Lan Kolano, Ph.D.

Department Chair & Professor


Lan Kolano is Professor and Chair of the Department of Middle, Secondary and K-12 Education. She completed her Ph.D. at UNC-Chapel Hill and has been on UNC Charlotte's faculty since 2004. Her research focuses on the language and identity development of immigrant learners and the development of critical multicultural efficacy of teachers. Dr. Kolano is currently working on an ethnographic project that examines and documents the experiences of Southeast Asian immigrant girls with limited formal education as they negotiate language, race, gender and culture and school in North Carolina.  She teaches foundational courses that emphasize culturally responsive pedagogies in urban school contexts. Her research, teaching, and service agendas work in concert in ways that deepen teachers' cultural and linguistic understanding of English Language Learners in order to promote the development of inclusive classroom environments in urban schools.


Ph.D. in Education, 2004, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Culture, Curriculum, & Change 
Master of Education, 1997, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Curriculum and Instruction
Bachelor of Science, 1996, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, English


Since joining the faculty in 2004, Dr. Kolano has also provided sustained outreach to schools through the professional development training of teachers and administrators in six different districts throughout North Carolina. She currently serves as the College of Education's Faculty Fellow for Engagement and has been recognized for her commitment to the education of diverse learners in NC public schools, engagement in community outreach, and in the development of teachers as culturally responsive practitioners. As an advocate for social justice education, she also serves on critical advisory boards for local non-profit organizations serving local refugee/immigrant communities in North Carolina.  She serves on the advisory board for Rising Readers through International House and is the new Board Chair of the Southeast Asian Coalition, a non-profit organization that exists to  increase community empowerment and engagement in the growing Southeast Asian American community of the Carolinas.

Area(s) of Interest and Research

Immigrant Education
Critical Multicultural Teacher Education
Second language identity development 
English Learners & Teacher Efficacy