Afra Hersi, Ph.D
Dean, School of Education
Professor, Literacy Teacher Education
Ph.D., Boston College, Curriculum and Instruction: Language, Literacy, and Learning
M.Ed., Boston College, Curriculum and Instruction
B.S., Radford University, Social Studies and Secondary Education
Afra Ahmed Hersi is the Dean of the School of Education at Loyola University Maryland and a Professor in Literacy Teacher Education. Dr. Hersi earned her B.A. in Social Studies and Secondary Education from Radford University, her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College, and her Ph.D., in Curriculum and Instruction: Language, Literacy, and Learning from Boston College. Dr. Hersi has over 25 years of leadership experience in higher education, K 12 public education, and educational research. She has served as chair of the teacher education department, and as the director of the literacy graduate program. A collaborative leader, Dr. Hersi has worked with colleagues to develop a number of innovative programs to engage students while serving the needs of the University and the local community. Dr. Hersi led a strategic and successful effort to strengthen the clinical preparation of teacher candidates through intentional school-university partnerships. She has brought laser focus to Loyola’s mission to advance equity and social justice in education. She launched the Center for Equity, Leadership, and Social Justice in Education to strengthen the School of Education’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and engaged scholarship. Dr. Hersi is committed to advancing academic excellence, social justice, ethical responsibility, and the care for the whole person as core values in the SOE. She has published research in the areas of literacy, and language development for bilingual learners, culturally and linguistically responsive practice, and teacher education. Her most recent work includes Antiracism in Teacher Education: Theory and Practice (2022) and Antiracism in Teacher Education: Narrative and Counternarratives (2022), co-edited with Gilda Martinez-Alba, Luis Javier Penton Herrera.
Awards and Grants
Kolvenbach Fellow, 2009
Verizon Foundation Grant $15,000, 2010 (Literacy Scholars Program in collaboration with the Development Office and Loyola Clinical Centers).
Knott Foundation Grant (Literacy Scholars Program in collaboration with the Development Office and Loyola Clinical Centers).
Junior Sabbatical, Awarded Fall 2011
Literacy teacher education; language and literacy development of adolescent English language learners; immigration and social identity development; and culturally responsive teacher; urban school reform; parent community engagement.
Hersi, A.A., Horan, D. A., & Lewis, M. (Summer 2016). Redefining “community” through collaboration and co-teaching: A case study of an ESOL specialist, a literacy specialist, and a fifth-grade teacher. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
Horan, D.A., & Hersi. A.A. & Kelsall, P. (2015). The dialogic nature of meaning making within a hybrid learning space: Individual, community, and knowledge-building pedagogical Tools. (S. Keengwe, Ed). Handbook of Research on Active Learning and the Flipped Learning Model in the Digital Age.
Watkinson, J.S., & Hersi, A.A. (2014). School counselors supporting African immigrant students’ career development: A case study. Career Development Quarterly. March, 62.
Hersi, A.A. (2013). Transnational immigration and family context: What teachers should know. In S. Keengwe, (Ed.) Cross-Cultural Considerations in the Education of Young Immigrant Learners. IGI Global Publishing
Hersi, A. A. (2010). Review of The flat world and education: How America’s commitment to equity will determine our future. Journal of Educational Change, 11, pp. 291-295.
Horan, D. A. & Hersi, A.A. (2015). Bilingual Pre-Service Teachers’ Responses to Border Crossing Literature. Literacy Research Association, Carlsbad, California
Hersi, A. A. & *Thornbury, J. (2016). Challenging the “Play Gets in the Way” Myth: Play and Literacy Instruction in an Urban Classroom. American Education Research Association Annual Conference, Washington DC
Hersi, A.A. *Smith, S. (2016). Race and Resiliency: Understanding the Experiences of High Achieving African American Male Students. American Education Research Association Annual Conference, Washington DC
Hersi, A.A. *Smith, S. (2014). The Pursuit of Excellence: Unpacking the Experiences of African American Male Students Enrolled in an International Baccalaureate Program. American Education Research Association Annual Conference, Chicago.
Hersi, A. A., Lewis, M., & Horan, D. A. (2013). Building a Community of Practice: Transforming English Language Arts Instruction for English Language Learners Hersi, A.A. (2012). National Council of Teachers of English, Boston MA.
Hersi, A. A. & Smith-D’Arezzo, W. M (2013). Reflections on Teacher Education and Social Justice. Justice Conference. The National Steering Committee on Justice in Jesuit Higher Education International Conference, at Creighton University.
Hersi, A. A. Falling Through the Cracks: Unpacking the educational experiences of students with limited formal education (SIFE). American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC. April, 2012
Hersi, A.A. Culturally Responsive Literacy Practice. Loyola/Notre Dame Library Faculty Scholarship Symposium., February, 2012
Hersi, A.A., Skerrett, A., & Deal, D. Co-Teaching Case Study: A Classroom Teacher, Reading Specialist, and ESOL Teacher Collaborate in One Classroom. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April, 2011.
Hersi, A.A. Immigration and resiliency: Unpacking the experiences of high school students from Cape Verde and Ethiopia. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April, 2011.
Watkinson, J.S. & Hersi, A.A. Supporting immigrant adolescent students' success: Power of Teachers. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April, 2011.
Hersi, A. A. Gollo-Fox, J. & Lewis, L. Preparing Elementary Classroom Teachers and Reading Specialists: Taking a Closer Look at the Reading Practicum International Reading Association Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, May 2011
Miller, D., Hersi., A.A. & Laster, B. IRA Standards, 2010: Promises and Opportunities (K-12). State of Maryland International Reading Association Annual Conference.
Watkinson, J., Hersi, A.A., and Litcka, P. (April, 2010). Fragile Partners: Catholic School University Partnerships. American Education Research Association Denver CO.
Smith-D’Arezzo, W.M. & Hersi, A. A., Antoinino, C., Felix, K., Costa, Dharmadhikari, V. (May, 2010) Inquiry and teacher research in urban classrooms: Empowering teachers to act. International Reading Association National Convention, Chicago, Illinois.
Hersi, A.A.(December, 2009). Preparing Pre-service Teachers to Engage English Language Learners in Content Area Classrooms. National Reading Conference, Albuquerque NM.
Smith-D’Arezzo, W.M. & Hersi, A.A. (May, 2009). Infusing Action Research in a Reading Specialist Program: Implementing an Innovative Two-Course Sequence. International Reading Association: Minneapolis, MN.
Hersi, A.A. & Riley, J. (November, 2009). The Power of zines: Pedagogical strategies for engaging middle school students in authentic writing. Annual Conference of the National Council of Teachers of English, Philadelphia, PA
Smith-D’Arezzo, W.M. & Hersi, A. A. (December, 2009). Bullying, books, Boys vs girls. 2009 National Reading Conference, Albuquerque NM.
Hersi, A.A. (December, 2009). Preparing Pre-service Teachers to Engage English Language Learners in Content Area Classrooms. National Reading Conference, Albuquerque NM.
Horan, D., & Hersi, A. A. (2010). Preparing teachers for diversity: An alternative to ‘linguistic course work’ for student teachers in the U.S.A. In S. Elis, J. Bourne, and E. McCartnery (Eds.). Insight and Impact: Applied Linguistics and the Primary School. Cambridge University Press.
Hersi, A.A. (April, 2008). Between Hope and Hostility: Exploring the Experiences of African Immigrant Students in an Urban High School”. American Education Research Association Annual Conference, New York City, NY.
Hersi, A.A. (2008), “Search for Belonging: African Immigrant High School Students Negotiating Identity” American Association of Applied Linguists (AAAL) Washington DC.