Ernest Morrell

Ernest Morell

Professor of English
Coyle Professor in Literacy Education


Specialty: English Education, the African Diaspora, Media and Popular Culture, Literacy and Freedom, Postcolonial Studies, Literature for Children


Degrees: BA, University of California, Santa Barbara; MA, PhD, University of California, Berkeley


ERNEST MORRELL is the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education and Director of the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame. Ernest has recently been named director of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)  James R. Squire Office for Policy Research in the English Language Arts. He is an elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, a past president of NCTE, and a co-convener of the African Diaspora International Research Network. From 2015-2019 Ernest has been annually ranked among the top 200 university-based education scholars in the RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings published by EdWeek. Ernest is also the recipient of the  NCTE Distinguished Service Award, the Kent Williamson Leadership Award from the Conference on English Leadership, and the Divergent Award for Excellence in 21st Century Literacies . His scholarly interests include: literacy studies, the teaching of English, literature for children, critical media pedagogy, youth popular culture, and postcolonial literatures of the African Diaspora. 

Ernest has authored 90 articles, research briefs, and book chapters and ten books including Stories from Inequity to Justice in Literacy Education, New Directions in Teaching English, and Critical Media Pedagogy: Teaching for Achievement in City Schools, which was awarded Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine of the American Library Association. Ernest has earned numerous commendations for his university teaching including UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He received his Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of California, Berkeley where he was the recipient of the Outstanding Dissertation award in 2001. Ernest is chair of the Planning and Advisory Committee for the African Diaspora Consortium and he sits on the Executive Boards of LitWorld and the Education for Democracy Institute.


Recent Publications



  • (2018). Educating Harlem: Schooling and Resistance in an American Community. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • (2016). Doing youth participatory action research: Transforming Inquiry for researchers, educators, and students. New York: Routledge.
  • (2015). New Directions in Teaching English: Reimagining Teaching, Teacher Education and Research. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • (2013). Critical Media Pedagogies: Teaching for Achievement in City Schools. New York: Teachers College Press. [Winner of the 2014 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine of the American Library Association]
  • (2013). City Youth and the Pedagogy of Participatory Media. Learning, Media, and Technology. London: Taylor and Francis [Special Issue]
  • (2008) The Art of Critical Pedagogy: The Promise of Moving from Theory to Practice in Urban Schools. New York: Peter Lang.
  • (2008). Critical Literacy and Urban Youth: Pedagogies of Access, Dissent, and Liberation. New York: Routledge.

Articles and Chapters

  • (2017). Towards equity and diversity in literacy research, policy, and practice: A critical, global approach. Journal of Literacy Research, 49 (3)
  • (2017). Confronting the digital divide: Debunking brave new world discourses. The Reading Teacher. Retrieved from
  • (2017). The dual pedagogy of YPAR: Teaching students and students as teachers. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 39 (2) 139-160.
  • (2017). Youth Participatory Action Research and Critical Epistemologies: Rethinking Educational Research. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 311-336.
  • (2017). Overcoming the Digital Divide: Four Critical Steps [Policy brief]. Newark, DE: International Literacy Association.
  • (2016). Critical Ethnic studies in the high school classroom: Academic achievement via social action. In P. Noguera, J. Pierce, and R. Ahram (Eds). The unfulfilled promise of racial equality in education: Current realities and future prospects. New York: Springer.
  • (2015). Teaching English Powerfully: Four Challenges. English in Texas.
  • (2015). The 2014 Presidential Address. NCTE Council Chronicle, 24 (3).
  • (2015). Powerful English at NCTE Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Toward the Next Movement. Research in the Teaching of English, 49 (3), 307-327.
  • (2015). Toward a critical pedagogy of race: Ethnic studies and literacies of power in high school classrooms. Race and Social Problems, 7(1), 84-96.
  • (2015). The council of youth research: Critical literacy and civic agency in the digital age. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 31(2) 151-167.
  • (2015). Popular culture 2.0: Teaching critical media literacy in the English Language Arts classroom. New England Reading Association Journal,
  • (2014). English Teaching as Teaching Students to Read the Word and the World: A Presidential Commentary. NCTE Council Chronicle, 24 (2).
  • (2014). Critical Action Research and the Future of English Education: A Presidential Commentary. NCTE Council Chronicle, 24 (1).
  • (2014). Toward a Critical Model of Teacher Learning: Lessons from the South Carolina Reading Initiative. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 30 (3).
  • (2014). Cultures, contexts, and codes: An interview with NCTE President Ernest Morrell. English Journal, 103 (4) 12-15.
  • (2013). 21st century literacies, critical media pedagogy, and the future of English language arts. Reading Teacher, 66 (4)
  • (2012). Linking the Word to the World: Connecting Multicultural Literature to the Lives of 21st Century Youth. The Dragon Lode.
  • (2012). Multicultural Readings of Multicultural Literature and the Promotion of Social Awareness in ELA Classrooms. New England Reading Association Journal, 47(2), 10-16.
  • (2011). Powerful Leadership in English Education. English Leadership Quarterly, 34(2) 14-18.
  • (2008). Rebel Musics: African Diaspora Popular Culture and Critical Literacies. In C. Payne and C. Strickland (Eds.)Teach Freedom: The African American Tradition of Education for Liberation (pp. 222-235). New York: Teachers College Press.
  • (2008). Comin’ from the School of Hard Knocks: Hip and the Revolution of English Classrooms in City Schools. In B. Ayres, G. Ladson-Billings, G. Michie, and P. Noguera (Eds.) City Kids, City Schools: More reports from the front row (pp. 197-207). New York: New Press.
  • (2008). The Critical Uses of Hip-hop in Antiracist Education. In M. Pollock (Ed.) Everyday Antiracism (pp. 161-165). New York: New Press.



Contact Information

203 Decio Hall

Office (574) 631-8042

Fax (574) 631-4795




Postal Address

Department of English

233 Decio Hall

Notre Dame, IN 46556-5639