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Dr. Yolanda Majors joins CEHD and MCRR

The Minnesota Center for Reading Research (MCRR) in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota is pleased to announce the addition of Yolanda Majors, Ph.D., as a new faculty leader with a 50% appointment at the MCRR beginning in the fall of 2011. Dr. Majors will lead an effort at the Reading Center to enhance our work with K-12 schools to support teachers, particularly those who teach students of poverty, as they learn to effectively teach youth from diverse backgrounds to become competent readers and writers. Dr. Majors will guide the Reading Center to better understand effective approaches to engage students who struggle with literacy at the middle and high school levels, and to translate this research into practice. She will help the MCRR to create bidirectional relationships between practicing educators in middle and high schools and university researchers and provide a voice to the MCRR concerning the strengths and challenges for African American youth, underserved youth in urban school settings, and struggling students at the middle and high school levels as they work to meet state and national literacy standards.

In addition to her appointment at the MCRR, Dr. Majors will provide leadership throughout the CEHD to support under-represented pre-tenured faculty members with structured mentoring opportunities. She will also teach a course each year in the English Education program area of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, where she will be appointed Visiting Associate Professor for 2011-2012.

Yolanda J. Majors, Ph.D.

Yolanda MajorsAssociate Director for Adolescent Literacy & Learning, MCRR

Visiting Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction
College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota

Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction;
Director, Under-represented Faculty Mentoring Program;
Faculty Associate, Learning Sciences Research Institute, and African American Studies
College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago


My work is a part of recent efforts of culture, language, and literacy research to examine how users of African American English (AAE) fare in contexts of cultural community settings. In much of my research I explore the cultural and academic underpinnings of how people come to make meaning through processes of reasoning, including argumentative reasoning. I investigate culturally-situated literacy practices across African American and Latino communities and classroom contexts. My aim is to make the case for utilizing culturally-based processes for reasoning (employed within community contexts for solving real life dilemmas) as literacy learning and instructional tools in secondary classrooms.

Contact Information:

148 Peik Hall, 159 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis
612-626-6637 |

Brief Bio:

Yolanda J. Majors is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where she focuses her research on adult/adolescent literacy, instructional design, and academic and social problem solving expertise within specific ethnic speech communities and their implications for learning and teaching processes. She has been with the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) since 2003. Prior to UIC, she was Assistant Professor of Language Education at the University of Georgia (2001–2003).

Dr. Majors was awarded her Ph.D. in 2002 in Language, Literacy and Culture, from the University of Iowa, and her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Illinois in 1992. She also holds an M.A.T in English Education (1996) from the University of Iowa. She was a Holmes Fellow in 1996, and a Spencer Foundation dissertation fellow in 2000. Postgraduate distinctions include a postdoctoral award from the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation. She was granted the Promising Researcher Award from the National Council of Teachers of English in 2002.

Dr. Majors has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, including The Journal of the National Society for the Study of Education, Discourse and Society, Pedagogy, Culture and Society; Anthropology and Education Quarterly; Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy; and Mind, Culture and Activity. She is the author of chapters in three books, The Handbook of Literacy, The Handbook of Adolescent Literacy and The Handbook of African American Education.

Dr. Yolanda Majors' Bio [PDF]

Dr. Yolanda Majors' CV [PDF]

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Last modified on July 14, 2011.