harry Potter", Honors English Composition 103h class, instructor: Jennifer Jacovitch. (Sept. 08, 2004)

"Metaphorical frameworks for enhancing video and film", SLAT colloquium (April, 09, 2004). (with Neil H. Johnson)

"Metaphorical frameworks and the ESL classroom", (with Neil H. Johnson) for CESL Outreach and Professional Development, coordinated by Al Stover. (March 11, 2004)



SPEAK test (measurement of oral proficiency in English, primarily used for certifying International Teaching Assistants (ITAs))




CATESOL                                                                                          Member 2008-present

Modern Language Association (MLA)                                               Member 2008

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)       Member 1998-2004, 2006

American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL)                          Member 2007, 2009

Ohio TESOL                                                                                      Member 1998-2002




ARC Reading Competency Committee                                           Fall 2013 - present

FLEX Activity Speaker, American River College                            February 15, 2009, & March 8th, 2010

See the World: Peace Corps Experiences                                                      


ARC General Education Committee (Curriculum Committee)        2011 - 2013

ARC Community Lecture & Concert Series Committee                 2008 - 2011


Arizona Working Papers       Co-Editor                                                      2004 - 2006

Editor of the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Journal of Working Papers, in print and on CD/WEB


Graduate and Professional Student Council,                                             2005-2006

GIDP representative (interdisciplinary programs representative)

Served on the Finances/Grants Committee


EXCO representative, SLAT                                                                        Spring/Fall 2006, Spring 2007

Student representative on Executive Faculty Committee


SLATCOM listserv manager                                                                        2003-2004

Communication between SLAT students and the linguistic community, including notification of conferences, calls for papers, etc.


SLAT Roundtable                                                                                         2004, 2005, 2006

Program editor for conferences, Committee member responsible for organization


Second Language Research Forum (SLRF)                                               2003

Organizational Committee Member

Program Editor for Conference


Ohio TESOL Newsletter-

Layout editor (published 3 times/year)                                                    2001-2002

Column Editor of "ESL & Technology"                                                        2001


Ohio TESOL Board member                                                                         2001 - 2002




$1750.00 grant                                                                                                  March, 2009
Basic Skills Initiative Grant, American River College.  For use in the purchase of equipment, software, and for the development of materials for a pronunciation component to the ESL lab.

$500.00 Award                                                                                                   December 7, 2006

Winner of GIDP Student Poster Contest, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching


$1000.00 grant                                                                                                    March, 2006

Professional Opportunity and Development Grant, Graduate Professional & Student Council.  Awarded for use with the dissemination of information for the Metaphor & Metonymy Group


$1000.00 grant                                                                                                    March, 2005

Professional Opportunity and Development Grant, Graduate Professional & Student Council.  Awarded for use with the Arizona Working Papers, vol. 12.


Travel Awards include: SLAT, English Graduate Union, GPSC

($220-$500 each occurrence) for use in presentations in traveling to conferences    2002-2007




Director, Writer & Editor, AILDI informational video:                                           Spring 2006

American Indian Language Development Institute: "Microteaching"


Director, Writer & Editor, Informational video for International Graduate Teaching Assistants (ITAs) for the Writing Program of the English Department at the University of Arizona.   Summer 2005




APPLE & PC:  MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, PRAAT, Final Cut Pro, D2L (online class management program), wikis, podcasting, audio/video production




Languages: Spanish, Romanian (ACTFL - intermediate high)

Lived abroad: Costa Rica, Spain, Romania 

Traveled: Western/Eastern Europe, Egypt, Turkey, US, Canada, Mexico




References available upon request