Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James Ryan announced that Gigi Luk has been promoted to the rank of associate professor. An expert in bilingualism, neuroscience, and cognitive development, Luk joined the HGSE faculty in 2011. She studies the lasting cognitive consequences of speaking multiple languages.
“Gigi is outstanding. Her research on bilingualism has already had a powerful impact both on the field of cognitive neuroscience and on the real-world educational experiences of children from diverse backgrounds,” Ryan said. “She is an extraordinary institutional citizen, serving on a number of school- and university-level committees and playing an indispensable leadership role in our Mind, Brain, and Education Program. And she is a talented and deservedly beloved teacher and mentor to our students. I am delighted to be able to recognize her many contributions to the HGSE community with a promotion to associate professor.”
Luk examines how to harness scientific findings on bilingualism to improve educational experiences for children from diverse language backgrounds. Specifically, her research investigates effective ways to measure bilingualism in schools, the relevance of knowledge on bilingualism and executive functions to language and literacy outcomes, and the relationship between academic outcomes and quality and quantity of bilingual experience. Her research explores the cognitive consequences of bilingualism using both behavioral and neuroimaging techniques. In a paper published earlier this year, she and her colleagues looked at how bilingualism affects verbal fluency — efficiency at retrieving words — in various stages of childhood and adulthood.
“It has been an exciting four years working at HGSE, along with colleagues and students with a wide range of expertise and backgrounds. Our common denominator is our passion to leverage our knowledge to improve education,” Luk said. “I am humbled to be promoted and look forward to contributing to this community and beyond.”