​Dr. Nan Li

Since 2007, Dr. Li has brought $3.2 million to Claflin University in federal and State grant funding to support student learning and to improve teacher quality.


Dr. Li Joined Claflin in 2005. Between 2011 and 2017, she oversaw over $3.2 million in federal and state grant funding to support student learning. These grants are: 1)  The ELL Center Project—awarded $1,466,668.00 by U. S. Department of Education (2011-2017); 2) ELL Professional Development Project --awarded $729,626.00 by South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (2011-2016); 3) National Professional Development (NPD) Program—awarded $984,030.00 by U. S. Department of Education (2007-2013).   Dr. Li enjoys working with pre-service students in classrooms and outside the classroom through the NPD program. Dr. Li is a site visitor for Council of Accreditation of Educator Preparation ( CAEP).  Dr. Li served as President of South Carolina Association for Teacher Education (SCATE) in 2018.  Dr. Li has 28 publications including her new book in 2020: A Research Perspective: Preparing Pre-Service Teachers' Academic Succes along with other publications.  Dr Li has presented at over 70professional conferences at national, international levels including AERA, ATE, NAME and AACE. Dr. Li received the SC Governor’s Distinguished Professor Award and several other teaching awards, including Exemplary Service to the Teaching Profession. Her grant programs received several prestigious awards, Rose-Duhon-Sells Multicultural Program Award, and The Innovation in Teacher Education Award.

Dr. Li graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania majoring in Curriculum and Instruction with a 4.0 GPA. Her dissertation research was on the learning experiences of English Language Learners. Since then, her research, teaching and service have focused on language education, improving student learning, and teaching diversity.


Ed.D., Curriculum & Instruction, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2004

M.A., English Language & Literature, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, 1999

B.A., English Language & Literature, P. R. China, 1984

Research Interests

Teaching Diversity, Qualitative research, student learning success, multicultural education, educational equality, second language education, English Language learners, minority student education

Activities and Honors

Rose-Duhon-Sells Multicultural Program Award (2014) by National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) for the ELL Center’s outstanding contribution to support low-achieving ELL students in four school districts and the ELL Center Project is funded by U.S. Department of Education and SC Commission on Higher Education.

Innovation in Teacher Education Award (2014) by Southeastern Association for Teacher Educators (SRATE) for preparing pre-service teachers in research and service. SRATE is the regional ATE with these 16 southeastern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, NC, SC, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia.

South Carolina Governor’s Distinguished Professor Award (2013) by South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (SCCHE) & Governor’s Office as cited due to Exceptional Teaching Performance in the Private Institution of Higher Learning in South Carolina.

Exemplary Service to the Teaching Profession Award (2012) by SC Association for Teacher Educators (SCATE). The award was competed through the nomination in the state level and the award was announced at the 2012 SCATE annual conference for outstanding achievements in teaching, research and service in South Carolina.

Recent Publications

Li, N., (2020). A Research Perspective: Preparing Pre-Service Teachers for Academic Success across South Carolina. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. https://www.infoagepub.com/products/A-Research-Perspective.  

Li, N., & Tisdale, V. (2020). Transforming Teacher Preparation and Facilitating Pre-Service Teachers for the Global Society to Work Effectively with K-12 ELLs. UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. https://www.cambridgescholars.com/download/sample/66086

Li, N. (2019). Four Chinese ELLs: Their School Experiences and Journeys in Pursuing the American Dream. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. https://www.infoagepub.com/products/Four-Chinese-ELLs?fbclid=IwAR2U8RJ_bn9siUt0Lm.  

 Li, N., & Peters, A. (2018). Promise of a democratic society: Preparing pre-service teachers for the under-served ELLs. Teacher Education Journal of South Carolina. 11(2), 37-48.  

Li, N., & Peters, A. (2016). Preparing K-12 Teachers for ELLs: Improving Teachers’ L2 Knowledge and Strategies through Innovative Professional Development. Urban Education of SAGE (http://uex.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/07/04/0042085916656902.abstract).

Li, N., & Peters, A. (2016). Preparing K-12 Teachers for ELLs: Improving Teachers’ L2 Knowledge and Strategies through Innovative Professional Development. Urban Education of SAGE (http://uex.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/07/04/0042085916656902.abstract).

Li, N. (2016). Teaching ELLs across content areas: Issues and strategies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing (Ed.). (http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Teaching-ELLs-Across-Content-Areas.)

Li, N. (2015). A Book for Every Teacher: Teaching English Language Learners. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. (http://www.infoagepub.com/products/A-Book-For-Every-Teacher).

Li, N. (2015). Book Review: Preparing teachers to work with English Language Learners in mainstream classrooms. Teachers College Records. Teachers College, Columbia University. (https://www.tcrecord.org/AuthorDisplay.asp?aid=23356)

Li, N. (2013). Seeking best practices and meeting the needs of the ELLs: Using L2 theories and integrating technology in teaching. Journal of International Education Research. 9(3), 217-222. (http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1010923)

Li, N. (2012). Promoting student academic success: Paying attention to learning environmental factors. The Journal of College Teaching & Learning. 9(4), 261-266. (http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1000855).

Li, N., Mitchell, Y., & Howard, C. (2011). What a case study reveals: Facing the new challenge and learning the basics in L2 acquisition. National Teacher Education Journal. 4(1), 25-31. (http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/case-studies/85343752/what-case-study-reveals-facing-new-challenge-learning-basics-second-language-acquisition).

Recent Presentations

Presented (4/2016) at AERA 2016 Annual Meeting—AERA: American Educational Research Association. Presentation Title: Preparing K-12 Teachers for the Under-Served ELL Students. Washington DC.

Presented (2/2016) at the ATE Annual Conference—ATE: Association for Teacher Educators. Presentation Title: Teacher Preparation: Seeking Accountability, Making It Meaningful, and Assisting K-12 ELLs’ Academic Success; Chicago, Illinois.

Presented (10/2015) at 25th NAME International Conference—NAME: National Association for Multicultural Education. Presentation Title: Looking into Past Achievement, Seeking Current Success, and Finding Future Inspiration: Assisting ELLs’ Success; New Orleans, LA.

Presented (10/2015) at SCATE 2015 Conference—SCATE: South Carolina Association for Teacher Educators. Presentation title: Enriching Teacher Education through Action: Preparing Pre-service Teachers for Research and Service to Assist ELLs Academic Success; Spartanburg, SC.

Presented (8/2015) at the ATE Summer Conference—ATE: Association for Teacher Educators. Presentation Title: Innovation in Teacher Education: Preparing Pre-Service Teachers through Research and Service and Assisting ELLs’ Academic Success; Minneapolis, MN.

Dr. Nan Li
​Dr. Nan Li
Professor of Education
  • School of Education
Bowen Hall, 113