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Lee Receives Walder Award of Research Excellence

May 6, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Carol Lee, professor of learning sciences at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, has been named the recipient of the Martin E. and Gertrude G. Walder Award for Research Excellence.

Lee is a leader in the advancement of education research and the recently elected president-elect of the American Education Research Association (AERA), the prominent international organization for education researchers. Lee's research centers on urban education, cultural supports for literacy, classroom discourse and instructional design.

A faculty member of the School of Education and Social Policy since 1991, Lee is known for a theory of cultural modeling that provides the framework for curricula that draw on the cultural capital and prior knowledge that traditionally underserved students -- particularly students of color -- bring to classrooms.

A former teacher, Lee has been active in Chicago Public Schools school reform. In 1974 she founded and directed New Concept Development Center, an independent African-centered school and, in 1998, co-founded the African-centered Betty Shabazz International Charter School, which now has three campuses.

Lee's research has been supported by major grants from the McDonnell Foundation's Cognitive Studies in Educational Practice; the Spencer Foundation; the National Center for the Study of At-Risk Children, co-sponsored by Howard University and Johns Hopkins University; and the National Council of Teachers of English.

Lee is an elected a fellow of both the National Academy of Education and the National Conference of Research on Language and Literacy. An active member of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), she received the group's Distinguished Service Award in 2007. This year she received the NCTE's Scholars of Color Distinguished Scholar Award.

She is the author of two books — "Culture, Literacy and Learning: Taking Bloom in the Midst of the Whirlwind" and "Signifying as a Scaffold for Literary Interpretation: The Pedagogical Implication of an African American Discourse Genre." Lee is also co-editor of Vygotskian Perspectives on Literacy Research and co-coordinator of the School of Education and Social Policy's Spencer Research Training Program.

The Walder Award was established by Dr. Joseph A. Walder, who earned a master's degree in chemistry from Northwestern in 1972 and an M.D. degree in 1975. The award carries a stipend of $15,000. Walder also established a permanently endowed professorship, the Irving M. Klotz Research Professorship.

The previous recipients of the Walder Award are Timothy Breen (history), 2002; Mary Zimmerman (performance studies), 2003; Lindsay Chase-Lansdale (education and social policy), 2004; Gary Saul Morson (Slavic languages and literatures), 2005; Prem Kumar (electrical engineering and computer science), 2006; and Cynthia Thompson (communication sciences and disorders), 2007.
Topics: People