Lee Gunderson is a Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in first- and second-language reading, language acquisition, and teacher education.
He began teaching as a pre-school child-care teacher and subsequently a primary learning disabilities teacher, a sixth-grade teacher, a primary teacher of the Gifted and Talented, and a reading specialist in a Spanish-English bilingual School.
At UBC he served as Head of the Language and Literacy Education Department and the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education. He received the David Russell Award for research, the UBC Killam Teaching Prize and the Kingston Prize for contributions to the National Reading Conference (now LRA). He was awarded the BC Deans of Education Media Contributor of the Year Award, the UBC President's Award for Education through the Media, the BC Teachers of English as an Additional Language Lifetime Contributors Award, and an Honorary Life Membership in the Learning Disabilities Association of Vancouver.
He was the NRC (LRA) secretary from 1991 to 2000, and President in 2003. He was “unofficial” NRC photographer and is helping to establish an NRC/LRA archive.
Lee was a member and Chair of the IRA (ILA) Publications Committee and led the development of Reading Online; one of the first online literacy journals. He served on eleven different IRA committees and led the creation of the Pippin Teachers Library; and as Chair the commissioning and publication of 40 books. He founded the BC ESL Assessment Consortium (www.eslassess.ca) that has designed, developed, and normed 10 (grade 2-12) English reading and one primary English oral assessment
Lee’s long-term research focus is on ESL(ELL) and immigrant students’ academic and language achievement. He questions the use of acronyms such as ESL and ELL to represent groups in teaching and research. They are deficit labels that have negative consequences for learners that often last for years.