The Institute for Literacy Studies (ILS) at Lehman College, founded in 1984, is an organized research unit of The City University of New York (CUNY). Our mission—advancing urban education—has deep significance in our home borough of the Bronx as well as throughout New York City and the nation. We understand urban education in its broadest, most inclusive meaning to comprise the complex web of systems, settings, and relationships that foster learning in our cities; as such, our view of urban education is one that includes the work done in schools, colleges, community-based and adult education settings, and in homes. 

The work of the Institute for Literacy Studies falls into three overlapping areas: literacy education, mathematics education, and school improvement. In these three areas we conduct professional learning, provide site-based support to schools and programs, and conduct and disseminate research studies that draw upon and extend the knowledge of practitioners in school and community settings. Our direct-service program, the Adult Learning Center, blends our three emphases in providing quality education to 800 Bronx residents each year. 

In fulfilling our mission, we seek to collaborate with and learn from teachers, administrators, parents, community leaders, and students. Four interrelated values inspire and infuse our work: commitments to human capacity, social justice, the power of democratic communities, and transformative work for all persons. We see these values, as well as our mission, as in keeping with CUNY’s commitment to intellectual achievement for the public good.