Dr. Davila's research examines the intersection of language learning and identity among immigrant and refugee students. While she focuses on multilingual students in U.S. school and community contexts, she has also examined how newly arrived immigrant and refugee students and their teachers negotiate second and heritage language learning/teaching at an urban elementary school in Sweden. 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

Awards, Honors, Associations

List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013 - 2016

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

Research & Service

Dr. Davila's research explores many facets of language learning and use in home, school and community settings. Specific projects have examined 1) how adolescent English learners engage learning academic content and literacy; 2) curricular programming needs for English learners with limited or interrupted formal education; 3) and heritage language maintenance/learning at an elementary school in Sweden. Her current research explores how multilingual African immigrant and refugee high school students tap into home languages as they learn English, and the role of race, gender and social class in these students' language learning and overall experiences in school.


Thorstensson Davila, 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

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

Thorstensson Davila, 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


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


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



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

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