UNM College of Education

Excellence and Diversity through People, Ideas & Innovation

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lily Wong Fillmore

2012 Graduate Student Colloquium Keynote Speaker

Dr. Lily Wong Fillmore

Dr. Lily Wong Fillmore,
Jerome Hutto Professor in Education Emerita
University of California at Berkeley

After earning a doctorate in linguistics at Stanford University, Fillmore joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Education at the Berkeley campus of the University of California in 1974.  Over the next 3 decades, she conducted research in the public schools in California.  Her earlier research efforts dealt with children’s cognitive and social strategies and sources of variation in second language learning (1972-1983), the influence of instructional policies and practices on language and academic outcome (1983-2004), primary language retention and loss (1990-2004), and socialization for learning across cultures (1972-2004). She has conducted research in Yup’it villages along the lower Yukon River in Alaska (1999-2002), and directed a UC Berkeley doctoral program for American Indian leaders in several pueblos in New Mexico (1991-2000).

Since her retirement from the University of California’s Berkeley faculty, Fillmore has delved deeply into the question of why so many language minority students have difficulty getting beyond the most basic levels of reading proficiency.  She has been working with former English learners to discover what stands in the way of their developing the language skills and reading facility and fluency required for text understanding.  Her present research efforts focus on discovering how academic English works in school texts, and on how teachers can support their students’ development of such language through literacy.  She has been working with many of New York City's school networks (i.e., school districts) over the past 5 years to apply that research to practice in K-12 schools.