African American Language; African Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Race, Equity, Language, and Literacy; Language Policies and Language Rights; Applied Linguistics; 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 explores the intersection of race, language, and equity, with a focus on African American Language (AAL) and college writing. Dr. Hankerson’s research has two strands: (1) examining how critical and Afrocentric college writing practices and policies shape the writing experiences and outcomes of AAL speakers, and (2) examining how college writing instructors develop dispositions about teaching and learning that foster equitable and just writing environments for AAL speakers. More specifically, her research leverages her interdisciplinary knowledge of both applied linguistics and rhetoric and composition to better understand how best to promote the academic success and well-being of AAL speakers in college writing. Her published and forthcoming scholarship can be found in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Second Language Writing, Written Communication, and Language Arts Journal of Michigan and edited collections published by Routledge, Oxford University Press, and Utah State University Press.

Dr. Hankerson is a past Chair of the Linguistic Society of America’s Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Hankerson’s research grant activities and collaborations have culminated in over $1 million in funding. Chief among them–Project RISE: Research Institute for Scholars in Education–a $1.1 million research partnership grant from the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Dr. Hankerson (Principal Investigator) and the Project RISE team have shared findings from this project through several conference presentations and a journal article focused on best practices for supporting historically underrepresented and racially minoritized undergraduates in research apprenticeship programs.

Select Publications

Hankerson, S., & Obiri-Yeboah, M. A. (2024). Language, ideologies, discrimination, and Afrocentric-focused, critical language awareness writing curricula for African American Language and Akan Language speakers. In C. Shei & J. Schnell (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Mind Engineering (pp. 404-417). Routledge. DOI: 

Charity Hudley, A., Mallinson, C., Clemons, A., Randolph, L., Bucholtz, M., Calhoun, K., Hankerson, S., Peltier, J., Thomas, J., & Seidel, K. (2024). Solidarity and collectivity in decolonizing linguistics: A Black diasporic perspective. In A. Charity Hudley, C. Mallinson, and M. Bucholtz (Eds.), Decolonizing Linguistics (pp. 323-360). Oxford University Press. DOI: Open Access Copy: Available Here

Hankerson, S. (2023). “The world has to stop discriminating against African American language” (AAL): Exploring the language ideologies of AAL-speaking students in college writing. Written Communication, 40(2), 587–619.   

Hankerson, S., & Williams, O. (2023). Mentoring underrepresented racially minoritized undergraduate students in an education research apprenticeship program: strategies for success. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 12(2), 162-176.

Hankerson, S. (2022). “Why can’t writing courses be taught like this fo real”: Leveraging critical language awareness to promote African American Language speakers’ writing skills. Journal of Second Language Writing58, 100919.

Hankerson, S. (2020). “I love my African American language. And yours.”: Toward a raciolinguistic vision in writing studies. In N. Elliot & A. Horning (Eds.), Talking back: Senior scholars deliberate the past, present, and future of writing studies (pp. 321-325). Utah State University Press.  

Hankerson, S. (2017). Black Voices Matter. Language Arts Journal of Michigan, 32(2), 34-39. 

Select Digital Presentations of Publications

Mentoring underrepresented racially minoritized undergraduates in an education research apprenticeship program: Strategies for success. AERA i-Presentation Gallery. (2023).

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 (Principal Investigator) & Anne H. Charity Hudley, Stanford University (Co-Principal Investigator).