Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics


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Established in 1994 as the Interim Committee on the Status of Minorities in Linguistics. The current name was adopted in 1995.


Recognizing that some ethnic and racial minorities in the United States are significantly underrepresented in the linguistics workforce and in the membership of the LSA, and that it is in the interest of the field of linguistics and of American society to be enriched by the participation of all its ethnic groups, the LSA established a Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics. Its principal charges are:

  1. Helps the Society and the profession identify, publicize, and implement ways of improving the recruitment, retention, and professional development of linguists from underrepresented ethnic minorities.
  2. Makes recommendations to the Society and the profession concerning ways in which full equality of opportunity can be provided to all who seek to study, teach, or conduct research in linguistics.

The Society acknowledges the wide range of ways in which the term 'ethnic minority' may be interpreted. The Committee's work is directed to those groups which are clearly underrepresented at all levels in the linguistics workforce relative to their numbers in the US population. Such groups include African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Middle Eastern/Arab/North African Americans, and Americans from a variety of Asian and Pacific Islander back-grounds. The activities of the Committee are not limited to any stipulated set of such groups but are aimed at increasing access to and diversity within the field on a broad basis.


The work of the Committee includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Managing the CEDL Travel Grant nominations and selection process
  • Suggesting ways in which LSA annual meetings can promote the goal of increasing ethnic diversity in linguistics and can more inclusively serve the interests of current and future members of the Society who belong to ethnic minority groups, e.g. by encouraging the submission of scholarly symposia and by organizing other kinds of sessions and open meetings.
  • Working in cooperation with the LiSC and the PR Committee, promotes better awareness and understanding of linguistics in schools and in society, with a view to attracting people from diverse backgrounds into linguistics and maximizing the accessibility of the subject and the profession to members of underrepresented ethnic groups.
  • Collecting and sharing ideas about undergraduate and graduate teaching that will encourage ethnic diversity in linguistics, including ideas about course content and design, teaching, assignments, teacher training (for both TAs and faculty) that encourages sensitivity to diversity-related issues; collects and makes available resource material that facilitates minority and nonnormative speech data to be incorporated into linguistics courses at both specialist and general-education levels.
  • Exploring issues relating to ethnic diversity in linguistics in a broad range of education contexts (e.g. K-12; university outreach to high schools; outreach or exchange programs involving colleges with high minority enrollment; graduate schools), and brings relevant ideas and information to the attention of the Society and the profession.
  • Promoting communication, networking, and mentoring between minority students and professional linguists.
  • Promoting the positive recognition of mentoring, advising, and other supportive roles that may take up a disproportionately large contribution of time for the few ethnic minority faculty members in the profession and disseminates information about solutions to the problem of overburdening minority faculty in this way.
  • Establishing liaison with other committees or organizations that are concerned with ethnic diversity in linguistics and in related professions and disciplines and engages in cooperative efforts where appropriate.
  • Identifying unfair or discriminatory practices, and practices which have de facto discriminatory or discouraging effects on ethnic minority members, and advises the Society and the profession of ways in which they may be rectified.
  • Collecting and disseminating relevant data and resource materials and publicizes the activities of the Committee by all appropriate means.

Membership (open)

At least 6 members, with at least one student member, serving three-year terms.

To join CEDL, please click on the button below or login to the website and in the left side menu on the Member Portal click on "My Committees and SIGs." 

Committee Leadership

  • Co-chair: Sarah Phillips, Georgetown University (2025)
  • Co-chair: Savithry Namboodiripad, University of Michigan (2024)
  • Co-chairs, CEDL Awards Subcommittee: Lina Hou and Nicté Fuller Medina
  • Co-chairs, CEDL Communications/Outreach Subcommittee: Kendra Calhoun and Nandi Sims
  • Staff Liaison: Vy Le, Director of Membership and Governance