Elena Foulis



Dr. Elena Foulis is a student-centered educator with over 15 years of experience in higher education. She is an Ohio State alumnus and holds B.A and M.A degrees in Spanish and Latin American Literature and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. Her research and teaching interests include U.S. Latina/o literature, Spanish for Heritage Learners and Oral History. She has presented her work at national and international conferences. She teaches undergraduate courses in service-learning, Latin American Literature and Spanish for heritage learners. Her articles explore Latin@ voices through oral history and performance, identity and place through linguistic landscape and ethnography and family history in advanced heritage language writing courses. Dr. Foulisbegan a digital oral history project about Latin@s in Ohio in 2014, which is being archived at the Center for Folklore Studies’ internet collection at Ohio State University. Some of these narratives can be found in her iBook titled, Latin@ Stories Across Ohio. She is also host and producer for the Latin@ Stories podcast, an extension of her oral history project. She is  currenlty working on a Digital Humanities project about 21 lives lost during in Uvalde, Texas.  In 2022, she was a TedxOhioState speaker, her TedTallk was titled, “We Are More Than a Statistic: Oral History and Latinx Identities.”  


Teaching Summary






Assistant Professor

Texas A&M University, San Antonio

2008-2011, 2012-2022

Clinical Associate Professor

The Ohio State University


Assistant Professor

Oklahoma Baptist University

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy uses culturally relevant pedagogy, community cultural wealth and community engagement. Depending on the class, I incorporate project-based learning, and integrate identity-based public-facing projects because they are an essential tool for getting students to use discipline specific knowledge in modes that are relevant to them and that are used in the real-world applications. I am not only interested in seeing my students succeed in my class, but also in providing opportunities for career and professional advancement. I often look for ways to develop and design collaborative opportunities to continue to work with students, beyond the classroom. For example, inviting them to present at a national conference, research collaboration or co-authoring a publication.  I use a holistic approach to thinking about the personal and professional development of my students, especially for those students from under-represented groups who often have few opportunities to continue to nurture and integrate their language, culture, and identity, in professional settings.

I also use a community cultural wealth model, a term developed by Tara Yosso (2005) to acknowledge Community of Color resources and knowledge and to incorporate students’ funds of knowledge to work toward social and racial justice in the classroom, and as a path towards equity in education. I often work with a diverse group of students; however, they are also predominantly White students. It is important to me that the curriculum I choose integrates students’ lived experiences—when appropriate—for the topic we are about to study and that my syllabus presents current concerns; this includes presenting perspectives from underrepresented scholars and communities.

My teaching and scholarship draw from pressing social issues in Latina/o/x communities and it is informed by creating reciprocal and respectful relationships with individuals, and the local community. It seeks to address and learn from societys pressing issues such as immigration, language access, and representation in Latina/o/x communities, inside and outside the university. I do this through various public-facing projects such as oral history, open-educational resources, service-learning, performance, and podcasting. From my work with service-learning, I know that the community has so much wisdom, experience, and practical application of the work we are learning the in classroom. Engaging with and learning from the community pushes for the transformation of thought and the breakdown of binary and simplistic ways of viewing communities that are different than us. While I prepare the way in the classroom via readings, discussions, and reflective essays, when we start working alongside the Latina/o/x community in my service-learning classes, students develop a sense of community interconnectedness, which rarely happens without real contact.  Students are learning to acknowledge each other, they are learning to learn in each other’s presence, and are willing to come together to be knowledge producers, not merely consumers. This is key in my classes: when we come together, we produce knowledge.


2020, Outreach and Engagement Office, Engaged Scholar Award. The Ohio State University.

2019 Susan M. Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award. The Ohio State University.

2019 Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. The Ohio State University.



Manuscripts under contract:

Historias de la comunidad: Bilingual Oral History Archives of Latine/x Experiences. Elena Foulis. The Ohio State University Press. Forthcoming, Fall 2025.


Working en comunidad: Service-Learning and Community Engagement with U.S. Latinas/os/es. (2024). Eds. Elena Foulis, Stacey Alex, and Glenn Martinez. University of Arizona Press.

