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Ruslana Westerlund

Job Titles

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of World Languages and Cultures
    World Languages and Cultures, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Adjunct Instructor
    Education K-12 (M.A.), Graduate School

Started at Bethel



  • Cherkasy Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University, Ukraine - B.A.,
  • Cherkasy Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University, Ukraine - M.A. in Education, 1995
  • Bethel University - Ed.D., 2014

Areas of expertise

English language development, bilingual education, academic language, ESL/bilingual program evaluation, teacher change, science of implementation, and policy implementation


Ruslana Westerlund, Ed.D. has been a faculty member (both adjunct and full-time) at Bethel University since 2002. She taught in the newly-created ESL Licensure program in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) until 2006. She continues to teach Linguistics for CAS and Responsive Pedagogy for English Language Learners course at the Master's of Education program in the adjunct faculty role.

Her fulltime job is in Madison, Wisconsin where she is an associate researcher at WIDA. It is housed at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her responsibilities include re-conceptualization and development of tools for the English Language Development (ELD) Standards Framework by working with teachers and researchers to inform the WIDA ELD Standards Framework. She believes that language development for these learners is situated at the intersection of the societal, school, and student socio-cultural contexts (Cortez, 1986) and that education of such learners encompasses issues beyond language and is deeply rooted in social justice.

Before coming to WIDA, Ruslana worked as an ELD Specialist at K-12, teacher preparation programs at undergraduate and graduate levels and served as an ELD and refugee student specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education. In that role, she managed grants from the Office of Refugee Resettlement and collaborated with various state departments to provide wrap-around services to refugee children. She completed her doctorate degree at Bethel University where she studied educational leadership.  In her dissertation she explored teachers’ sense-making of the WIDA ELD Standards in their daily practice. In her spare time, she blogs at Reclaiming The Language For Social Justice blog. She is married and has two children and two dogs and lives in Madison, Wisconsin.  

Courses Taught

College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Modern World Languages

  • Curriculum and Instruction Development
  • ESL Methods
  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Second Language Acquisition

Graduate School, Masters of Education program

  • Responsive Pedagogy for English Language Learners 


Lost in Translation: A Descriptive Case Study of a K-5 Urban Charter School Implementing the WIDA ELD Standards. Dissertation, November 2014


WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, English Learner Language Specialists in South Asia Conference, November 2013, February 2015, Bangkok, Thailand

The Role of Language in Social Justice in EducationManitoba, Canada, October 2015