Donna Christian, PhD

Senior Fellow
Donna Christian

Donna Christian is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) after serving as CAL’s president from 1994 to 2010. She has degrees in mathematics (B.S., St. Lawrence University), applied linguistics, and sociolinguistics (M.S. and Ph.D., Georgetown University).

Dr. Christian has worked with CAL since 1974, focusing on the role of language in education, including issues of second language learning and dialect diversity. A major area of focus in her work has been on the dual language education approach. In addition, she taught linguistics and education courses on an adjunct basis for several universities in the Washington, DC area. In 1979, she received a Fulbright Senior Lecturer award in linguistics and taught for two years at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland.

Her recent publications include Research on Integrating Language and Content in Diverse Contexts (co-edited with M.A. Christison and J. Crandall, Routledge and TIRF, 2022); Research on Teaching and Learning English in Under-Resourced Areas (co-edited with K. Bailey, Routledge and TIRF, 2021); What Teachers Need to Know About Language (co-edited with C. T. Adger and C. E. Snow, Multilingual Matters, 2018); and Dialects at School: Educating Linguistically Diverse Students (with J. Reaser, C. T. Adger, and W. Wolfram, Routledge, 2017).

Dr. Christian consults on research, policy, and practice issues in applied linguistics and has served on numerous editorial and advisory boards including several terms as an officer and member of the Board of Directors of the Joint National Committee for Languages.  Her current board memberships include serving as Treasurer and Trustee of The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF) and as an Editorial Board member for the International Multilingual Research Journal and the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. In 2006, she was awarded a Promoting Bilingualism award by the Association for Two-Way and Dual Language Education. In 2011, she received the Victoria Fromkin Prize for Distinguished Service from the Linguistic Society of America.