College of Education

About Us Admissions & Academics Research & Engagement Departments & Faculty Current Students

Arlette Willis

Key Professional Appointments

  • Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Awards, Honors, Associations

Oscar Causey Award, 2021

Reading Hall of Fame, 2020

John J. Gumperz Memorial Award for Distinguished Lifetime Scholarship , 2019

J. William Fulbright Award, 2014

College of Education, Distinguished Teaching Career Award, 2010

Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society, 2004

University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar, 2002

University Scholar Award, 2002

Campus Award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research, 2001

College of Education, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2000

College of Education's Distinguished Scholar Award, 1999

College of Education, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1998

Publications

NALUBEGA-BOOKER, KENDRA., & WILLIS, ARLETTE. (2020). Applying critical race theory as a tool for examining the literacies of black immigrant youth. Teachers College Record, 122(13), [130309].

Smagorinsky, P., Guay, M., Ellison, T. L., & Willis, A. I. (2020). A Sociocultural Perspective on Readers, Reading, Reading Instruction and Assessment, Reading Policy, and Reading Research. In E. B. Moje, P. P. Afflerbach, P. Enciso, & N. K. Lesaux (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research, Volume V (pp. 57-75). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2019). Race, Response to Intervention, and Reading Research. Journal of Literacy Research, 51(4), 394-419.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2019). Response to Intervention: An Illusion of Equity. Language Arts, 97(2), 83-96.

Brown, A. F., Bloome, D., Morris, J. E., Power-Carter, S., & Willis, A. I. (2017). Classroom Conversations in the Study of Race and the Disruption of Social and Educational Inequalities: A Review of Research. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 453-476.  link >

Sailors, M., Martinez, M., Davis, D., Goatley, V., & Willis, A. (2017). Interrupting and disrupting literacy research. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(1), 6-9.  link >

Sailors, M., Martinez, M., Davis, D., Goatley, V., & Willis, A. (2017). Literacy research and the radical imagination. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(3), 319-320.  link >

Sailors, M., Martinez, M., Davis, D., Goatley, V., & Willis, A. (2017). Literacy research in uncertain times. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(2), 155-156.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2017). Re-Positioning Race in English Language Arts Research. In D. Lapp, & D. Fisher (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (4 ed., pp. 453-476). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2016). Critical Race Theory. In B. V. Street, & S. May (Eds.), Literacies and Language Education (pp. 1-13). (Encyclopedia of Language and Education). Springer.  link >

García, G. E., & Willis, A. I. (2015). Frameworks for Promoting Multicultural Literacies: Moving Toward Educational Justice. In P. R. Schmidt, & A. Lazar (Eds.), Reconceptualizing Literacy in the New Age of Multiculturalism and Pluralism (2 ed.). (Literacy, Language and Learning). Information Age Publishing Inc..

Willis, A. I. (2015). Literacy and Race: Access, Equity, and Freedom. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 64(1), 23-55.  link >

Jiang, Y. L. B., García, G. E., & Willis, A. I. (2014). Code-Mixing as a Bilingual Instructional Strategy. Bilingual Research Journal, 37(3), 311-326.  link >

Bloome, D., & Willis, A. I. (2013). Conversation Currents: On Discourse and Language Learning. Language Arts, 91(1), 61-68.

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2011). Editorial statement. American Educational Research Journal, 48(4), 936-937.  link >

Willis, A. (2010). Critical Approaches to Research in English Language Arts. In D. Lapp, & D. Fisher (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (3 ed.). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2009). EduPolitical research: Reading between the lines. Educational Researcher, 38(7), 528-536.  link >

Connor, J. J., & Willis, A. I. (2008). “Educational, Controversial, Provocative, and Personal”: Three African American Adolescent Males Reflect on Critically Framing a Lesson Before Dying. In L. A. Spears-Bunton, & R. Powell (Eds.), Toward a Literacy of Promise: Joining the African American Struggle (pp. 81-104). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2008). Critical Race Theory. In N. H. Hornberger (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Education (pp. 432-445). Springer.  link >

Willis, A. I., Montavon, M., Hunter, C., Hall, H., Burke, L., & Herrera, A. (2008). On Critically Conscious Research: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research. Teachers College Press.

