DUniv. 2017

Honorary Doctorate Recipient

Sonia Nieto


Sonia Nieto is widely acknowledged as one of the most important international voices for cultural openness and bilingual learning, a distinction she has earned through her academic rigour and commitment to the teaching profession. Moreover, her dedication to diversity, equity and social justice in education has played a major role in shaping a whole generation of teachers and education professionals.

She is currently Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture at the College of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, but she began her teaching career in 1966 in an intermediate school in Brooklyn, New York. She later taught at P.S. 25 in the Bronx, the first fully bilingual school in the Northeast United States. Her university career began in the Puerto Rican Studies Department at Brooklyn College, and she completed her doctoral degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, returning a year later to begin her long academic career there.

Dr. Nieto’s research focuses on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She has written or edited eleven books, including, most recently, Why We Teach Now (2015), and Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms (2013). Her first book, Affirming Diversity, is widely used in teacher education courses internationally and is now in its 6th edition. The first edition (1992) was selected for the Museum of Education’s Education Readers’ Guide as one of the 100 books that helped define the field of education in the twentieth century.

She has received numerous awards for her scholarly work, teaching, activism, and advocacy, including six honorary doctorates. She has been a visiting scholar at various universities in the United States, as well as at universities in Puerto Rico, Spain, and South Africa. Her many awards include election as a laureate of Kappa Delta Pi (2011), as a Fellow of AERA (2011), and as a member of the National Academy of Education (2015).

Back to top