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Mehrunnisa Ahmad Ali

OfficeKHS 363-J , Kerr Hall South
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 556330
Areas of ExpertiseColonialism and migration; immigrant and refugee children, youth and families; integration of immigrant families; ethics of research with refugees; north-south research collaboration.

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 foundations and design
  • Immigration and settlement
  • Research methods

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


  • 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.). Chestnut Publishing Group. *Translated in 32 languages
  • Ali, M., Corson, P., & Frankel, E. (2009). Listening to families: Reframing services. Chestnut Publishing Group & Makcom Media.

Book chapters (selected):

  • Ali, M. (2016). Learning the ethic of care through family narratives. In J. Gingras, P. Robinson, J. Waddell & L. D. Cooper (Eds.), Teaching as scholarship: Preparing students for professional practice in community services (pp. 43-58). Wilfred Laurier University Press
  • Ali, M. (2015). The schooling of immigrant children. In H. Bauder & J. Shields (Eds.), Immigration, integration and the settlement experience in North America (pp. 273-291). Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.
  • Wilkinson, L., Hébert, Y., & Ali, M. (2012). Examining youth’s perceptions of safety, fear, inclusion and exclusion in a Canadian city. In C. Bassani (Ed.), Adolescent behavior (pp. 217-235). 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 (Eds.), Critical perspectives on international education (pp. 229-248). Sense Publishers     

Journal articles (selected):

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