Willis, A. I. (2008). Reading Comprehension Research and Testing in the U.S. Undercurrents of Race, Class, and Power in the Struggle for Meaning. Taylor and Francis.  link >

Isenbarger, L., & Willis, A. I. (2006). An Intersection of Theory and Practice: Accepting the Language a Child Brings into the Classroom. Language Arts, 84(2), 125-135.

Willis, A. I., & Har, V. J. (2004). Preparing preservice teachers to teach multicultural literature. In J. Flood, D. Lapp, & S. B. Heath (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts (pp. 460-469). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2003). Afterword. In A. I. Willis, G. E. Garcia, R. B. Barrera, & V. J. Harris (Eds.), Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice (pp. 289-293). Taylor and Francis.

Willis, A. I., Garcia, G. E., Barrera, R. B., & Harris, V. J. (Eds.) (2003). Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice. Erlbaum.  link >

Harris, V., & Willis, A. I. (2002). WILLIAM EDWARD BURGHARDT DU BOIS 1868–1963. In J. Palmer, L. Bresler, & D. Cooper (Eds.), Fifty Major Thinkers on Education: From Confucius to Dewey (pp. 212-219). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. (2002). ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER 1858–1964. In J. Palmer, L. Bresler, & D. Cooper (Eds.), Fifty Major Thinkers on Education: From Confucius to Dewey (pp. 169-177). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2002). Dissin' and disremembering: Motivation and culturally and linguistically diverse students' literacy learning. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 18(4), 293-319.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2002). Literacy at Calhoun Colored School 1892-1945. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(1), 8-44.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2001). Rocks in the Brook: A Teacher Educator’s Reflections. In P. R. Schmidt, & P. B. Mosenthal (Eds.), Reconceptualizing Literacy in the New Age of Multiculturalism and Pluralism (Literacy, Language and Learning). Information Age Publishing Inc..

Merchant, B., & Willis, A. I. (Eds.) (2000). Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research. Psychology Press.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2000). An African American Female Researcher's Journey: Epistemological, Conceptual, and Methodological Concerns. In B. Merchant, & A. I. Willis (Eds.), Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research (pp. 43-60). Psychology Press.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2000). Keeping It Real: Teaching and Learning about Culture, Literacy, and Respect. English Education, 32(4), 267-277.

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2000). Political acts: Literacy learning and teaching. Reading Research Quarterly, 35(1), 72-88.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Lewis, K. C. (1999). Our known everydayness: Beyond a response to white privilege. Urban Education, 34(2), 245-262.  link >

García, G. E., Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (1998). Introduction: Appropriating and Creating Space for Difference in Literacy Research. Journal of Literacy Research, 30(2), 181-186.  link >

Willis, A. I., Lewis, K. C., & Ladson-Billings, G. (1998). Focus on Research: A Conversation with Gloria Ladson-Billings. Language Arts, 75(1), 61-70.

Willis, A. I. (1998). In Their Own Words: Stories of the Interconnectedness of Life, Teaching, and Research. Reading Research Quarterly, 33(4), 487-496.  link >

Willis, A. I. (1998). Teaching multicultural literature in grades 9-12: moving beyond the canon. Christopher-Gordon Publishers.

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (1997). Expanding the boundaries: A reaction to the First-Grade Studies. Reading Research Quarterly, 32(4), 439-445.  link >

Willis, A. I. (1997). Focus on Research: Historical Considerations. Language Arts, 74(5), 387-397.

Willis, A. I. (1995). Reading the World of School Literacy: Contextualizing the Experience of a Young African American Male. Harvard Educational Review, (Spring).

Willis, A. I. (1995). School Literacy Experiences: How Culturally Narrow are they? Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 16(2), 219-235.  link >

Courses

Tchg Diverse High School Stu (CI 403) Examines the curriculum and philosophy of teaching students in high school grades. Students will focus on a number of related topics including teaching a diverse student population, including all students in instruction, using technology for teaching high school English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies and alternative means of assessing students' learning. Seminar content will be integrated with coursework in instructional technology, assessment, and special education with high school students. Coursework is integrated with a high school field experience. Students in English Education only.

