The CDLC is comprised of UNCG faculty, staff, and students who are engaged in work related to diverse language communities.

CDLC Leadership Team

The Coalition for Diverse Language Communities was founded by Professors Micheline Chalhoub-Deville, Colleen Fairbanks, and Barbara Levin of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

micheline_chalhoub-devilleMicheline Chalhoub-Deville (Co-Founder, Co-Director, Fellow) is a Professor in the Department of Educational Research Methodology. She has received the International Language Testing Association Award for Best Article published in the field of language testing. Has been awarded the Outstanding Young Scholar Award by the Educational Testing Service—TOEFL Program. She is also the recipient of the UNCG SOE Senior Distinguished Research Scholar Award. She has directed funded (over $3 million) research and development projects, including foreign language proficiency-based and ELL assessment instruments as well as computer adaptive tests. She is the founder and first president of the Mid-West Association of Language Testers (MwALT). She has co-edited a special issue of the Language Testing journal, entitled Standards Based Assessment in The U.S. with a focus on ELs. She has served on the ETS English Learner Initiative Technical Advisory Committee. She currently serves on the British Council Assessment Advisory Board. During the 2014-2015 Research Assignment leave, she was a visiting professorship in Beirut, Lebanon and embarked on a tour to various countries around the world (including Australia, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Holland, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, UK, USA, and Taiwan) where she engaged in collaborative research, gave keynote presentations, conducted workshops, as well as engaged in consultations on educational and language testing matters.

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Dr. Colleen Fairbanks (Co-Founder, Co-Director, Fellow) is currently the Chair of the Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education. She came to UNCG in 2006 as a professor in the middle grades and English language arts programs. She has taught literacy and teacher education courses at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. Her research interests focus broadly on aspects of language, literacy, and schooling. Dr. Fairbanks has conducted studies related to school-based reform projects, classroom ethnographies, and longitudinal studies focused on literacy and schooling for marginalized populations. She has published widely in major educational and literacy journals, such as Harvard Educational Review, International Journal for Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Literacy Research, Journal of Teacher Education, and Research in the Teaching of English, and served as an editor of the National Reading Conference Yearbook for six years. She is currently past chair of the Coalition for Diverse Language Communities (CDLC). She began her professional career as a teacher and then director of an alternative school for disenfranchised youth.

Laura M. Gonzalez (Fellow, Chair Elect) is an Assistant Professor in Counseling and Educational Development. She received her PhD in Counselor Education from North Carolina State University. Her research has focused on Latino immigrant families in North Carolina, including educational access for adolescents, Spanish-speaking parental involvement in education, and supports and barriers to participation. Her most recent research project has involved the creation and implementation of an outreach program for Latino parents (Padres Promoviendo Preparacion) to help them learn about the steps in going to college so they are better able to assist their children.

HS- Barbara Levin (Co-Founder, Co-Director, Fellow) has been a Professor in Teacher Education and Higher Education in the School of Education at UNCG since 1993. She was a founding member of CDLC and is currently on phased retirement. Her Ph.D. is from the University of California, Berkeley in Educational Psychology. Her research interests focus on teachers’ beliefs and pedagogical understandings, teacher leadership, case-based and problem-based learning, and teaching and learning with technology. Dr. Levin has published more than 40 articles and nine books, including Every Teacher a Leader and Leading 21sy Century Schools, co-authored with Lynne Schrum, and Developing Critical Cultural Competence, co-authored with Jewell Cooper and Ye who are also members of CDLC He. She was also co-PI on a $1.4 million National Professional Development grant from the Department of Education called TESOL for ALL.

Amamy_vettery Vetter (Chair, Fellow) is an Associate Professor in the Teacher Education and Higher Education Department in the School of Education. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Texas at Austin in Language and Literacy Studies. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals, including the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, English Education, Journal of Literacy Research, and The Urban Review. She recently co-authored a book, Observing Teacher Identities through Video Analysis. Her current research focuses on the ways in which teachers and youth engage in critical conversations in high school English classrooms. Before coming to UNCG, she taught all levels of 10th and 12th grade English/Language Arts in Austin, TX.

Other currently active members, staff, and students

Jeannette Alarcón (Fellow, Mentor) is an Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education and Higher Education Department at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her teaching and research center understanding school culture and teachers’ integral roles in shaping school environments. Her recent projects include working with classroom teachers to facilitate meaningful dialogue and community building pedagogy. Dr. Alarcón’s international work in Romania aims to share the stories of the role that heritage and schools play in preparing students for global participation. Her work has been published in such journals as: The Social Studies and The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. Additionally, her work has been presented nationally at the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association, American Educational Studies Association, and College and University Faculty Assembly for the National Council of the Social Studies.


