Alejandro Lee


Professor of Spanish, Ph.D., MLIS

Alejandro Lee is a native of Panama. A first-generation college student, he earned a BA in French and Spanish with Honors from Pitzer College, followed by a MA and PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures, as well as a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from UCLA. Dr. Lee taught in Southern California at UCLA, the University of Southern California, and Scripps College (Claremont Colleges), and in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2016 he joined the Santa Monica College faculty, where he teaches Spanish for heritage learners (Spanish 11 and 12), and intermediate courses (Spanish 3 and 4).  Dr. Lee is a member of the Student Instructional Support Committee and a liaison for the Modern Language Tutoring Center, and regularly advises several campus clubs, including the Spanish Club, and 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, and 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 (2020-2022), chair of the College Board’s CLEP Spanish Test Development Committee (2019-22), a member of the Editorial Committee of Plurilingual & Pluriculturales: A Newsletter on Critical Language Education (2020-), a member of America’s Languages Working Group (2021-) and a co-founder of Heritage Language Exchange (2021-).

Outside of his work as an educator, Dr. Lee enjoys swimming and yoga, traveling, meeting new people, exploring new restaurants and cuisines, and participating in cultural events in Southern California, which he is delighted to call home.

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)
International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT)

Last updated on September 22, 2022.