Tchg Reading in Grades 4-12 (CI 472) Examines current literacy practices beyond the primary grades including factors related to reading comprehension, vocabulary development, fluency, and motivation. Includes issues related to diversity and ESL related to teaching reading.

Introduction to Reading (CI 502) Provides an overview of reading in the US. Topics covered include the definition of reading and its importance, theoretical models and philosophies of reading and reading instruction, the history of reading instruction, the development of reading skill, current research-based reading instruction, Federal legislation affecting reading instruction, and professional and state standards related to reading instruction. Provides an overview of reading in the US. Topics covered include the definition of reading and its importance, theoretical models and philosophies of reading and reading instruction, the history of reading instruction, the development of reading skill, current research-based reading instruction, Federal legislation affecting reading instruction, and professional and state standards related to reading instruction.

Introduction to Reading (CI 502) Provides an overview of reading in the US. Topics covered include the definition of reading and its importance, theoretical models and philosophies of reading and reading instruction, the history of reading instruction, the development of reading skill, current research-based reading instruction, Federal legislation affecting reading instruction, and professional and state standards related to reading instruction.

Evolution of Multicultural Edu (CI 507) Intensive examination of problems and trends in the subject fields. Synchronous attendance required. This seminar is designed to provide historical knowledge and understanding about the evolution of multicultural education in the United States. We will examine multiculturalism from its onset to prospective future evolution. There is a special focus on how multiculturalism has informed curriculum content and teacher education.

Rdg and Wrtg Across the Curr (CI 582) Designed for elementary and middle school educators, this course focuses on theory and practice related to both intradisciplinary integration (across the language arts) and interdisciplinary integration (across the content areas). Specific methods and strategies for fostering effective integrated literacy instruction are explored.

Evolution of Multicultural Edu (CI 590) Seminar for graduate students on specific topics. Synchronous attendance required. This seminar is designed to provide historical knowledge and understanding about the evolution of multicultural education in the United States. We will examine multiculturalism from its onset to prospective future evolution. There is a special focus on how multiculturalism has informed curriculum content and teacher education.

Diversity and Pedagogy (EPOL 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education. This seminar is designed to provide historical knowledge and understanding about underlying systems of racial inequity as well as the enduring effects of inequity in education today. We will explore how the concepts of culturally relevant pedagogy, diversity, inclusivity, multiculturalism, and social and emotional trauma emerged in education literature. Of special import, is how these concepts inform literacy: assessment, practice, and research. Independently, students will address a specific concern of educational inequity as part of a culminating final project.

Critical Literacy (EPOL 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education.

Diversity & Pedagogy (EPOL 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education. This seminar is designed to provide historical knowledge and understanding about underlying systems of racial inequity as well as the enduring effects of inequity in education today. We will explore how the concepts of culturally relevant pedagogy, diversity, inclusivity, multiculturalism, and social and emotional trauma emerged in education literature. Of special import, is how these concepts inform literacy: assessment, practice, and research. Independently, students will address a specific concern of educational inequity as part of a culminating final project.

Diversity & Pedagogy (EPOL 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education. Synchronous attendance required.

Politics of Reading & Curr (EPOL 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education.

Diversity and Pedagogy (EPOL 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education. ONLINE STUDENT SECTION. This seminar is designed to provide historical knowledge and understanding about underlying systems of racial inequity as well as the enduring effects of inequity in education today. We will explore how the concepts of culturally relevant pedagogy, diversity, inclusivity, multiculturalism, and social and emotional trauma emerged in education literature. Of special import, is how these concepts inform literacy: assessment, practice, and research. Independently, students will address a specific concern of educational inequity as part of a culminating final project.

Diversity and Pedagogy (EPS 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education. This seminar is designed to provide historical knowledge and understanding about underlying systems of racial inequity as well as the enduring effects of inequity in education today. We will explore how the concepts of culturally relevant pedagogy, diversity, inclusivity, multiculturalism, and social and emotional trauma emerged in education literature. Of special import, is how these concepts inform literacy: assessment, practice, and research. Independently, students will address a specific concern of educational inequity as part of a culminating final project.