I am an Associate Professor of Educational Policy at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Please contact me anytime at dornerl @ missouri.edu. My research falls into three main areas: language policy and planning in education, educational policy implementation, and immigrant family integration in “new” spaces (like rural Missouri). I am especially interested in the development of language immersion education and how immigrant families and children navigate educational options in the Midwestern United States. And I am a proud fellow of the Cambio Center.
Much of my research is developed in partnership with local schools, families, and teachers. Together, we devise projects and strive to answer difficult questions. We also create together: for example, I have worked with Springboard and the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates to develop online curricula and conversations about the immigrant experience (www.lacesproject.org). Over the years, I have also conducted professional development and program evaluations for non-profit organizations, universities, and K-12 school districts.
I love teaching. I have taught students of all ages, from preschool to college. Most recently, I have taught undergraduate courses in child development and community/society for pre-service teachers, graduate courses in research methods, and specialty courses on the theories of human development, educational policy and immigrant families.
I received my interdisciplinary training and Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University. Previously, I worked as a Program Director at Education for Global Involvement in Chicago, an Assistant Language Teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Niigata, Japan, and an instructor at the City Colleges of Chicago. I hold a B.A. and M.A. in English, and M.A. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy. I consider myself an “emerging bilingual” in Spanish and a hopeful speaker of Japanese.
Finally, I love to read, hike, and explore the world with my family and friends. Over the past few years, I have read Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende, Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (One of my favorite Ted Talks is The Danger of the Single Story by Adichie.) With my daughter, I’m reading the series, Little House on the Prairie — and talking about how it is but one slice of the story of the “settling” of the western United States.