English Faculty Member Receives Prestigious Award for Book On Critical Digital Literacies

UNC Charlotte Assistant Professor of English JuliAnna Ávila and her co-editor Jessica Zacher Pandya have received the prestigious 2014 Edward B. Fry Book Award for their book that explores digital literacies, titled Critical Digital Literacies as Social Praxis: Intersections and Challenges.

The Literacy Research Association presents the prize each year to members who have written or co-authored a book within the last five years that advances knowledge about literacy, displays inquiry into literacy, and shows responsible, intellectual risk-taking. Ávila and Zacher Pandya received the award at the association’s annual conference on Dec. 5.

“This national award represents a significant recognition of Dr. Ávila’s work,” said English Department Chair Mark West. “This book is important in moving us forward in understanding how the intersection of critical and digital literacies can affect students and teachers. What is gained, and what is potentially lost at this intersection? This book helps us think more deeply about implications.”

The book examines the simultaneous implementation of critical and digital literacies and explores ramifications for the development and assessment of critical digital literacy curricula. The books asks readers to consider: How has the increasing ubiquity of digital literacies in and out of school affected the definitions of critical literacies? How have the ever-changing perceptions of critical literacies affected how people define, teach, and engage in digital literacies?

They published the book in Peter Lang International Academic Publishers’ New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies Series in November 2012. They have also coedited a collection titled Moving Critical Literacies Forward (Routledge, 2014).

Ávila earned her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She was appointed in 2010 to her current position at UNC Charlotte, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in English education. She is the co-author of Moving Critical Literacies Forward: A New Look at Praxis Across Contexts (2013) and has published in Theory Into Practice, Pedagogies, Language Arts, and Teachers College Record.

Zacher Pandya is chair of the Liberal Studies Department and associate professor in the Departments of Teacher Education and Liberal Studies at California State University, Long Beach.

The Literacy Research Association (LRA) is a community of scholars dedicated to promoting research that enriches the knowledge, understanding, and development of lifespan literacies in a multicultural and multilingual world.English.

Words by Kayla Kinard, Communications Student Assistant