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Melisa Misha Cahnmann-Taylor

  • Professor, Department of Language and Literacy Education

Portrait of Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Contact Information

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Office Location

309Q Aderhold Hall
110 Carlton Street
Athens, Georgia 30602

Social Media


Affiliated Units

Areas of Expertise

  • Bilingual Education
  • World Language Education
  • Spanish
  • Poetry
  • Arts-Based Research Methodologies

Research Interests

  • Spanish Second Language Acquisition
  • Bilingual Education Policy and Practice
  • Arts-Based Research Methodologies
  • Arts-Based Language Education
  • Poetic Inquiry
  • Theatre of the Oppressed
  • Queer Theory

Programs of Study

Research Summary

I have had the privilege of working across numerous fields related to creativity, identity, power, and the arts in TESOL, bilingual, and foreign language education. I am deeply influenced by pedogogy and theatre of the oppressed (Augusto Boal & Paulo Freire); poetic and arts-based ethnography (Ruth Behar; Renato Rosaldo); socio- and political linguistics (Ana Celia Zentella; Nancy Hornberger; Walt Wolfram; Fred Erickson); numerous poets (Alicia Ostriker; Michael Waters; Paula McLain; Jane Hirshfield; Dorianne Laux); & mentors in these and related fields too numerous to mention. I am also always influenced by the smart and courageous students whom I advise and who take me to all new thoughts and awareness. These students include: Dell Giles, Greg McClure, Erika Vasconcelos, Jennifer Wooten, Yohan Hwang, Stephanie Abraham, Michelle Thorne, Kuo Zhang, Rhia Kilpatrick, James Coda, Sharon Nuruddin, Kathleen McGovern, Viviane Alves, Helena Alonso, Wei-Yi Lee, among many many others with whom I've had the privilege of working.


Professor of TESOL and World Language Education in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, Dr. Cahnmann-Taylor's honors include a 2017 Richard Ruiz Scholar-Artist Residency Award (Guanajuato, MX); 2015 Beckman Award for Professors Who Inspire, a 2013-14 Fulbright Award (Oaxaca, Mexico), three NEA Big Read Grants (Jeffers 2015; Poe 2016; Hua 2018), top Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes, a Jewish Currents Prize, first place in Anthropology and Humanism poetry prize, a Leeway Poetry Grant, and several Pushcart Prize nominations. Cahnmann-Taylor has published Imperfect Tense [poems] (Whitepoint Press, 2016), and co-authored two books in education, Teachers Act Up: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre (Teachers College Press, 2010) and Arts-Based Research in Education (Routledge 2008, second edition In Press). Her numerous poems, essays, and articles about language learning have appeared in the Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Women's Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Barrow Street, Puerto Del Sol, Mom Egg, Anthropology and Humanism, Language Arts, TESOL Journal, and many other literary and scholarly homes. She judges the annual Anthropology & Humanism poetry contest and is the editor of the journal's ethnographic poetry section. She publishes Misha's Poetry Cast [featuring poets on poetry and language education] and runs an annual "Seat in the Shade" poetry series in Athens, Georgia. She aims to raise two Spanish-English bilingual-bicultural children and to enhance Americans' access to world languages, creative literacies, and multicultural humilities. Follow her blog at


Degree Concentration Institution Year
Ph.D. Educational Linguistics University of Pennsylvania 2001
M.F.A. Poetry New England College 2007
M.A. Education Research University of California, Santa Cruz 1997
B.A. Spanish and Latin American Studies Tufts University 1992

Awards and Accolades

Year Award From
2017 Richard Ruiz Scholar-Artist Residency Award, Guanajuato, MX University of Arizona/Resplandor/Learning A-Z program
2015 Beckman Award for Professors Who Inspire Social Change Beckman Foundation
2014 FLAG Leadership Award Foreign Language Association of Georgia
2013-2014 Fulbright TEFL Scholar Award (Oaxaca, Mexico) Fulbright-Hayes
2013 Russell Yeany Research Award College of Education, UGA
2005 & 2010 Osborn & Glickman Faculty Award for Distinguished Accomplishments College of Education, UGA
2017 First Year Odyssey Teaching Award University of Georgia
2005-8 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Awards Rosenberg Foundation
2019 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for Poetry on the Jewish Experience Rosenberg Foundation
2018 English Language Specialist Award, Tel Aviv U.S. State Department