The Role of English Teaching and Teachers in Supporting Youths’ University Futures and Literacies


Submission window opens on ScholarOne (do not submit before this date): 1st July 2022

Submission deadline: 1st October 2022


Guest Editors

Joanne E. Marciano, Michigan State University

[email protected]

Theda D. Gibbs Grey, Ohio University

[email protected]

Roderick L. Carey, University of Delaware

[email protected]


Overview of the special issue

As educational inequities in the U.S. and globally continue to disproportionately impact students who seek to be the first in their families to enroll in and graduate from institutions of higher education, this special issue of English Teaching: Practice & Critique seeks to expand understandings across theory, research methodologies, and practice of the integral role English teachers, researchers, and teacher educators may play in supporting youths’ access to university-level education[1]. Specifically, we challenge assumptions of English teachers as positioned solely to assist students in writing college and university admissions essays to more broadly consider the role English teachers, researchers, and teacher educators may play in supporting students’ development of mindsets, identities, and literacy practices that support their pursuit of postsecondary education across global contexts.

A critical need exists for English teachers to contribute as members of a culturally relevant and sustaining school-wide culture that assists students in navigating the processes related to preparing for, applying to, and enrolling in university (Carey, 2019; Gibbs Grey, 2018; Ladson-Billings, 2021; Marciano, et al. 2020; Paris & Alim, 2017). While university access programs provide support to some students in navigating barriers to higher education, such programs do not reach all students who could benefit from them. Classroom teachers are key stakeholders in ensuring that postsecondary supports are tailored to the individual student’s needs, desires, and even fears and trepidations about pursuing a university education. Teachers see students each day and are more likely to interact with them informally, and more importantly, have the potential to tailor lessons and curricular experiences to help students develop university-going identities.


Indicative list of anticipated themes

We invite manuscripts that consider the tensions and possibilities for this work and that amplify the voices of youth and English teachers. Possible topics include:


  • Intersectionality and access to university education and literacies
  • Culturally relevant and sustaining university readiness, literacies and access
  • University-going digital literacies and youths’ digital futures
  • Antiracist university-going literacies in English teaching and teacher education
  • The role of Youth Participatory Action Research and youth activism in university-going futures and literacies
  • Youth perspectives on navigating university readiness, literacies and access, especially transnational and immigrant youth
  • Popular media narratives of university education, access, and literacies
  • The role of families and community members in supporting students’ university mindsets, identities, and literacies

We will consider submission of research papers, practitioner narratives and conceptual/theoretical essays pertinent to the theme.


Submission details

To view the author guidelines for this journal, please visit:  

To submit your research, please visit: When submitting your manuscript please ensure the correct special issue title is selected from the dropdown menu on page 4 of the submission process   

For questions, contact Dr. Joanne E. Marciano ([email protected]), Dr. Theda D. Gibbs Grey ([email protected]), and Dr. Roderick L. Carey ([email protected]).



Carey, R. L. (2019). Am I smart enough? Will I make friends? And can I even afford it? Exploring the college going dilemmas of Black and Latino adolescent boys. American Journal of Education, 125(3), 381-415.


Gibbs Grey, T. (2018). Reppin’and risin’above: Exploring communities of possibility that affirm the college-going aspirations of Black youth. Urban Education.


Ladson Billings, G. (2021). I’m here for the hard re-set: Post-pandemic pedagogy to preserve our culture. Equity & Excellence in Education, 54(1), 68-78.


Marciano, J. E., Watson, V. W. M., Beymer, A. & Deroo, M. (2020). Examining moments of possibility toward college readiness in a literacy-and-songwriting initiative. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 63(6), 615-626.


Paris, D. & Alim , H.S. (Eds.). (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.


[1] Although the term “college” is frequently used in U.S. contexts to refer to students’ postsecondary options, it often refers to secondary or non-academic training in global contexts. We therefore utilize the term “university” throughout this Call for Proposals and encourage prospective authors to utilize the term that reflects the context where their work is situated.