Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Nan Li has received the Exemplary Service to the Teaching Profession Award from the South Carolina Association of Teacher Educators (SCATE).
“I was very surprised. I did not expect that,” she said. “It feels really good to be honored by your peers.”
SCATE, a leadership and professional organization for pre-service, graduate and active teachers in the state, awarded Li for her “unique or extraordinary accomplishments in education; active leadership in education at the local, state and national level; focused public attention on the need for improvement and better support for education.”
Li is nationally acknowledged in education for her work with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students. This fall, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Claflin University a $289,645 grant to continue and expand a program Li chartered to improve the professional development of teachers instructing Hispanic students who don't speak as their first language.
Her National Professional Development (NPD) program previously received a five-year, $1 million from the USDOE. Thus far, Li's NPD program has received rave reviews from local school officials and student teachers. Participating children have shown remarkably improvement in their English reading and writing abilities. The latest award – potentially worth nearly $1.5 million in grant funding - will afford Claflin the opportunity to annually train both 24 students and 24 current teachers best practices to instruct ESOL students.
Li was nominated for the award by her student, Mariette Dargan, a senior early childhood education major from Lamar, S.C. Dargan has participated in Li's NPD program for the past three years.
“Dr. Li has shown such vision in developing this program to help ESOL students get on track with their education,” Dargan said. “But she has always been very instrumental in molding me and many other Claflin students into excellent future educators.”
Li has been at the University since 2005. She received a Masters of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a Doctor of Education from Indiana University.
President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale congratulated Li on her most recent accomplishment.
“At Claflin University, we have faculty who have the vision to think outside of the box in solving some of the world's most critical issues,” Tisdale said. “Dr. Li's research is ensuring current and future generations will be able to acclimate in the classroom. The Claflin family is delighted that others have recognized her efforts to improve the human condition.”