Silvia Bettez (Fellow) is an Associate Professor in the Cultural Foundations program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her research interests include promoting cross-cultural understanding, engagement, and communication with a focus on issues of equity and social justice.   She has several journal articles and book chapters related to these topics and a book titled But Don’t Call Me White: Mixed Race Women Exposing Nuances of Privilege and Oppression Politics (Sense Publishers).


Nora Bird (Former Grant Recipient): My interest in the CDLC grew from my work on the School of Education Access & Equity Committee for three years. Questions of access to learning for people from diverse backgrounds, including language, is important to me. Libraries are a place where people can work on learning something in their own way by exploring books, movies, and music from many sources. Libraries must be designed to support people in their native languages and in negotiating the English speaking world. Increasingly, libraries are also places where people can create their own content by using computers to create videos, share poetry, or even art. I am especially interested in helping people to preserve their culture through digitizing artifacts and collecting stories that can be shared. Along with my colleagues Dr. Fatih we have worked with the local Montagnard community on Project APRCH. We asked the Montagnards in the area to help us understand how they would like to preserve their culture for themselves and their children. The results of the prelimary project are being archived here.

Kattya Castellón (Member) is an Associate Director in Undergraduate Admissions.  She is a founding and active member of Alianza (the Latino Faculty and Staff Association at UNCG).  Kattya also serves as a board member of the Latino Community Coalition of Guilford.  She has advocated for the Latino community and worked in various capacities to provide support to immigrant families for more than twenty years. Since she started working at UNCG in 2005, she has been working diligently with Latino families and the immigrant community, both on the UNCG campus and in the greater Greensboro population.  In her position at the university, she is responsible for overseeing the operations unit of the admissions office. In addition, she has taken the initiative to lead the efforts to provide written materials and information in Spanish, information sessions, Q&A panels and college fairs geared toward Spanish speaking students and their families.  She is the intermediary for many educational and community groups who visit the campus and she personally counsels students and their families in all aspects of the admissions and enrollment processes. She facilitated a partnership between the university’s Coalition for Diverse Language Communities (CDLC) and Allen Middle School to establish the Real World English Project. In 2015, Kattya received the UNCG Staff Excellence Award for her devotion to duty, innovation and service, and she was selected as one of the 2015-2016 Notable Latinos of the Triad.  Kattya holds a Bachelor of Religious Arts degree in Christian Psychology from Jacksonville Theological Seminary.

Jewell E. Cooper (Fellow) is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Services and an Associate Professor in Teacher Education and Higher Education Department in the School of Education at UNCG. Her research interests include equity education in teacher education with an emphasis on community-based learning, teacher development, and culturally relevant/responsive pedagogy.  She is the co-author (along with Drs. He and Levin) of Developing Critical Cultural Competence: A Guide for 21st Century Educators.  Most recently, her community-based engagement involves coordinating a professional development school partnership with Guilford County Schools’ Ben L. Smith High School (where over 40 languages are spoken and approximately 80 countries are represented) and the UNCG School of Education. She is also lead principal investigator on the Real-World English grant (CDLC project) where UNCG faculty, graduate students, preservice teachers, and Guilford County Schools’ teachers and administrators work with immigrant parents who desire to learn to read and write in English.

James R. Davis (CDLC Graduate Assistant) is an MS/PhD student in the Department of Educational Research Methodology. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Sonoma. He also has a background in statistics, women’s and gender studies, and American Sign Language, which together shaped his interest in the intersection of psychometrics and assessment of diverse populations. At CSU Sonoma, James worked on the Organizational Justice Research Team to develop, promote, and analyze a university-wide student survey on health-related behaviors and perceptions of campus climate. His interests include fairness in testing, measurement invariance, psychometric challenges around language-related impairments and disabilities, and validation issues related to testing accommodations.

Verónica Grossi (Fellow) is an Associate Professor of Latin American Literatures in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at UNCG. She is the author of Sigilosos v(u)elos epistemológicos en Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Madrid, España-Frankfurt, Alemania: Iberoamericana-Vervuert Verlag. 2007, which received Honorary Mention for the Alfred B. Thomas Award of the Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies. 2009. She is also the editor of Escrito en México (1974-1984) by Enrique Fierro. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1999. She has published articles on early modern and modern Latin American literature as well as creative writing pieces in Spanish and English in refereed journals from the United States, Latin America and Europe. A prose poem on Greensboro recently appeared in 27 Views of Greensboro. NC: ENO Publishers, 2015. She is a member of the editorial boards of International Poetry Review, Calíope, Journal of the Society of Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry and Luvina, Revista Literaria de la Universidad de Guadalajara. She has twice served as juror for the International Award Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz for best novel written by a woman in Spanish.

Belinda Hardin Belinda J. Hardin (Fellow) is an Associate Professor in the Specialized Education Services Department. Her research includes cross-cultural studies. Internationally, she conducts research using the ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment (GGA), an early childhood education program assessment tool. Additionally, she has completed studies in the US investigating the referral, evaluation, and placement of preschool children with disabilities who are English Learners, including immigrant mothers of children with disabilities. Dr. Hardin has co-authored publications concerning the quality of international early childhood services for children with and without disabilities as well as Latino children in the US. She is co-author of a textbook on assessment in early childhood education and serves as an advisor on several international initiatives.


