Alejandro Lee

Professor of Spanish, Ph.D., MLIS

Dr. Alejandro Lee, a native of Panama, was a first-generation college student, earning his BA in French and Spanish (Honors) from Pitzer College; a MA and PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures, and a master of Library and Information Science from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Before joining Santa Monica College in 2016, Dr. Lee taught in the Pacific Northwest and in Southern California: UCLA, the University of Southern California, and Scripps College (Claremont Colleges)

Today, he teaches Spanish for heritage learners (Spanish 11 and 12), and intermediate courses (Spanish 3 and 4). He is a member of the Student Instructional Support Committee and liaison for the Modern Language Tutoring Center, and regularly advises several clubs, among them, the Spanish Club. In addition, he is proud to support students in Hombre a Hombre and Men of Color Mentoring.

Dr. Lee also serves as a summer faculty mentor for the Heritage Teacher Workshop hosted by the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA as well as on the Editorial Committee of History and Perspectives, the journal of the Chinese Historical Society of America. He is the Community College representative for the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (2020-2023), chair of the College Board’s CLEP Spanish Test Development Committee (2019-21) and a member of the Advanced Placement World Languages Academic Advisory Committee to the College Board (2020).

Outside of his duties as an educator, Dr. Lee maintains a healthy lifestyle through swimming and yoga. An avid traveler, he enjoys meeting new people, exploring new restaurants and cuisines, and participating in cultural events. He is delighted to be back "home" in Southern California.

Current Course Offerings

Spanish 3

Spanish 4

Spanish 11

Spanish 12


Entrada Libre: Intermediate/Advanced Spanish Manual, Open Education Resource, with Cristina Moon and Nancy Ballesteros, 2020.

"The Process of Adoption, Implementation and Institutionalization of Spanish Heritage Language Programs at Two U.S. Regional Comprehensive Universities," with Alegría Ribadeneira, for A Handbook on Heritage Language Education: From Innovation to Program Building, ed. Olga Kagan, Maria Carreira, Claire Chik. New York: Routledge, 2017. 379-93.

"Polly Bemis (1853-1933)" and "Chinese Immigration to South America," Chinese Americans: The History and Culture of a People. Ed. Jonathan H. X. Lee. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2015: 18; 53-55.

"At the Margins of the Nation: Chinese Immigrants in Contemporary Spanish American Fiction." Amerasia Journal 38.2 (2012): 85-101.

"Arora, Shirley Lease. (1930- )." Encyclopedia of Latino Folklore (3 vols). Vol. 1. Ed. María Herrera-Sobek. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2012: 56-58.

"'Preferible es un hijo deforme que una docena de hijas sabias como Buda': refranes y resistencia en Hija de la fortuna de Isabel Allende." Proverbium 26 (2009): 187-216.

"'Matar dos pájaros de un tiro': Usos de la paremia en el Diálogo de la lengua de Juan de Valdés." Proverbium 25 (2008): 207-18.

Research Interests

Chinese diaspora in Latin America
Heritage Language Education
Latina/o and Latin American Studies

Professional Memberships

American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP)
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
California Language Teachers' Association (CLTA)
International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT)

Last updated on 20 August 2020.