Nadine McHenry

Nadine McHenry, EdD

  • Professor
  • Director of Science Teaching Center
Media Expertise:
  • Education
  • Science & Environment

Affiliated Programs


  • EdD, Curriculum Theory and Development (1993)
    Temple University (PA)

About Me

After graduating from Penn State in 1977, I immediately became an elementary classroom teacher and have remained in the classroom since. I taught the primary grades as a homeroom teacher charged with the full time teaching of one particular grade level. Upon my achievement of a master’s degree in environmental studies and education, I moved into a position as a specialized science teacher (K-8). While completing my doctoral degree, I also worked in the non-formal world of education in nature centers and museums as an environmental educator as well as a curriculum developer. 

Over these past 38 years, I have maintained my passion for teaching and as a teacher educator since 1994, I have focused on developing best practices that will yield teacher candidates who are effective role models for children of all backgrounds. My work is scaffolded by a deep belief in the power of service learning and civic engagement. I currently offer middle level certification course work that is grounded in the theoretic propositions of service learning.

The Healthy Me program helps 5th graders learn about health issues while improving their math and literacy skills. The outcome is a student-led health fair for the community. In Earth Force, a national service learning program, teacher candidates work with local children to identify and provide a solution to a local environmental problem. As a result of this work, I am proud to say that I was the recipient of the Widener University Civic Engagement Award in 2011.

My most current research builds on these service learning experiences as my colleagues and I investigate the possibility of a community immersion program for our early learning teacher candidates. Helping our teacher candidates learn about their students' community will improve their abilities to apply culturally responsive pedagogy and become better teachers.

Research Interests

My research interests have focused on teacher education and professional development for many years. Working with teachers in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the US, I designed and implemented a program where participating teachers learned about inquiry based teaching strategies in science. Given this training, the teachers then collaborated and shared their classrooms' and students’ work via Skype so that the children could get a sense of both the commonalities and the differences between the scientific concepts learned in two very different environments. My interest in inquiry based teaching and learning strategies was also clearly present in my current work with SE Delco teachers who learned the inquiry process and then were videotaped to examine the consistency of their teaching practices with their training.

In both of these cases, I have learned of the importance of culture in the development of teachers who can work effectively with their students. Knowing the community is an implicit requirement of being an effective teacher. My current research interests focus on the design and implementation of a community-immersed teacher education program that focuses on the development of our teacher candidates into culturally responsive teachers who can successfully work with the diverse children that make up US classrooms today.

Media Expertise

  • Environmental studies and education
  • Professional development models for teachers and IHE faculty science education
  • Teaching and learning
  • Assessment strategies for teachers
  • Curriculum issues


McHenry, N. and Barnett, M. (February, 2023) Using Community Engaged Pedagogical Approaches to Decolonizing Teacher Education. Presentation to Drexel University’s Social Justice Leadership Summit: Good Trouble – Illuminating Anti-Racist Approaches to Educational Pathways.

McHenry, N. & Kelly, M. (May, 2022). Teaching the whole child requires the whole teacher: Embedding socioemotional perceptions and dispositions into a culturally responsive teacher preparation program. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice. DOI: 

McHenry, N., Baldwin, J., Campbell, H., Bell, M., Allen-Presley, E., Alvare, B., & Borgstrom, T. (in press). Shared power: University – school – community partnership.  In an edited text, invited  by BSU Colleagues: Title and publication information forthcoming.

McHenry, N., Bolton, M., & Olvera, L. (Fall, 2019) Co-Designing a community engaged teacher education program through the theoretic construct of a community of practice. Pennsylvania Teacher Educator, 18, 73-84.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Eastern Educational Research Association (EERA)


Academic Year 2020/21 - The Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award - Project title: Nadine McHenry - Founder and Director of Transformational Community Engaged Teacher Education

Academic Year 2018/19 - Excellence in Community Engaged Teacher Preparation Inaugural Award from the Alliance for Community Engaged Teacher Preparation

Community Partnership Award – Chester Upland School District

Academic Year 2018/19 - Faculty Award for Civic Engagement Nominee –– Acknowledgement by Widener University

Academic Year 2013 – Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award Nominee

Academic Year 2011 - Faculty Award for Civic Engagement –– Acknowledgement by Widener University

Academic Year 2011 - Fitz Dixon Innovation In Teaching Award Nominee – Acknowledgement by Widener University

Academic Year 2010 – present – Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) – Education Honor Society

Academic Year 2008 – Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) – Honor/Leadership/Service in Higher Education

Academic Year 2006 – Service Award – Acknowledgment by The Center for Education

Academic Year 2000 – Growth in Scholarship Award – Acknowledgment by Neumann College

Academic Year 1999 – Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award – Acknowledgement by Neumann College


In the Media


  • Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award Given to Community Engaged Teacher Education Program Coordinator

    The Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award has been given to College of Health and Human Services Professor Nadine McHenry. It is awarded to an individual or group who has designed, implemented, and assessed innovative or experimental teaching and learning project. 

    McHenry serves as coordinator of the Community Engaged Teacher Education (CETE) program, which has completely transformed teacher education in the Center for Education since its inception in 2016. CETE places teacher candidates in local classrooms and pairs them with community mentors in the city of Chester to develop culturally relevant teaching strategies and help teachers close the opportunity gap for students in diverse urban settings. McHenry is involved in all aspects of this multi-layered program, which benefits education students, undergraduate faculty, and the communities they serve. 

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  • Widener Professors and Alumni of Community Engaged Teacher Education Program Write Book Chapter

    Widener University professors in the Center for Education’s Community Engaged Teacher Education (CETE) program collaborated to write Chapter 4 Shared Power in Teacher Preparation: University, School, and Community in a recently published book, titled The Power of Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation
    The chapter was written by Professor Nadine McHenry, who coordinates the CETE program, as well as Director of the Widener Child Development Center Essence Allen-Presley, Associate Professor Bretton Alvaré, retired Stetser Elementary Principal Janet Baldwin, alumna Rev. Hilda Campbell, and alumna Taylor Borgstrom.
    The book focuses on how and why community-engaged teacher preparation is a vital approach to address an educational system that his historically deficient, discriminatory, and inequitable.

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  • Nadine McHenry Receives Chester Upland Community Partnership Award

    Professor Nadine McHenry received the 2019 Chester Upland Community Partnership Award for her leadership of Widener's Community Engaged Teacher Education program. She was recognized during an awards ceremony and reception held at STEM High School on June 12.

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