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Faculty of Community Services

Mehrunnisa Ahmad Ali




416-979-5000, ext. 6330

Email Address:


  • Colonialism and immigration.
  • Immigrant children, youth and families.
  • Integration of immigrant families.
  • Teacher education.


I arrived in Canada at the turn of the century with an EdM in Learning and Teaching from Harvard University, and a PhD in Teaching, Curriculum, and Social Policy, with a concentration in Teacher Education from Michigan State University. At Ryerson, the focus of my research shifted from international development and girls’ education to immigration and settlement. I joined the SSHRC funded CERIS – The Ontario Metropolis Centre as the domain leader for Education and then for Children, Youth and Families, and finally served as a co-director. My work in these positions included developing and maintaining a network of researchers, conducting and facilitating pan-Canadian studies, adjudicating research proposals, organizing conferences, editing a series of working papers and co-leading the research centre. I also helped to set up the master’s program in Immigration and Settlement (ISS) at Ryerson, and the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (RCIS).

I currently teach and supervise students in three graduate programs: Early Childhood Studies, Immigration and Settlement, and Policy Studies. Moments when students realize that they, too, can ‘create knowledge’ bring me joy. I try to encourage respect for learners and teachers, whether they are young children and their families, or university students and their instructors.

Research Interests:

Research interests:

  • Immigrant settlement and integration.
  • Preparing teachers and other service providers to work with immigrant families.

Research projects:

  • Integration trajectories of immigrant families: A three year partnership project funded by SSHRC

Current Courses:

  • Research foundations and design
  • Immigration and settlement
  • Research methods

Selected Publications:


  • Kilbride, K.M., Ali, M., Gora, P. & Sadeghi (2010) Forging new ties, planting new roots: A guide to Canadian resources for immigrant parents of young children. 2nd Ed. Toronto: Chestnut Publishing Group    (Translated in 32 languages)
  • Ali, M., Corson, P. & Frankel, E. (2009) Listening to families: Reframing services. Toronto: Chestnut Publishers & Makcom Media.

Book chapters (selected):

  • Ali, M. (2015) The schooling of immigrant children. In H. Bauder and J. Shields (Eds.) Immigration, integration and the settlement experience in North America. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.
  • Ali, M. (in press) Learning the ethic of care through family narratives. In J. Brittnell & J. Waddell (Eds.) Teaching as scholarship: Preparing students for professional practice in community services. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press
  • Wilkinson, L., Hébert, Y. & Ali, M. (2012) Examining youth’s perceptions of safety, fear, inclusion and exclusion in a Canadian city. In Bassani, C. (Ed.) Adolescent behavior. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
  • Hébert, Y., Wilkinson, L., & Ali, M. (2012) Second generation youth and mobilities of mind, body, and boundaries. In Y. Hébert,  & A. Abdi, Critical perspectives on international education. 229-248. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers      

Journal articles (selected):

  • Ali, M. (2013) The representation of Muslim characters in Ontario’s language textbooks. Intercultural Education. 25 (5) 417-429
  • Ali, M. (2012) The shadow of colonialism on immigrant parents’ relations with their children’s teachers. Alberta Journal of Education 58 (2) 198-215
  • Ali, M. (2011) The reduction of Islam and Muslims in Ontario’s social studies textbooks. Context:  Journal of Educational Media, Memory and Society 3 (1) 25-44
  • Kilbride, K.M. & Ali, M. (2010) Striving for voice: Language acquisition and Canadian immigrant women. Current Issues in Language Planning 11 (2) 173-189
  • Ali, M. (2010) Second-generation youth’s belief in the myth of Canadian multiculturalism. Canandian Ethnic Studies. 40 (2) 89-107
  • Ali, M. (2009) Preparing citizens for a globalized world: The role of the social studies curriculum. Inter-American Journal of Education for Democracy 2 (2) 238-256

Professional Affiliations:

  • (Ryerson) Senior Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto, 2014-2015.

Position Currently Held:


Creative Activity
Awards and honours

Contact details

Office details

  • Office location: KHS 363-J , Kerr Hall South
  • Hours available: By appointment