2019 Ferguson Award – Nancy H. Hornberger, PhD

2019 Recipient of the Charles A. Ferguson Award for Outstanding Scholarship: Dr. Nancy H. Hornberger


Dr. Hornberger is internationally known for her work in bilingualism and biliteracy, ethnography and language policy, and Indigenous language revitalization. She researches, lectures, teaches, and consults regularly on multilingual education policy and practice in the United States and the Andes (Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador) and has also worked in Brazil, China, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and other parts of the world. 

After graduating with a B.A. cum laude from Harvard and M.A. from New York University, Dr. Hornberger lived and worked in Quechua-speaking areas of the Andes for over a decade, where she later also carried out her doctoral dissertation research on bilingual education and Indigenous language revitalization. Dr. Hornberger received her Ph.D. in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 and joined the faculty at Penn’s Graduate School of Education the same year, later also joining Penn’s Anthropology Graduate Group. She served as acting and interim dean of Penn GSE from 1993–1995, held the Goldie Anna chair from 1993–1998, and directed/chaired Educational Linguistics for more than 20 years, also convening the annual Nessa Wolfson Colloquium. From 2000–2015, she served as convener of Penn GSE’s annual international Ethnography in Education Research Forum, now entering its fifth decade.

Dr. Hornberger is a former editor of the international Anthropology and Education Quarterly and of the ten-volume Encyclopedia of Language and Education (2nd edition, Springer, 2008). Since 1995, she has served as co-editor of the international book series on Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (Multilingual Matters), to date surpassing 110 published books. She serves on the editorial boards of numerous other book series and scholarly journals.

A three-time recipient of the Fulbright Senior Specialist Award — to Paraguay (2001), New Zealand (2002), and South Africa (2008) — Dr. Hornberger has also been recognized with the Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award from the American Association for Applied Linguistics (2008), the University of Pennsylvania Provost’s Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentoring (2008), Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (2010), and the George and Louise Spindler Award for Distinguished, Exemplary, and Inspirational Contributions to Educational Anthropology (2014). Professor Hornberger received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty 

of Arts at Umeå University in Sweden (2018).

Dr. Hornberger investigates language and education in culturally and linguistically diverse settings, combining methods and perspectives from educational anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and sociolinguistics. She gives special attention to educational policy and practice for Indigenous and immigrant language groups, compared across national contexts.  Her Literacy in Two Languages research project, a long-term ethnographic school/community study in the Puerto Rican and Cambodian communities of Philadelphia carried out with participation of Penn GSE students beginning in the 1980s, led to formulation of the Continua of Biliteracy framework, on which she continues to consult and advise researchers and educators as they take it up as heuristic in their own contexts around the world.

Currently, Dr. Hornberger is working on Multilingual Language Policy and Classroom Practice: Comparative Perspectives on Indigenous Language Revitalization, a series of case studies based on ethnographic research in Bolivia and short-term ethnographic monitoring consultancies and classroom observations in Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, and elsewhere.

Reception and Presentation of the 2019 Charles A. Ferguson Award

The 2019 Ferguson Award was presented at a reception sponsored by CAL, Stanford, and TESOL, at the TESOL 2019 Convention held in Atlanta, GA.

Presentation of award to Nancy Hornberger (2019 Ferguson Award Recipient) by Shirley Brice Heath (noted scholar and widow of Charles Ferguson).

Read Nancy Hornberger’s remarks: Things I’ve learned about Indigenous education and language revitalization