Main Menu Summer 2013

Arlette Willis

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Education, Ohio State University, 1990
  • M.A., Education, Ohio State University, 1975
  • B.S., Elementary Education, Kent State University, 1974

Key Professional Appointments

  • Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, 2002-present
  • Academic Leadership Program Fellow, Council on Institutional Cooperation, 2003-2004
  • Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, 1997-2002
  • Center for Advanced Study Fellow, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997-1998
  • Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, 1991-1997
  • Faculty Fellow, College of Education, 1995-1996

Activities & Honors

  • Recipient, Fulbright Scholar Award, Institute of International Education, 2013
  • Co-Editor, American Educational Research Association, 2010-2013
  • Vice President, Vice President, Literacy Research Association, 2012-
  • Vice-President Elect, Literacy Research Association, 2011-
  • President, National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy, 2008-2009
  • Funding Board Member, Dissertation Fellowship Program, The Spencer Foundation, 2002-2003
  • Associate Editor, The New Advocate, 2002-2003
  • University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002-2003
  • Reviewer, Institute of Education Sciences, 2002-
  • Campus Award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001
  • Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Honorable Mention, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000
  • University Scholar Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, College of Education, 2000
  • Distinguished Scholar Award, College of Education, 1999
  • Outstanding Researcher, American Educational Research Association, 1998
  • Recipient, College of Education, Distinguished Teaching Career Award, ,

Research Statement

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.

Select Publications

  • 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, 37(1), 8-44.
  • 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, 4(3).
  • Willis, A., Harris, V. (2000). Political acts: Literacy learning and teaching. Reading Research Quarterly, 35(1), 72-88.
  • 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, 32(4), 439-445.
  • Willis, A. (1995). Reading the world: Contextualizing the school literacy experiences of a young African-American male. Harvard Educational Review, 65(1), 30-49.