Department of Teaching & Learning


Diego Román

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Stanford University
6401 Airline Rd
Suite 301
Dallas, 75205
Send an email

Dr. Diego Román is an Assistant Professor in Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University, specializing in bilingual and science education. He holds a B.S. degree in Agronomy from Zamorano University in Honduras and a M.S. degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He earned a M.S. degree in Biology, a M.A. in Linguistics, and a Ph.D. degree in Educational Linguistics, all from Stanford University. Prior to starting his studies at Stanford University, Dr. Román taught middle school science to English Learners and newcomer students for seven years, first in rural Wisconsin and then in San Francisco, California.

During his doctoral studies, Dr. Román was awarded the prestigious John Evans Gessford Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship and was a Graduate Scholar in Residence for five years at El Centro Chicano y Latino at Stanford University. Additionally, he was part of Dr. Kenji Hakuta's Understanding Language research group and Dr. Jonathan Osborne's Reading to Learn in Science research project. He continues to collaborate on both initiatives by analyzing data and helping to design massive online open courses (MOOCs) that prepare teachers who work with English Learners and studying interviews and videos of two cohorts of elementary and secondary science teachers to determine how science teachers incorporate literacy instruction as part of their classes. Additionally, he has been involved with various research projects in the areas of technology applied to content area language learning. At the international level, he has worked in a variety of science and education projects in the Galapagos Islands and has participated in international events designed to improve science education in Ecuador. For his community and research work, Dr. Román received the 2014 Stanford Vice Provost of Graduate Education Research Award and the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award, both at El Centro Chicano y Latino at Stanford University.

Dr. Roman's research interests are located at the intersection of linguistics, science education, and environmental studies. Specifically, he studies the linguistic and multimodal characteristics of science texts that are used at the middle school level with the purpose of defining the features of the language of science instruction. In addition to his ongoing collaboration in MOOC and literacy development in science instruction, Dr. Román is currently analyzing the language used to teach climate change at the middle school level and also participating in an initiative that seeks to improve the quality of English as a foreign language instruction in the Galapagos Islands. Finally, he is interested in developing and conducting research on hybrid and online courses that address the needs of teachers working in dual-language programs and studying the best practices of teaching science to bilingual students.

Selected Publications

Osborne, J., Roman, D., Donovan, B., Friend, M., & Patterson, A. (Under review).  Towards a Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Literacy Instruction in Science. 

Roman, D., Rohde, H., & Hironaka, S.  (Under review). Understanding the Language of Middle School Science: A comparison of discourse marker usage in science and social studies textbooks.

Kibler, A., & Román, D.  (2013).  Insights into professional development for teachers of English Language Learners: A focus on using students’ native languages in the classroom. Bilingual Research Journal, 36(2), 187-207.

Thompson, K., Román, D., Wientjes, G., & Hakuta, K.  (2012). The effects of a web-based vocabulary development tool on student reading comprehension of science texts. Multidisciplinary Journal of Educational Research, 2(3), 272-300.

Román, D., &  Hakuta, K. (2010). Supporting text comprehension and development using Wordsift.  National History Education Clearinghouse (NHEC):

Román, D., Wientjes, G., Thompson, K., & Hakuta, K.  (2009). WordSift: An interactive web-based vocabulary tool. NCELA: Accellerate!, 1(4)

Selected Presentations

Román, D., Donovan, B., Friend, M., Osborne, J. & Patterson, A. (2014, April). Towards a pedagogical content knowledge for literacy instruction in science. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Boston, MA.

Donovan, B., Friend, M., Metz, M., Osborne, J., Patterson, A., & Román, D. (2013, September).  Middle school teachers’ view of the role of literacy in science instruction.  Paper presented at the annual conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), Nicosia, Cyprus.

Román, D., Rohde, H., & Hironaka, S.  (2013, April). Understanding the Language of Middle School Science: A comparison of discourse marker usage in science and social studies textbooks. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Río Grande, Puerto Rico.

Román, D., & Knab, Richard.  (2012, October).  Improving the quality of education for the children of the Galapagos Islands.  Annual conference of the North American Association for Environmental Education.

Thompson, K. & Román, D. (2010, May). What do teachers need to know about students' primary languages?: A linguistic analysis of information about California's immigrant languages contained in state-adopted curriculum materials.Paper presented at the conference “The Real California Gold”: Indigenous & Immigrant Heritage Languages of California, Davis, CA.

Ernst, L., Román, D., & Thompson, K. (2010, March).  WordSift: An interactive web-based vocabulary development tool. Paper presented at the annual conference of the California Association for Bilingual Education, San Jose, CA.