Graduate Special Interest Groups (GSIGs)

GSIGs help build community among our graduate students who study similar or overlapping themes in education. Groups meet throughout the year to give research feedback and provide a space for discussion around topics of interest to their work.

About the Graduate Special Interest Groups

Read about all available Graduate Special Interest Groups (GSIGs) in the directory below.

Upcoming GSIG Meetings: Check back in Fall 2019!

New Higher Education GSIG seeks student members

Tracy Sikorski ( and Alexios Rosario-Moore (amoore47@uic.ed) are forming a new special interest group focused on higher education. Their researcher interests include college access and inclusion, student learning, and civic engagement. If you are interested in joining them for an initial conversation, please send them an introductory email.


Digital Media and Literacy: Living and Learning in the 21st Century

In this GSIG, we will examine connections between media, literacy, and learning, deconstruct the digital impact and influence of various types of media on teaching, learning, and living in the 21st century, as well as problematize ways that media can and is used as a vehicle for uplift, social change, critique, and participation, and lastly, to converge research and writing interests across disciplines with scholars in the college in ways that advance the literacy, learning, and development of young people and scholars across communities both globally and locally.

Leader: Shawndra

Research: The Role of Bilingualism, Biculturalism and Bilingual Education in the 21st Century

This GSIG will examine the power dimensions of two languages and cultures that pertain to identity formation and/or translanguaging from cultural, linguistic, political, educational, and social perspectives.  Emphasis will be given to how views of practice and assessment are sustained and/or transformed by policies, pedagogies, theoretical frameworks, and language ideologies. The long-term goal is to draw on various disciplines and extend knowledge beyond academia to the general public and address assumptions and concerns of bilingual education.

Leader:  Kaliopi (Kelly)

Discourse and Power in Classrooms and Schools

This GSIG will explore the ways that discourses (language combined with other ways of doing, being, making meaning, and communicating) develop and are negotiated in school settings, with a particular eye for how power and authority shape and are shaped by the discourses that are valued and recognized therein. Through multiple methodological approaches, and theoretical lenses including critical theories of race, gender, class, and ability, we will take a closer look at in-school interactions between students, teachers, and administrators, along with broader institutional discourses in classrooms and schools.

Leader: Adrian Allen –

Research Topics in Gender and Sexuality in Education

This GSIG will examine the ways in which sexualities, genders, and other intersecting social identity categories relate to educational experiences inside and outside the classroom. This broad topic lends itself to intersectional lenses and interdisciplinary scholarship, with potential research topics including everything from the experiences of women of color in STEM to LGBTQ students’ disciplinary pathways in public schools to an examination of race and gender in teacher education and beyond.

Leader: L. Boyd

Research in Teacher Education and Professional Development

This GSIG will utilize a transdisciplinary approach to consider various theoretical and methodological perspectives to explore issues in designing and implementing teacher education and professional development approaches that link theory to practice and support teachers’ development as critical educators and agents of change.

Leader: Angela

Dialogic Literacy Experiences and Roles of Texts in Classrooms and Schools

This GSIG will examine the historical prevalence of dialogic literacy experiences of black authors, activists and educators in writing, speeches and discourse. We will also examine how these dialogic experiences shaped national discourse and changed policies and liberated, humanized, and raised consciousness of Black folk. We will explore the roles that texts played post reconstruction in the U.S. and consider how dialogism has been implemented in schools and classrooms.

Leader: Mellissa

Examining the Intersectional Nature of Racial Achievement Disparities through Feminist Epistemologies from Woman of Color

This GSIG will critically examine the prevalence of racial disparities in educational achievement. Recognizing the intersectional nature of this work, a focus on other identities will emerge as they intersect with race and education (i.e. class, gender, disability, leadership, etc.). The group will explore feminist epistemologies from woman of color to uncover new possibilities, approaches, methodologies, and insights into researching this topic with a focus on working to address the systemic nature of (racial) inequities in education.

Leader: Chala

Genealogies of Power in Education: Supporting Resistance through Professional Development

Focusing on the critical theoretical frameworks of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) and Foucault’s archaeological/genealogical methods, this GSIG will aim to develop publications that apply these frameworks in the design and implementation of teacher education. Integrating other critical frameworks based on the topics addressed (race, disability, gender, class), the group will aim to create a collection of papers that could become a conference symposium, a collection of book chapters, or any other form of professional publication that advances our careers.

Leader: Ray

Research Topics in Leadership for Democracy and Social Justice in Education

This GSIG will examine the ways in which school and district leaders promote a social justice agenda both inside and outside the school building. Our research will focus on leaders’ social justice work centered on emancipatory outcomes for marginalized groups within classrooms, schools, and communities. We will also investigate the ways in which school leaders promote a democratic citizenship agenda within their schools as a means toward creating a more socially-just society.

Leader: Meagan

Family, School and Community Partnerships

The purpose of this GSIG is to examine the nature and impact of partnerships between families, schools and communities. The scope of the research may range from parent-teacher relationships to the influence of federal policy on collaborations between universities and school districts, or the role of community-based organizations in school actions.

Leader: Alexios

Studyin’ Black: Using a Critical Black Studies Perspective in Education to Investigate the Miseducation of Black Students

This GSIG will provide its members with an introductory account to the theorizing and researching of Black People’s history regarding schooling and education post-reconstruction in the West, and the US context in particular. Then, situating the experiences of Black students and youth, this GSIG will utilize a BlackCrit lens (Dumas and Ross, 2016), Africana Philosophy (Gordon, 2000) and the entire disciplinary field of Black Studies as we ask questions that we will explore and address through a multi (inter) disciplinary approach: Black marginalization, dispossession, discourses of Man, exploitation, Anti-Blackness, dehumanization, suffering, social death (life), policing, Afro-Pessimism politics, and also resistance, pan Africana/ Black culture,  Black performativity, Black humanism, Afro-Optimism, Black feminist thought (3rd world, Latinx, queer, etc.), liberation, emancipation, freedom, radical Black possibilities, decolonization, and futures  as it relates to schooling, teaching, education and pedagogy for/of black students and youth.

Leader: Ebony

Decolonizing Research: Methods for Reviving Others Through Critical Curriculum

Members of this GSIG will be introduced to Decolonizing Research, a qualitative research approach that emerged from the relationship between colonialism, knowledge, and research. In this GSIG, we will reexamine the relationship between participant and researcher and rethink this relationship from a collaborative model that allows the silenced voices to be included in the educational research methodology.

Leader: Rita