College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Bic Ngo

  • Professor, Rodney S. Wallace Professor for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

  • Office Hours

    By appointment.

Bic Ngo

Areas of interest

Exploration of understandings and influences of “culture” and “difference” on immigrant students' education, and the implications for how we theorize immigrant identity, culturally relevant pedagogy, and anti-oppressive education.


PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Co-Editor-in-Chief, Educational Studies
Associate Editor, American Educational Research Journal
Associate Editor, Anthropology & Education Quarterly
Principal Investigator, Asian American College Excellence Project, AANAPISI Award, 2016-2021
Principal Investigator, Project Thrive, AANAPISI Award, 2020-2026

Culture and Teaching, Immigrant Education


My research and teaching interests focus on culturally relevant pedagogy, urban and multicultural education in general, and immigrant education in particular.

In my research, I examine: 1) the ways in which the education of immigrant students is shaped by dynamic power relations as they play out at the intersection(s) of race, ethnicity, class, and gender; and 2) the ways in which classroom and school practices may mitigate educational and social inequalities. I engage in interdisciplinary conceptual frameworks, including critical, cultural, and feminist theories. I have drawn on the work of Homi Bhabha, Michel Foucault, and Judith Butler, among others, to explicate, critique, and re-imagine the lives of immigrant students, the work of urban teachers, and the role(s) of critical multicultural education.

I have worked extensively with Hmong American and Lao American students, families, and communities in the Twin Cities area. In a case study with Hmong college students, I explored the social, cultural, and economic negotiations among working-class, first-generation students as well as the effect of race, ethnicity, class, and gender on their educational experiences. In an ethnographic study of Lao immigrant students at an urban, public high school I examined the ways in which we teach and talk about cultural differences within the contexts of “culture” and “cultural identity.” Most recently, my research projects have included an ethnographic study involving Hmong American high school students, parents, and community leaders.

By looking at how “culture” and “cultural difference” play out in the practices of schools, teachers, and students, I seek to reveal the complexities of urban education and the implications for teaching immigrant students. In my research and teaching, I am committed to working toward equity and social justice.

Selected Grants, Awards, and Distinctions

  • Project Thrive
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions Program, 2021-2026
  • U.S Department of Education, $1.5
  • Principal Investigator
  • Asian American College Excellence (AACE) Project 
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions Program, 2016-2021
  • U.S Department of Education, $1.75
  • Principal Investigator, Josephine Lee, College of Liberal Arts, UMN, Co-Investigator
  • Scholars Award, 2011-2016
  • William T. Grant Foundation
  • Early Career Award, 2011
  • Committee on Scholars of Color in Education, American Education Research Association
  • Rising Star Award, 2010
  • Philanthropic Leadership Circle, CEHD
  • President's Interdisciplinary Conference Award, 2009
  • Graduate School, UMN
  • Symposium Award, 2007
  • Institute for Advanced Study, UMN
  • Faculty Residency Fellowship, 2006
  • Institute for Advanced Study, UMN
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, 2005
  • Graduate School, UMN

News Stories

University of Minnesota - University of Minnesota receives $1.5 million to support Asian  American and Pacific Islander students from a U.S. Department of Education grant", Sep 21, 2020

University of Minnesota - “Bic Ngo appointed as co-editor of Educational Studies”, April 16, 2019

University of Minnesota - "C&I's Bic Ngo receives $1.75 million grant to increase opportunities and services for Asian American students", September 19, 2016

Courses Taught

  •      CI 8146—Critical Ethnography in Education
  •      CI 8156—Asian American Education
  •      CI 8155—Immigrant Families and U.S. Schools
  •      CI 8154—Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
  •      CI 8148—Conducting Qualitative Studies in Educational Contexts
  •      CI 8131—Critical Examination of Curriculum in Context 

Ngo, B., Maloney Leaf, B. & Chandara, D. (in press). Immigrant educators as curriculum texts: The praxis within co-ethnic community-based arts programs. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy.

Chandara, D., Yang, A., Vang, T. Her, K., Limthongviratn, P., & Ngo, B. (in press). Seeding change from within: An exploration of activism at the local level. AAPI Nexus Journal: Policy, Practice and Community.

Ngo, B. (2022). Southeast Asian American Students Navigating Gender and Sexuality. Special issue on Asian American Education. ASSERT (Annals of Social Studies Education Research for Teachers).

Ngo, B., & Chandara, D. (2021). Nepantlera Pedagogy in an Immigrant Youth Theater Project: The Role of a Hmong Educator in Facilitating the Exploration of Culture and Identity. Teachers College Record, 123(9), 87–111.

