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Dr. Sara Katherine Hillman

Dr. Sara Katherine Hillman

Assistant Professor

Office Number: 328E
Office Phone: +974.4423.0659

Sara Hillman is an applied linguist with specialization in second language studies and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and broadly interested in language-related issues that impact individuals and societies and how language can empower communities. Her research takes a qualitative, sociological and anthropological approach to understanding how people learn, teach, and use other languages, as well as people’s ideologies about languages and the intersection of language teacher and learners’ language ideologies, language use, and social identities. She is also interested in how these intersections both shape and are shaped by language teaching pedagogies and broader language planning and policy. As a native English speaker who learned Arabic as a second language as an adult, she has been passionate about conducting research with underexplored populations of Arabic-speaking university students and teachers, either within the context of Arabic as a second or heritage language in the United States or bilingual Arabic-English university students and teachers in Qatar. Her dissertation focused on humor practices, code-switching, and identity amongst Arabic heritage language learners in the classroom and she is currently working on projects examining: 

  • translanguaging practices and ideologies in English Medium Instruction (EMI) spaces
  • the linguistic landscape of transnational higher education in Qatar
  • World Englishes in the Arabian Peninsula
  • the global mediascape and Arab Gulf students’ autonomous out-of-class language learning
  • the implications of global English on the teaching and learning of heritage and migrant languages in the Gulf
  • social identity and heteroglossia amongst Qatari students in Education City;
  • enhancing content and language learning for EMI engineering students
  • perspectives on being female and an engineering student in Qatar

Over the past 15 years, Sara has taught courses in ESL/EFL, Arabic as a foreign language, language teaching methods, multicultural education, and discourse analysis. As an Assistant Professor of ESL at TAMUQ, she primarily teaches Foundations of English reading, writing, and integrated communication skills courses. She also teaches an interdisciplinary core elective course, “Foundations of Education in a Multicultural Society.”


  • Ph.D. in Second Language Studies, Michigan State University, USA, 2011
  • M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Michigan State University, USA, 2006
  • B.A. in International Studies, American University (Washington D.C.), USA, 2002


  • Assistant Professor of ESL, Liberal Arts Program, Texas A&M University at Qatar, 2015-present
  • Fixed-term Assistant Professor of Arabic, Department of Linguistics and Languages, Michigan State University, 2012-2015
  • Acting Academic Director of Arabic Flagship Program and Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic, Department of Linguistics and Languages, Michigan State University, 2011-2012
  • Graduate Assistant/Graduate Teaching Assistant/Instructor, Arabic Flagship Program, Second Language Studies Ph.D. Program, and English Language Center, Michigan State University, intermittent 2006-2011


Articles published or in press in refereed journals

Hillman, S., Graham, K. M., & Eslami, Z.R. (2018). Teachers’ translanguaging ideologies and practices at an international branch campus in Qatar. In Canagarajah, S. & Gao, X (Eds.), [Special Issue ‘Translingual Practice in Higher Education’]. English Teaching & Learning.

Hillman, S. (forthcoming). Identity and self-categorization among Arabic heritage language learners in the classroom. Heritage Language Journal.

Hillman, S. & Ocampo Eibenschutz, E. (2018). English, super-diversity, and identity in the state of Qatar. World Englishes, 37(2), 228-247.

Kraemer, A., Ahn, S., Hillman, S., & Fei, F. (2009). Innovative learning modules for language in context: MIMEA. CALICO Journal, 27(1).

Chapters published in refereed books

Hillman, S. & Salama, G. (2018). Female participation in engineering fields: Successes, challenges, and recommendations in a non-western context. In M. Auer and D. Guralnick (Eds.), Teaching and Learning in a Digital World, Series in Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, Volume 716 (pp. 323-331). Sydney, Springer Nature. 

Hillman, S. K. (2015). Basic Arabic for health care professionals. In J. Trace, T. Hudson, & J. D. Brown (Eds.), Developing Courses in Languages for Specific Purposes (pp. 36–48) (NetWork #69) [PDF document]. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i. doi: 

Articles published in refereed conference proceedings

Hillman, S., Salama, G., Ocampo Eibenschutz, E., Awadh, S., & El-Said, L. (2017, June). Being female and an engineering student in Qatar: Successes, challenges, and recommendations. ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings, June 25-28, Columbus, Ohio. 

Articles published in non-refereed conference proceedings

Hillman, S. (2018). Attitudes, motivations, and efforts toward learning languages other than English (LOTEs) in Qatar. Ninth Gulf Research Meeting (GRM), July 31-August 4, Gulf Research Centre Cambridge at the University of Cambridge, England. 

Book reviews

Hillman, S. (2010). [Review of the book Second language learning and identity: Cracking metaphors in ideological and poetic discourse in the third space.] Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 32(4).