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Heidi I. Fahning

Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Research Accelerator Learning Community



B.A. Political Science, Hamline University, M.S. Comparative Public Policy, University of Edinburgh, Ph.D. University of Minnesota

Current Courses

HNRS 119: Research Thinking

HNRS 299: Research Accelerator Mentors

19900RI: Research Thinking

29900RIM: Research Accelerator Mentors

Recent Publications

Fahning, H. (2022). Mapping the Everyday Contestations of Youth Citizenship in a Small Midwestern Town. In P. Kubow & N. Webster (Eds.), Contestations of Citizenship: Children and Youth, Democracy, and Education in an Era of Global Change. Routledge

Fahning, H. (Under Review, 2022). Misrecognition and Refusal: Black Muslim Youth Coalition Building in the American Midwest. Journal of Education in Muslim Societies.

Fahning, H. (Under Review, 2022). Developing Pockets of Belonging: Relationships Between Youth, Teachers, and Community Members. Anthropology and Education Quarterly.

Fahning, H. (2016). Jean K. Quam, Dean of the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development. The Good Society. 25(2), 138-141. Penn State University Press.

Awards and Accolades

Nominated for CAE Fred Erickson Dissertation Prize, Council of Anthropology and Education

Evaluation Education and Policy Fellowship, University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development

Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society


Dr. Fahning earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership Policy and Development with a Comparative International Development Education focus from the University of Minnesota in 2021. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the conceptions and negotiations of national belonging through an ethnographic narrative study of high school youth in a small rural Midwestern town. She is guided by the belief that research should be co-created with communities and her research approach dwells at the intersections of public policy, comparative education, and anthropology. Her current research agenda engages with questions surrounding youth experiences of belonging and activism in rural, rapidly diversifying contexts. Specifically, she is engaged in an ongoing, longitudinal youth participatory action research project utilizing arts-based methods to analyze and spark civic engagement among youth.

Alongside an interdisciplinary team from the University of Minnesota and the youth-serving organization 4-H, this project has received considerable funding from nonprofit and institutional grants. Dr. Fahning is an active participant in the Comparative International Education Society, the American Educational Research Association and the Council on Anthropology of Education in the American Anthropological Association. Before joining the John Martinson Honors College,

Dr. Fahning served as the Coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Office of Undergraduate Research, where she facilitated five undergraduate research opportunities, including an intensive summer research experience intended to propel underrepresented scholars into graduate programs. Through this experience, she has witnessed the tangible value of working with diverse undergraduate scholars and with colleagues from other disciplines to understand complex societal issues. She strives to create a classroom environment where scholars’ unique perspectives are celebrated, systematic hierarchies are challenged, and interdisciplinary, actionable collaborations are explored. Outside of her life at the University, you can find Dr. Fahning cheering for the Minnesota Twins, traveling with friends and family, and testing out baked goods around the world.

Contact Info

HCRS 1018