Maloney Leaf, B. & Ngo, B. (2020) ‘You are not invisible’: a qualitative study examining ritual, pedagogical relationships, and student visibility in kathak dance, Research in Dance Education, 21(3), 280-295, DOI: 10.1080/14647893.2020.1815689

Abdi, N., & Ngo, B. (2020) "No one wanted to play with me": Somali-American students' memories of racism in elementary school. In A. Ibrahim & A. Cooper (Eds.), Black voices matter: Black immigrants in the United States and the politics of race, language and multiculturalism. New York: Peter Lang.

Abdi, N., & Ngo, B. (2020) "No one wanted to play with me": Somali-American students' memories of racism in elementary school. In A. Ibrahim & A. Cooper (Eds.), Black voices matter: Black immigrants in the United States and the politics of race, language and multiculturalism. New York: Peter Lang.

Ngo, B., Abdi, N., & Chandara, D. (2020). "Gender, Education and Immigrant Children in the United States." In Cris Mayo (Ed.), Oxford Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality in Education. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.ORE_EDU-01324.R1

Ngo, B., (guest editor) & Lee, S.J. (guest editor) (2020). Navigating social justice in the current historical moment. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2019.1693070

Maloney Leaf, B., & Ngo, B. (2019). "Fear of what we don't know": Grappling with diversity in a youth theatre program. Youth Theatre Journal, 1-17. DOI: 10.1080/08929092.2019.1688201

Mogush Mason, A., & Ngo, B. I (2019). Teacher education for cultural and linguistic diversity in the United States. Oxford Encyclopedia of Global Perspectives on Teacher Education.

Ngo, B., Dyke, E., & LoBello, J. (2018). Connecting as "family" in educative relationships: Insights from a media program serving Hmong immigrant youth. Urban Education, 53(9), 1126-1153

Ngo, B. (2017). The costs of “living the dream” for Hmong immigrants: The impact of subtractive schooling on family and community. Educational Studies.

Ngo, B., Lewis, C., & Maloney Leaf, B. (2017). Fostering sociopolitical consciousness with minoritized youth: Insights from community-based arts programs. Special issue on “Disrupting inequality through educational research.” Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 358-380.

Cross, W. Gee, G., Ngo, B. Roth, W., Rivas-Drake, D., Schwartz, S., Seaton, E., & Yip, T. (2017). Doing ethnic-racial Identity. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 17(1).

Ngo, B. (2016). Naming their world in a culturally responsive space: Experiences of Hmong: Adolescents in an after-school theatre program. Journal of Adolescent Research, 32(1), 37-63.

Simpkins, S., Riggs, N., Ngo, B., Okimoto, D., & Ettekal, A. (2016). Designing culturally responsive organized after-school activities. Journal of Adolescent Research, 32(1), 1-36.

Ngo, B. (2015). Hmong culture club as a place of belonging: The cultivation of Hmong students’ cultural and political identities. Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, 10(2).

Ngo, B. & Kwon, M. (2015). A glimpse of family acceptance for queer Hmong youth. Journal of LGBT Youth, 12(2), 212-231.

Ngo, B. & Kumashiro, K. (Eds.) (2014). Six lenses for anti-oppressive education: Partial stories, improbable conversations, 2nd Edition. New York: Peter Lang Publishers.

Ngo, B. (2013). Culture consciousness among Hmong Immigrant leaders: Beyond the dichotomy of cultural essentialism and cultural hybridity. American Educational Research Journal, 50(5), 958 –990.

Ngo, B. & Hansen, S. (2013). Constructing identities in UN refugee camps: The politics of language, culture and humanitarian assistance. Journal of Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 19(2), 97-120.

Ngo, B. (2012). The importance of family for a gay Hmong American man: Complicating discourses of “coming out”. Hmong Studies Journal, 13(1), 1-27.

Ngo, B. and Leet-Otley, J. (2011). Discourses about gender among Hmong American policymakers: Conflicting views about gender, culture and Hmong youth. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 10(2), 99-118.

Ngo, B. (2010). Unresolved identities: Discourse, ambivalence and urban immigrant students. New York: State University of New York Press.

Ngo, B. (2009). Ambivalent urban, immigrant identities: The incompleteness of Lao American student identities. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(2), 201-220.

Ngo, B. (2008). Beyond “culture clash” understandings of immigrant experiences. Theory into Practice, 47(1), 4-11.

Ngo, B., and Lee, S. (2007). Complicating the image of model minority success: A review of Southeast Asian American education. Review of Educational Research, 77(4), 415-453.

Ngo, B. (2002). Contesting “culture”: The perspectives of Hmong American female students on early marriage. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 33(2), 163-188.