I am a Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Director of the Cambio Center: a teacher, researcher, and life-long learner . . . a lover of language, intercultural connection, and the idea of educación. You can email me at dornerl @ missouri.edu or visit me at LinkedIn.
My work falls into three main areas: the politics and planning of bilingual education, educational policy enactment, and immigrant childhoods, especially concerning family-school engagement and language brokering. I am especially interested in the development of language immersion (also called “dual language”) education and how immigrant families and children navigate their options in the Midwestern United States. And in 2018, I was a Fulbright Specialist working with colegas in Barranquilla, Colombia, at Uninorte’s Instituto de Idiomas.
I believe *change is local*, so I strive to work in partnership with local schools, families, and teachers. Together, we devise projects and answer questions. We also create together. Over the years, I have collaborated on professional development workshops and program evaluations for non-profit organizations, projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and K-12 school districts. As one example, in the early 2010s, I worked with Springboard and the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates to develop online curricula and conversations about the immigrant experience (here is our old website, in need of serious updating! www.lacesproject.org). And I am on the Advisory Board of Beloved Community, dedicated to working toward equity with and within communities.
*I love teaching.* I have taught students of all ages, from preschool to college. At the University of Missouri, I have taught undergraduate education courses where we inquire into community and societal change (read more here), graduate courses in research methods (particularly qualitative methods, grounded theory, and discourse analysis), and specialty courses on the theories of human development, educational policy, and immigrant families.
I received my *interdisciplinary* 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, friends, and students. Reading and exploring the world go hand-in-hand for me. Over the past years, I have read Demon Copperhead and Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver (one of my all-time favorite authors), Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (I’m still mad it took me til my 40s to discover Butler’s novels), Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende, Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (One of my favorite Ted Talks is The Danger of the Single Story by Adichie.)
I hope I have passed on this love of reading and exploring the world with my two (now nearly adult!) children. When they were younger, I tried to seek out novels that addressed issues of justice/injustice and positioned girls and people of color in powerful roles. I re-read the series, Little House on the Prairie with my daughter — and made sure to discuss the way it positions “Indians” and tells only one slice of the story of “settling” the western United States. We also read Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Frankly in Love by David Yoon, and The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. And who doesn’t love the brother/sister combo in the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, the fantastical series of Harry Potter, and the writing of Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events).
*HAPPY READING ‘N EXPLORING*