Ye He (Fellow) is an Associate Professor in Teacher Education and Higher Education in the School of Education. She serves as the coordinator for the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program at UNCG. Before coming to UNCG, she taught English as a foreign language in China. Her research focuses on strength-based and community-engaged practices that impact teacher beliefs and teacher development.


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Jean Kang (Fellow) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Specialized Education Services focusing on early childhood special education. She is originally from South Korea and worked as a special educator in Korea before coming to the U.S. She earned her Ph.D. at The University of Kansas and her areas of interest include kindergarten transition of young children with and without disabilities, school readiness, and family involvement.


lowtherKelly Lowther Pereira is an Assistant Professor of Spanish in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.  She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, with a specialization in Hispanic Sociolinguistics. She teaches courses in second language acquisition, linguistics, Spanish as a second language, and Spanish as a heritage language. Her research focuses on U.S. Spanish and heritage language education, in which she examines the complex relationships between language, identity, ideology and pedagogy. Her most recent publications focus on service-learning as a critical language pedagogy for Spanish heritage learners.

Keshia Martin (Fellow) is a graduate student in the Educational Research Methodology program. She has a B.A. in Sociology and Communication from Wake Forest University and a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from UNC-G. Before entering her graduate program, she worked as an Eligibility Caseworker for Social Services, processing benefit applications including those of refugees. She also worked in Student Affairs in Higher Education, focusing on living-learning community development and implementation, student leadership development, and issues related to diversity, social justice, and community engagement. Her current research interests include participatory program evaluation, culturally responsive evaluation and research approaches, community-based research methodologies, and feminist research methodologies.

Oksana Naumenko (Past Administrative Assistant) is a graduate student in the Educational Research Methodology Department. Prior to attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she attended James Madison University where she received her Master’s degree in Quantitative Psychology. During this time she also worked as the Assessment Assistant for the Office of Career and Academic Planning, developing assessment projects for the office and designing instruments. Her interests include improvement of validity of performance assessment­based inferences and detection and estimation of test item bias in performance assessment contexts using Diagnostic Classification Modeling.

PIC12813 ASL Idol Sam Parker (Fellow) is a Clinical Full Professor in the Specialized Education Services Department. He currently teaches in the Professions in Deafness Program with a focus on community Sign Language Interpreter Preparation. He is the child of Deaf adults and is a native user of American Sign Language. He holds a CSC certification with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and has worked as a community interpreter across the nation for 30 years. As an instructor Sam holds American Sign Language Teachers Association Certified credential. Sam has presented national professional seminars for working professionals for the past 15 years.

Jonathan D. Rollins III (Fellow) is a graduate student in the Department of Educational Research Methodology. Before attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he taught high school biology in rural West Virginia. His interests include parameter estimation in Item Response Theory, simulation studies, and data analysis using the R programming language. As part of his research, he has studied Differential Item Functioning in the context of fair and equitable assessment. He also advocates for the improved utility of data from large-scale databases to inform decision-making.

Devdass Sunnassee (Fellow) is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Educational Research Methodology Department in the School of Education. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His research interests include fairness in testing, test equating, issues related to testing of English Language Learners, survey sampling designs, longitudinal data analysis, and categorical data analysis. Dr. Sunnassee also serves as the Supervisor for the Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services (OAERS) and manages the Help Desk of the Center for Educational Research and Evaluation (CERE). His role in these positions serves to bridge the gap between students’ classroom experiences and actual hands-on practical field applications.

Edna Tan (Fellow) is an Associate Professor in Science Education in the Teacher Education and Higher Education Department in the School of Education. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Columbia in the City of New York, Teachers College. She takes a critical and sociocultural approach in her work with youth and science teachers, both in the classroom and informal science programs. Her research focuses on how youth from underrepresented backgrounds can be empowered to work with their teachers to create hybrid spaces for meaningful science engagement. Her research has been published in the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Research for Science Teaching, Journal of Learning Sciences, Science Education and Cultural Studies in Science Education. She also enjoys drinking tea and going for long walks with her dog. She is from the Republic of Singapore.

Melody Zoch (Fellow, Mentor) is an Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education and Higher Education Department in the School of Education. She earned her Ph.D. at The University of Texas at Austin in Language and Literacy Studies. She is a former bilingual Spanish/English elementary school teacher. Her research interests include an examination of the sociocultural/political context in which teaching and learning occurs, including how high-stakes testing impacts literacy teaching. Other research interests include teachers’ development of pedagogical and theoretical knowledge of using digital texts and tools and teachers’ development of culturally sustaining literacy teaching practices.