Key Professional Appointments

Academic Leadership Program FellowCouncil on Institutional Cooperation, 2003 - 2004

Associate ProfessorCurriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, 1997 - 2002

Center for Advanced Study FellowUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997 - 1998

Assistant ProfessorCurriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, 1991 - 1997

Faculty FellowCollege of Education, 1995 - 1996

ProfessorCurriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, 2002 - 


Ph.D., Education, Ohio State University, 1990

M.A., Education, Ohio State University, 1975

B.S., Elementary Education, Kent State University, 1974

Awards, Honors, Associations

Recipient, Fulbright Scholar Award2013 - 2013

Recipient, College of Education, Distinguished Teaching Career Award2010 - 2012

University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar2002 - 2003

Campus Award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research2001 - 2001

Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching2000 - 2000

University Scholar Award2000 - 2000

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award2000 - 2000

Distinguished Scholar Award1999 - 1999

Outstanding Researcher1998 - 1998

Research & Service

My research interests are drawn from critical theory and applied to the history of literacy, trends and issues in reading research preservice literacy education. My research projects have focused on: the application of a critical pedagogy in preservice teacher education courses that use multicultural literature, the history of African American Literacy, and a critical history of literacy in the United States.

My current projects include a naturalistic study of a critically framed preservice literacy course and a ethnohistorical study of the Calhoun Colored School.

A goal for my current and future research is to apply understandings and knowledge through the application of critical theory to help create more democratic, emancipatory, and socially just schooling environments.


Willis, A., Montovan, M., Burke, L., Hunter, C., Herrera, A., Hall, H. (2008) On critically conscious research: Approaches to language and literacy research.. Teachers College Press: New York

Willis, A. (2008) Reading comprehension research and testing in the US: Undercurrents of race, class, and power in the struggle for meaning.. Lawrence Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ

Willis, A. (2007) Critical race theory and literacy. Encyclopedia of language and education Springer Science + Business Media: New York

Willis, A., Harris, V. (2003) Afterword. Multicultural issues in literacy research and practice Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ

Willis, A., Garcia, G., Barrera, R., Harris, V. (2003) Multicultural issues in literacy research and practice.. Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ

Willis, A. (2002) Literacy at Calhoun Colored School, 1892-1943 Reading Research Quarterly

Merchant, B., Willis, A. (2001) Multiple and intersecting identities in qualitative research.. Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ

Willis, A. (2001) Rocks in the brook: A teacher educator's self study. Reconceptualizing literacy in the new age of pluralism and multiculuralism JAI Press: Greenwich, CT

Willis, A., Johnson, J. (2000) A horizon of possibilities: A critical framework for transforming multiethnic literature instruction.. Reading Online link>

Willis, A., Harris, V. (2000) Political acts: Literacy learning and teaching Reading Research Quarterly

Willis, A. (1998) (1998). Teaching and using multicultural literature in grades 9-12: Moving beyond the canon.. Christopher-Gordon: Norwood, MA

Willis, A., Harris, V. (1997) Expanding the boundaries: A reaction to the First Grade Reading Studies Reading Research Quarterly

Willis, A. (1995) Reading the world: Contextualizing the school literacy experiences of a young African-American male Harvard Educational Review


Co-Editor2010 - 2013

Vice President2012 - 2012

Vice-President Elect2011 - 2011

President2008 - 2009

Associate Editor2002 - 2003

Funding Board Member2002 - 2003

Reviewer2002 - 2002

Arlette Willis

Professor, Curriculum & Instruction



307 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Edit Refresh

Refreshing data...please wait