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Crystal Chen Lee

Assistant Professor, English Language Arts Education

402S Poe Hall



Crystal Chen Lee (Ed.D.) is an Assistant Professor of English Language Arts and Literacy in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. Her research lies at the nexus of literacy, immigrant youth, and community organizations. Most recently, as an American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Fellow, Dr. Lee examined critical literacy practices of African immigrant girls in New York City public schools and community organizations. She also worked extensively with urban teachers and students as a former doctoral research fellow for Teaching Residents at Teachers College (TR@TC) and as a Zankel Urban Fellow at the Center for Professional Education of Teachers (CPET) at Columbia University. Her work has been featured nationally and internationally, and she has published in books and journal articles such as Teaching and Teacher Education and the International Journal of Educational Research. Dr. Lee began her teaching experience as a high school English teacher and a literacy instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University and Montclair State University. In addition to her teaching, she has also served as an International Leadership Fellow in the United States Congress and an education intern at International Justice Mission, a non-profit organization focused on human rights, law, and law enforcement. She received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from Columbia University.

Research Description

Dr. Lee’s research focuses on two strands: one on literacy education, and one on teacher education with an intersection of multicultural education in both fields. Within these intersections, she focuses on English language learning and English Language Arts education. She is interested in examining literacy from a social justice stance--one that includes the values and advocacy of families and multiple stakeholders who work to improve education for traditionally marginalized communities. In recognizing the literacy practices of community organizations, Dr. Lee is passionate about highlighting student voices, as well as drawing upon their academic and personal strengths in order to inform how teachers can meet the literacy needs of English language learners. Her work examines how critical literacy and care for the self, community, and world is a foundation for communities and schools.


Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from Columbia University in 2017
M.Ed. in English Language Arts from Rutgers Graduate School of Education in 2009
B.A. in English from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in 2008

Curriculum Vitae


Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Roegman, R., Pratt, S., Sanchez, S. & Chen, C. (2017). Between Extraordinary and Marginalized: Negotiating Tensions in Becoming Teachers of Students with Labeled Disabilities. The New Educator. 1-22.
  • Reagan, E. M., Chen, C., & Vernikoff, L. (2016). “Teachers are works in progress”: A mixed methods study of teaching residents’ beliefs and articulations of teaching for social justice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 59, 213-227.
  • Chen, C., Desai, K. & Knight-Manuel, M. (2016): Fostering a Humanizing Pedagogy: Imagined Possibilities for African Immigrant Girls. Education Leadership Review. 16(3), 34-41.
  • Reagan, E. M., Chen, C., Roegman, R., & Zuckerman, K. (2015). Round and Round: Examining Teaching Residents’ Participations in and Reflections on Education Rounds. International Journal of Educational Research, 73, 65-76.
  • Goodwin, A. L. & Chen, C. (2016). New Knowledges for Teacher Educating?: Perspectives From practicing teacher educators. In C. Kosnik, S. White, C. Beck, B. Marshall, A. L. Goodwin, & J. Murray (Eds.), Building Bridges: Rethinking Literacy Teacher Education in a Digital Era. Sense Publishers.

Courses Taught

  • ECI 307 Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum
  • ECI 450 Methods and Materials in Teaching English
  • ECI 454 Student Teaching in ELA-Secondary

Honors and Awards

  • AAUW American Dissertation Fellowship
  • Provost Doctoral Dissertation Grant
  • Dean’s Doctoral Research Dissertation Fellowship
  • Teachers College Minority Scholarship
  • Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship

Research Areas