Alana Butler stands smiling in front of a bookcase

Alana Butler

Coordinator of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Assistant Professor of At-Risk Learners & Student Success

Graduate Supervisor

At-Risk Learners & Student Success

People Directory Affiliation Category

BSc, B.Ed., MA (Toronto), PhD (Cornell University, Ithaca, New York)

Assistant Professor of At-Risk Learners and Student Success

Dr. Alana Butler is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. In 2015, she graduated with a Ph.D. in Education from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She joined Queen’s University in 2017 and currently teaches in the Bachelor of Education program as well as the Graduate Studies program. Her research interests include the academic achievement of low-socio economic students, race and schooling, equity and inclusion, and multicultural education. She is currently Principal Investigator on a 2019 Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for a study on post-secondary access for low-income youth. She is co-investigator on a number of projects funded by SSHRC including a 2022 Partnership Grant on Sub-Saharan African immigrants, a 2021 Partnership Engage Grant on the academic outcomes and well-being of foster children, and a 2021 Partnership Engage Grant on anti-oppressive, anti-racist pedagogy for secondary schools. Her scholarly work has been published in the Canadian Journal of Education, Gender and Education, and Canadian Ethnic Studies.

Research Interests

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion policies and practices from k-12 to higher education
  • At-risk children/youth and their educational attainment
  • ‘Race’, culture, and gender studies in education
  • Immigration and settlement studies
  • Multicultural education
  • Qualitative research methodology

Research Funding


SSHRC Partnership Grant

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada

Project title: I am because we are - amplifying Sub-Saharan African immigrants' resilience and ability to thrive

Role: Co-applicant

Principal Investigator: Dr. Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika, University of Alberta

Amount: $2,481,825


SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada

Project title: Bridging the Gap: Fostering Success for Youth in Care

Role: Co-applicant

Principal Investigator: Dr. Imaan Bayoumi, Queen's University

Co-applicant: Dr. Lindsay Morcom, Queen's University

Amount: $24, 518


SSHRC Connections Grant

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada

Project title: Critical Global Citizenship Education: An Anti- Oppressive Knowledge Sharing Initiative for Secondary School Teachers

Role: Principal Investigator

Co-applicant: Dr. Thashika Pillay, Queen's University

Amount: $ 9122


SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada

Project title: Creation of an explicit pedagogical tool for de- streaming English classes: A fundamental effort to support anti-oppressive pedagogy.

Role: Co-applicant

Principal Investigator: Dr. Thashika Pillay, Queen's University

Amount: $ 24, 859


SSHRC Connections Grant

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada

Project title: Give Race its Place: An Anti-Racist Knowledge Sharing Initiative for Early Childhood Educators 

Role: Co-applicant 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rachel Berman, Toronto Metropolitan University

Amount: $9,240


SSHRC Insight Development Grant

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada

Project title: Beating the Odds: An intergenerational examination of cultural barriers to postsecondary education for low-income Ontario youth

Role: Principal Investigator

Co-applicant: Dr. Liying Cheng, Queen’s University

Amount: $57,304


Dean’s Collaborative Grant 

Funder: Queen’s Faculty of Education

Project title: Sistema‐Inspired Music Education: Student Experiences of Social and Emotional Development, Identity and Inclusion

Role: Co-investigator

Principal investigator(s): Dr. Benjamin Bolden, Queen’s University

Amount: $12,500


SHHRC Institutional (Explore) Grant

Funder: Queen’s Faculty of Education

Project title: Sistema Music Education: Low-income Student Experiences of Learning and Social Inclusion in Kingston

Role: Principal Investigator

Co-applicant: Dr. Benjamin Bolden

Amount: $5,000


Selected Publications (2017-2022)

Jean-Pierre, J., Butler, A., Jasor, O., Haag, J., & Delia Deckard, N. (2022) Building solidarity: The founding of the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) black caucus. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, 59, 544– 546.

Berman, R., Abawi, Z., Haile, F., Escayg, K., Butler, A., Royer, N., and Daniel, B. (2022). Give Race its Place: An anti-racism knowledge sharing initiative for Early Childhood Educators in Ontario. ece-Link Journal., Vol 6. No. 1, pp.42-54.

Butler, A. (2021). Low-income Black parents Supporting their Children’s Success Through Mentoring Circles. Canadian Journal of Education, Vol. 44, Issue 1, pp. 93-117.

Bolden, B., Corcoran, C. & Butler, A. (2021). A scoping review of research that addresses El Sistema music education programs. Review of Education. Vol.9, Issue 2, pp. 1-23.

Butler, A. (2019.) Quiltmaking Among African American Women as a Pedagogy of Care, Empowerment, and Sisterhood. Gender and Education, Vol. 31(5): 590- 603.

Guicciardi, E., Nagel, R., Szwiega, S., Chow, B., Nezon, J., Bian, H. and Butler, A.(2019) Evaluation of a Sensory-based, Food-Education Program on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption among Kindergarten Children. The Journal of Child Nutrition and Management. 43(1): 1-13.

Berman, R., Daniel, B., Butler, A., McNevin, M., and Royer, N. (2017). Nothing, or Almost Nothing, to Report: Early Childhood Educators and Discursive Constructions of Colorblindness. The International Critical Childhood Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 6 (1): 52-65.

Accepted/Published Refereed Book Chapters

Butler, A. & Campbell, A. (forthcoming 2022). Black School Leaders in Urban Ontario Schools: Striving for Social Justice. In C. McGregor and S. Bedi (Eds.) Diverse Leadership Landscapes: Exploring the Terrain. McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Butler, A. (2021). Low-income, racialized children and access to quality ECE in Ontario. In Z. Abawi, R. Berman, and A. Eizadirad (Eds.) Equity as Praxis in Early Childhood Education and Care (pp..21-43). Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

Butler, A. and Abawi, Z. (2021). Deconstructing Citizenship and Belonging: Refugee Student Integration and Microaggressions in Ontario Schools. In J. Corkett, C. Cho, and A. Steele (Eds.).The Manifestation of Microaggressions and Lateral Violence in Education: A Global Perspective. (pp. 78-92). New York: Routledge.

Teasley Severino, C. and Butler, A. (2020). Intersecting Critical Pedagogies to Counter Coloniality. In S. Steinberg (Ed.) The SAGE Handbook of Critical Pedagogies. pp. 186-204. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Butler, A., Teasley Severino, C., and Sánchez Blanco, C. (2019). A Decolonial Approach to Disrupting Whiteness, Neoliberalism, and Capitalist Pedagogy in Western Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). In Trifonas, P. (Ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research in Cultural Studies and Education. pp.1-18. Singapore: Springer International Publishing.

Luzius-Vanin, C. and Butler, A. (2019). Closing the Gaps: A Compassionate View of Mental Health Beyond the Medical Model. In A. Jule (Ed.). The Compassionate Educator: Understanding Social Issues and the Ethics of Care in Canadian Schools. (pp. 91-111). Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Butler, A. (2019). Socioeconomic Inequality and Student Outcomes in Canadian Schools. In L.Volante, S. Schnepf, Jerrim, J., and D. Klinger (Eds). Socioeconomic Inequality and Student Outcomes: National Trends, Policies, and Practices. (pp. 169-187). Singapore: Springer Ltd.

Invited Book Reviews

Butler, A. (2022). “Carl E. James, ed., Colour Matters: Essays on the Experiences, Education, and Pursuits of Black Youth”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 34 (1).

Butler, A. (2021). Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matters in Canada. Canadian Journal of History, Vol 56 (3).

Butler, A. (2020). The What, the So What, and the Now What of Social Justice Education. Teachers College Record.