The College of Education is proud to recognize several research award winners that have been named this year. This is one in a series of posts.

Dr. Alice Lee, assistant professor of literacy and elementary education in the School of Teaching and Learning, earned the University Research Initiative Award.

This award, sponsored by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Illinois State University, recognizes tenure-track faculty members who have initiated a promising research agenda early in their academic careers. Nominees are put forward by their nominating college and selected by a university-wide committee.

In addition to the University Research Initiative Award, Lee received a prestigious and highly competitive Spencer Small Grant for this research.

Lee’s research focuses on the role of teacher race in enacting culturally responsive pedagogies (CRP). This study theorizes how teachers embody race and language through life experiences, and what role this plays in their classroom pedagogies. Employing ethnographic multi-case study, this research seeks to broaden the empirical base for a framework that she previously developed, termed, “Teacher Embodiment as Lived Pedagogy.”

This framework fills a gap in studies exploring teacher race as it relates to diverse students’ achievement, and offers an explanatory framework as to why the enactment of CRP has been elusive. This research can be applied towards the recruitment, education, and development of critical teachers in efforts to diversify the teacher workforce.

Lee shares what she finds most significant about her work: “I contextualize my work within the current state of schooling, whereby white monolingual teachers and teacher educators continue to dominate schools and teacher education programs with white oppressive norms. Teacher Embodiment as Lived Pedagogy inherently pushes against this reality by counting the epistemologies of teachers and teacher candidates of color within their pedagogy, while also interrogating the ways whiteness is embodied within teachers, teacher candidates, and teacher educators. I appreciate those on the award committee who recognize the urgency of this matter and have supported my scholarship.”

For more information about Lee’s research, visit her website.