Dr. Davila's research examines the intersection of language learning and identity among immigrant and refugee students. Specific areas of interest include: the school experiences of adolescent multilingual learners, new/additional language and literacy development, teacher education and classroom pedagogies that support access and equity, and global perspectives on immigration and language education.


Ph.D., Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010

M.Ed., Teaching English as a Second Language, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2005

M.A., Comparative and International Development Education, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, 2000

B.A., Anthropology, French, Grinnell College, 1996

Awards, Honors, Associations

List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013 - 2017

List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2013 - 2013

Research & Service

Over the past decade, Dr. Davila’s scholarship has addressed ideological and interactional perspectives on the education of multilingual immigrant and refugee students and their teachers in urban and micro-urban centers in the U.S. and Sweden.  She has given special attention to learner identities, language and literacy practices, and the identities and ideologies of teachers in relation to immigrant and refugee students.

In her current research, she is documenting how adolescent English Learners from the Democratic Republic of the Congo position themselves in relation to their identities and learning within linguistically diverse high school classrooms in the U.S. Facets of this research include: translingual practices and content learning, multilingual peer learning, and learner resilience. This research is funded by a Spencer Foundation Small Grant (2016-2017).


Dávila, L. (2017) Heritage language ecologies in a multilingual Swedish School Journal of Language Identity and Education 16 (6), 395-407  link >

Davila, L., Kolano, L., Coffey, H., & , . (2017) Negotiating co-teaching identities in multilingual high school classrooms. National Association of Bilingual Education Journal of Research and Practice. 8 (1), 28-43  link >

Davila, L. (2017) Integration in isolation: Newly arrived immigrant youth in Sweden negotiate identity, language and literacy System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics 67, 1-11  link >

Davila, L. (2016) The pivotal and peripheral roles of bilingual classroom assistants at one Swedish elementary school International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Routledge  link >

Dávila, L. (2015) Diaspora literacy: An exploration of reading practices and identity in young African women English learners. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 58 (8), 641-649  link >

Dávila, L. (2014) Performing Allegiance: An Adolescent Refugee’s Construction of Patriotism in JROCT Educational Studies 50 (5), 447-463  link >

Kolano, L., Dávila, L., & Coffee, H. (2014) Multicultural Teacher Education: Why North and South Carolina Teachers say it matters in preparing them for English Language Learners The CATESOL Journal 25 (1), 41-65

Dávila, L. (2015) “Dare I ask?”: Eliciting prior knowledge and its implications for teaching and learning TESL-EJ: The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language 19 (2)  link >

Dávila, L. (2014) The problematics of representation in qualitative research on refugee youth Diaspora, Immigrant and Minority Education 8 (1), 21-31

Dávila, L. (2013) Learning English and "Smartness": Refugee Students Negotiate Language, Reception, and Ability in School Journal of Southeast Asian Education and Advancement 8, 1-19  link >

Coffey, H., Dávila, L., & Kolano, L. (2013) Developing critical literacy with English language learners: A plan for understanding the social implications of dialect Multicultural Learning and Teaching/deGruyter 8 (1), 115-132

Dávila, L. (2012) “For them it’s sink or swim”: Refugee students and the dynamics of migration, and (dis)placement in school . Power and Education, Special issue on migration and education, 3 (4), 139-149

Dávila, L., & Kolano, L.. “I am in school so I can help my people”: Community cultural epistemologies of academic success Sense Publishers

Dávila, L. (2011) “Good kids,” but “poor students”: Academic identities of refugee high school students from Vietnam's Central Highlands. Asian American Education: Identities, Racial Issues, and Languages Information Age: Charlotte, NC

Dávila, L. (2008) Language and opportunity in the “Land of Opportunity”: Latina immigrants’ reflections on language learning and professional mobility Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 7 (4), 356-370  link >


Performing allegiance: Refugee students learn citizenship in JROTC (2012).: Seattle, WA.

The problematics of representation in qualitative research on refugee youth (2012).: Seattle, WA.

Multicultural Teacher Education: Why North and South Carolina teachers say it matters in preparing them for English Language Learners (2012).: Dallas, TX.


Senior Personnel Practices Integrated across Mathematics, Engineering and Science (PrIMES), Illinois State Board of Education, 2017 - 2018

Principal Investigator An Examination of African High School English Learners’ Negotiation of New Language Learning and Academic Opportunity, The Spencer Foundation, 2016 - 2017


Secretary/Treasurer AERA-Second Language Research SIG, 2017 - 2019

Awards Committee Co-Chair AERA-Second Language Research SIG, 2015 - 2017

Mentoring Program Planning Committee AERA-Second Language Research SIG, 2015 - present

Selection Committee American Educational Research Association Division K Exemplary Research in Teaching and Teacher Education Awards Committee, 2013 - 2013


Biling ESL Methods & Material Focuses on bilingual and English-as-a-second language (ESL) curriculum development and instruction for bilingual and second-language learners (K-12) in a variety of language and program settings. Emphasizes bilingual and ESL materials selection and development, bilingual and ESL literacy instruction, bilingual and ESL content area instruction, and sheltered English instruction. Issues related to second-language acquisition, cultural and linguistic diversity, and parental and community involvement are reviewed. Course Information: 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: CI 433 or consent of instructor.

Linguistics for Classrm Teach Intensive examination of problems and trends in the subject fields. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 8 hours.

Foundations of Education Studies some of the problems of formulating and justifying aims and policies in American education, of designing and systematizing the curriculum, of organization and social context of the public school system, and of the teaching-learning process; examined in terms of perspectives provided by social philosophy, history, sociology, and philosophy of education. Class Schedule Information: Students must register for one discussion and one lecture section.

Foundations of Education-ACP Course is identical to EPS 201 except for the additional writing component. Course Information: Credit is not given for both EPS 202 and EPS 201. Prerequisite: Completion of campus Composition I general education requirement. Class Schedule Information: Students must register for one discussion and one lecture section.

Liv T. Davila

Assistant Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership



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

Update Your Profile Refresh Your Web Profile

Refreshing data...please wait