African American/Black Language; Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Writing Pedagogies; Race, Equity, Language, and Literacy; Language Policies and Language Rights; Biliteracy and Bilingualism; Second Language Writing and Assessment; Rhetoric and Composition

Dr. Shenika Hankerson is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland-College Park. Her research focuses on African American Language (AAL), critical sociolinguistics, critical applied linguistics, and second language writing, and addresses topics such as the effects of anti-Black linguistic discrimination on AAL-speaking students’ oral and written language ideologies and practices and how Afrocentric, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive instructional practices and curriculum designs can disrupt the transmission of anti-Black linguistic discrimination in language and writing pedagogy. She also has research expertise in rhetoric and composition, Black Critical Theory, and African diaspora languages, literature, and culture. Her published or forthcoming scholarship can be found in Language Arts Journal of Michigan, AGEP Science Today Bulletin, and Talking Back: Senior Scholars Deliberate the Past, Present, and Future of Writing Studies.

Dr. Hankerson is the past Chair of the LSA’s Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics. Her Board service includes the NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus Executive Board. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Hankerson is the Principal Investigator and Director of RISE: Research Institute for Scholars in Education. RISE, funded through a $1.1 million grant from the US Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES), is designed to prepare underrepresented undergraduates from the University of Maryland-College Park and Bowie State University with research and career development training in education research. The overall aim of RISE is to increase diversity in the pool of students who pursue doctoral studies in a broad range of fields related to language and literacy.

For more information on RISE, visit:

Select Publications

Hankerson, S. (2020). “I Love my African American Language. And Yours.”: Toward a Raciolinguistic Vision in Writing Studies. In N. Elliot and A. Horning (Eds.), Talking Back: Senior Scholars Deliberate the Past, Present, and Future of Writing Studies. Utah State University Press: 

Hankerson, S. (2017). Black Voices Matter. Language Arts Journal of Michigan, 32 (2), 34-39. Special Issue: Race, Language, and Privilege:

Select Media Contributions:

"It’s Not an Error, It’s a Language." TERP Magazine. (2021). Online:

Select Grants & Projects:

Principal Investigator

2019-2022: US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences: Project RISE (Research Institute for Scholars in Education)

Research Collaborator

2022-2024: National Science Foundation: Collaborative Research: Linguistic Production, Perception, and Identity in the Career Mobility of Black Faculty in Linguistics and the Language Sciences. Christine Mallinson, UMBC & Anne H. Charity Hudley, Stanford University (Co-Principal Investigators).