Professional Biography

Dr. H. Gerald Campano is a Professor and Chair of the Reading/Writing/Literacy Division at University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He is the current convener of Practitioner Inquiry Day at Penn’s Ethnography in Education Forum, which emerged as a response to a growing interest in teachers’ involvement in critical action and participatory research. Participants include K-12 teachers, college and university scholars, and community members who share a commitment to expanding educational research to include a wider variety of voices and ideas.

Throughout his career, Dr. Campano has been committed to creating opportunities for students to mobilize their identities and cultural resources in the literacy curriculum. He previously worked as a full-time classroom teacher in Texas, Puerto Rico, and California, and with adult English Language Learners in Philadelphia. Dr. Campano serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Literacy Research, Research in the Teaching of English, Educational Researcher, Equity and Excellence in Education, and Literacy in Composition Studies.

Dr. Campano has earned numerous teaching awards at the elementary and university level, and has over 50 academic publications. He is a Carnegie Scholar and recipient of the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research from the National Council for the Teachers of English for his book Immigrant Students and Literacy: Reading, Writing, and Remembering, and received the Phi Delta Kappa Award for an Outstanding Dissertation in 2004.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Campano’s current project, a six-year research partnership with a multiethnic, multilingual Catholic parish and its school and community center, explores how universities can foster sustained and ethical collaborations with community-based organizations, with particular emphasis on faith-based centers. The study examines the literacy practices and discourses employed when individuals negotiate social, cultural, linguistic, and institutional boundaries that promote educational justice and immigrant rights. Dr. Campano argues that one powerful way universities might cultivate equitable community relationships is through democratizing research processes to include the knowledge and questions of students, teachers, families, and school and neighborhood leaders.  

Dr. Campano has been invited to present his research at a number of venues. He has been a keynote speaker at institutions such as Stanford University, The Ohio State University, Brown University, University of Toronto-OISE, University of New Hampshire, American University, and University of Missouri, and for professional organizations such as the Association for Teacher Education, the National Council for the Teachers of English, and the Institute for Learning. 


Ph.D. (Reading/Writing/Literacy) University of Pennsylvania, 2003

B.A. (English) Cornell University, 1991

Areas of Expertise

Immigrant identities and education

Critical literacies

Practitioner research

School-university partnerships

Urban education

"In Immigrant Students and Literacy, Campano has written about important and contentious topics such as accountability, language and literacy curriculum highly attuned to refugee experiences, the problematic nature of 'best practices' and 'research-based,' and teaching as ethical practice. Campano's writing on these weighty topics has benefited from a light – better, a poetic – hand, producing a graceful, accessible and moving text." – NCTE Press Release regarding the David H. Russell Award

Recent and Selected Publications