Peer reviewed articles and book chapters:

Foulis, E. & Alex, S. (2024) "Latinx/e Midwest Archives: Fostering Querencia using Digital Humanities projects."Diálogo Journal. Forthcoming, Fall, 2024.

Pascual Y Cabo, D. & Foulis, E. (2023) “Hablantes de Herencia.” Chapter. Forthcoming, Fall, 2024.

Foulis, E. & Gillen, K. (2023). “Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy at Hispanic Serving Institutions: The Case for Centering Heritage Language Learners’ Experiences in Spanish Programs.” Journal of Latino Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/15348431.2023.2256852 

Foulis, E. (2022) “Archiving Bilingual Latin@ Oral Histories.”  The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion’s. Special Issue, "Documenting Transborder Latinidades."  

Foulis, E. (2022) “Historias de Una Pandemia: Documenting Latina/os/x Stories During Covid-19 Through Performed Storytelling.” Journal of Folklore and Education. Vol. 9, 2022.

Foulis, E. (2022) Border Crossings in Graciela Limón’s Translingual In Search of Bernabé” Baer, B.J., & Woods, M. (Eds.). Teaching Literature in Translation: Pedagogical Contexts and Reading Practices (1st ed.). Routledge.

Foulis, E. & Garcia, C. (2022) “Building empathy through listening: Partnering with Latina/o/x communities in the Midwest.” Journal of Service-Learning in Higher Education. January 2022.

Martinez, G. & Foulis, E. (2021). "CLA in Higher Education Contexts: Access, achievement, and attainment for Spanish heritage learners." Heritage Language Teaching
Critical Language Awareness Perspectives for Research and Pedagogy
. November 2021.

Foulis, E. & Alex, S. (2021). On Loss, Gain, Acceptance and Belonging: Spanish in the Midwest. Spanish as a Heritage Language Journal. Vol. 1

Foulis, E. (2020). Latin@s en la Fe: Gender, Solidarity, and the Common Good Among Latin@ Christians in OhioJournal of Hispanic / Latino Theology: Vol. 22: No. 2, Article 4.115-145.

Alex, S., & Foulis, E. (2020). Be the Street: The Performative and Transformative Possibilities of Oral HistoryUS Latina & Latino Oral History Journal 4, 45-66. 

Foulis, E., & Martinez, G. (2020). "Chapter 8 Constructing La Villa Hispana: Cultural Citizenship, Economic Development, and Linguistic Landscaping in Ohio". In Spanish across Domains in the United States. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

Foulis, E. & Barajas, J. (2019) Weaving our Histories: Latin@ Ethnography in the Heritage Language Classroom. Journal of Folklore and Education. Vol. 6

Foulis, E., & Martinez, G. (2019). Living into Immigrant Communities through Hospitality Practice: A Christian Ethical Approach to Community Service Learning. Journal of Christianity and World Languages,20.

Foulis, E. (2018). Participatory Pedagogy: Oral History in the Service-Learning Classroom. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, Participatory Pedagogy: Oral History in the Service-Learning Classroom. Vol 22: 3.  

Foulis, E. (2018). Belonging and Accents: Salvadoran Diaspora in Mexico and the U.S. Latinx Talk Online Journal.

Foulis, E. (2017). Oral History in the Digital Era: Oral Narratives of Latin@s in Ohio. Public: Journal of Imagining America.

Foulis, E. (2017). Historias: Latin@ Voices in Ohio. Alter/nativas, Latin American Cultural Studies Journal. Vol 7.



Elena Foulis

College Of Arts And Sciences

Department of Language, Literature, and Arts

Assistant Professor and Director of Spanish Language Studies

Classroom Hall 314
View CV

Course Teachings

SPAN 3320 001 Literacy & Lang in Latinx Comm Spring 2024 Syllabus
ENGL 4388 001 Topics in Latinx Studies Spring 2024 Syllabus
SPAN 4321 001 Language Teaching Methods Spring 2024 Syllabus