Diane Lowe

Dr. Diane Lowe

Professor, Department of Education

Diane Lowe

Framingham State’s longtime elementary literacy specialist Dr. Diane Lowe still occupies the same office in Crocker Hall that she did when she arrived at the University in the fall of 1973. From her perch on the third floor overlooking Crocker Grove, she’s watched five different presidents (soon to be six) emerge from Dwight Hall on their way to various meetings over the years.

“This is a fabulous place to work,” says Dr. Lowe, who after 41 years still has no plans to retire. “It’s a really great community.”

Dr. Lowe has had a monumental impact during her time at FSU, which has included redesigning and coordinating the graduate program in Literacy and Language, launching and advising the FSU chapter of the International Reading Association (IRA) honor society, introducing portfolio assessment to the Education Department and serving on the committee that brought some of the earliest computer technology to the University. Along the way, she’s taught and mentored thousands of future teachers and administrators.

“It would be difficult to find an elementary school in Massachusetts that isn’t home to one of my former students,” says Dr. Lowe, who was FSU’s Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year in 2006.

Dr. Lowe has established a reputation throughout Massachusetts as one of the leading literacy experts. Her former role as president of the Massachusetts Reading Association led to her involvement with the IRA and the establishment of the Alpha Upsilon Alpha honor society at FSU in 1994.

“We are one of only 20 chapters in the world,” says Dr. Lowe, who has been the faculty advisor since the group’s inception. “It’s a very elite group and a good leadership opportunity for students who serve as officers.”

Each fall, the honor society holds an initiation ceremony that draws leading literacy experts from around the globe to serve as keynote speakers. The most recent speaker was Dr. Donald Leu, director of the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut, who is recognized as the international leader in research into the new literacies.

“To have someone like that come speak to our students is invaluable,” Dr. Lowe says. “The honor society has been a lot of work, but it’s something I’m extremely proud of.”

In 1991, Dr. Lowe redesigned a dormant graduate program in Literacy and Language that has since gone on to become a big success.

“It’s grown into a really strong graduate program that’s gone through three reviews and has always received commendations,” Dr. Lowe says. “I have wonderful faculty who come here to teach in the program.”

There have been many other successes for Dr. Lowe along the way. But she takes the most pride in the time she’s put in to mentor her current and former students. Those former students include winners of the Massachusetts’ Teacher of the Year Award and the Milken Educator Award, which provides $25,000 to the recipient. A recent winner of the award invited Dr. Lowe to join him at the state house for the ceremony.

“Mentoring students and helping them grow professionally is what we all like to do,” Dr. Lowe says. “We are fortunate to have excellent students who really want to become good teachers and work very hard to learn everything they can during their time here.”

While Framingham State has evolved from a small college to a comprehensive University over the past 40 years, one thing that has not changed during Dr. Lowe’s tenure is the excellent reputation of the Education Department.

“Teachers throughout the state are proud to say they graduated from Framingham State,” Dr. Lowe says. “I have principals and superintendents who call me because they need a teacher and want me to recommend a Framingham State graduate. I’m fortunate to be a member of the Education Department. We all have different strengths, different interests, and different ways of teaching, and we all work very hard to stay current with the latest research.”

During this spring’s commencement ceremony, you will find Dr. Lowe in a familiar spot—holding the FSU mace as she leads her colleagues in the procession. Fortunately for the University, it’s an honor she’s not quite ready to give up after all these years.