Donna Christian, PhD

Senior Fellow

Donna Christian is Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) following sixteen years of exemplary service as CAL’s president. 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. She held the position of President from 1994 – 2010. For over 20 years, she has been involved in research, professional development, and technical assistance related to two-way bilingual immersion, including a study for the National Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE), funded by the U.S. Department of Education. She is currently a senior advisor to CAL’s Heritage Languages Initiative, Biliteracy Research Program, and English for Heritage Language Speakers program.

Dr. Christian has taught linguistics and education courses for George Mason University, Georgetown University, the George Washington University, the University of California-Santa Cruz, and the University of Virginia. 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: Dialects in Schools and Communities, Second Edition (with Carolyn Adger and Walt Wolfram, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007); Educating English Language Learners (with Fred Genesee, Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, and William Saunders, Cambridge University Press, 2006); What Teachers Need to Know About Language (co-edited with Carolyn Adger and Catherine Snow, Delta Systems, 2002); Bilingual Education (co-edited with Fred Genesee, TESOL, 2001); and Profiles in Two-Way Immersion Education (with Chris Montone, Kathryn Lindholm and Isolda Carranza, Delta Systems, 1997). She has also authored numerous book chapters, reports, and journal articles on topics in linguistics and education.

Dr. Christian is called on frequently for consultation on research, policy, and practice issues. Her current board service includes: Board of Directors of The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF); Editorial Board of the Heritage Language Journal; Editorial Board of the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism; Audit Committee of the Linguistic Society of America; General Advisory Committee of the National Accessible Reading Assessments Projects; Advisory Committee of the Department of Linguistics at Montclair State University, and Advisory Board of the Hispanic Family Literacy Institute (National Center for Family Literacy). She has also served several terms as an officer and member of the Board of Directors of the Joint National Committee for Languages. In 2006, she was awarded a Promoting Bilingualism award by the 2Way CABE organization.