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EPOL scholar conducting refugee-related research through 2019

by the College of Education at Illinois / Jan 17, 2018

Liv T. Davila

Liv Dávila, an assistant professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership (EPOL), will be involved in two recently funded research projects that focus on immigrants and refugees.

The first project, “Family and Community Dynamics and the Experiences of Congolese Immigrant and Refugee Youth in School,” was awarded $24,485 by the Campus Research Board and will address a need for longitudinal, process-oriented data on refugee and immigrant youth outcomes in school.

Dávila, who is the principal investigator of the project, said African immigrants and refugees currently comprise 36 percent of the total foreign-born black population in the U.S., and that this population has increased by 137 percent since 2000.  Given this increase, the Office of English Language Acquisition in the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans have both noted a pressing need for research that focuses on black people who are English learners.

“This funding will be used to hire research assistants to assist with community-based field work in the Champaign-Urbana area, and to develop collaborative research initiatives around newcomer immigrant and refugee education with colleagues at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Michigan State University,” Dávila said.

Dávila’s research will examine the roles families and community resources play in students’ development of resilient multilingual identities, which will lay the foundation for a larger cross-institutional study on resiliency among refugees and school-aged immigrants in the U.S. and worldwide. The project will be conducted through July of 2019.

In addition, Dávila and a team of scholars received an Illinois-Sweden Program for Educational and Research Exchange (INSPIRE) grant to be used to further promote comparative knowledge on how different countries address the needs of refugee children in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. She will collaborate on the project with EPOL colleague Linda Herrera and scholars Nihad Bunar and Anna Lund from Stockholm University.