Dr. Carla Suhr joined the Spanish and Portuguese Department at UCLA in 2016 after finishing her PhD at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Professor Suhr focuses her academic work on the integration of culture, language, and cognition as a way to improve cross-cultural communication and inclusive teaching.

She has worked in the field of Spanish linguistics and Community-Engaged Learning for the past 15 years at organizations such as Universidad Complutense de Madrid and University of New Haven. She cofounded IDESLI International Institute of Linguistics in San Francisco in 2009, where she directed the Language Courses, facilitated Spanish teacher trainings, and developed programs geared to industries conducting businesses with Spanish-speaking countries and professionals as well as non-profit organizations working with the Latinx community.

She currently directs the Community-Engaged Learning Program and teaches Spanish Linguistics and Service-learning courses in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UCLA, from which she emphasizes the positive learning outcomes attained from connecting students with the community. Learn more about these courses here. Professor Suhr also cofounded UCLA EPIC Inclusive Gatherings whose mission is to provide an open space for educators to learn about issues of inclusivity and their related best pedagogical practices. Her current area of research is within the cognitive sciences, specifically on conceptualization processes and how this understanding enables us to 1) dismantle the existing links between language and identity and 2) acquire cognitive strategies as a valuable tool for Second Language Acquisition.


  • Ph.D. (2016) Comunicación Intercultural y Comunicación. Intercultural Communication and
    Cognition, Universidad Complutense de Madrid Dissertation thesis: Interlinguistic lexical study of emotive stereotypes Dir: Enrique Bernárdez
  • M.A (2008) Intercultural Communication and Cognition, Universidad Complutense de
  • M.Ed. equivalent (2006): Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching, Universidad Complutense de
  • M.A (2006) Teaching Spanish As a Second Language, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
    Dir: Jesus Sanchez Lobato


  • Spanish Linguistics
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • Conceptualization processes
  • Spanish Community-Engaged Learning
  • Spanish Service-Learning
  • Cross-cultural Communication
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Spanish as a Second Language
  • Social Psychology
  • Ethnolinguistics
  • Historical Linguistics



Taking it to the Streets: Spanish in the Community
Service learning course to give students opportunity to use cultural and linguistic knowledge acquired in Spanish classes in real-world settings. Students required to spend a minimum of eight to 10 hours per week at agreed on site in Latino community.

Latinos, Linguistics, and Literacy
In-depth study of various topics related to literacy, including different definitions of literacy, programs for adult preliterates, literacy and gender, approaches to literacy (whole language, phonics, Freire’s liberation pedagogy), history of writing systems, phoneme as basis for alphabetic writing, and national literacy campaigns. Required field project involving Spanish-speaking adults in adult literacy programs.

Spanish Language and Cognition
This course is an exploration of the relationship between Spanish language, cognition, and culture by looking at the origins of cognitive linguistics, its central concepts (including categorization, stereotype construction, and metaphorical and metonymic mechanisms), and research.

Melon-EPIC Fellow – Inclusive Classrooms
This seminar focuses on inclusive teaching approaches that address the needs of historically underrepresented minority students at UCLA. While “underrepresented minorities” is a term commonly used to refer to race, gender or class, physical and developmental disabilities may be added to provide a more comprehensive definition of the term. This STE will discuss ways in which courses can be adapted to comply with the university’s Diversity Requirements, as well as read and discuss various frameworks and approaches to inclusive teaching, which include but are not limited to acknowledging/combating social constructions of identity, implicit bias, microaggressions, stereotype threats, and Universal Design for Learning.

Most Recent Conference Papers

  • Suhr, Carla. Spanish Service-Learning in Higher Education. Misión Inversa, Córdoba,
    Argentina, August 2017.
  • Suhr, Carla. Construction of Emotive Stereotypes. Culture, Cognition, and Communication,
    Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, Lublin, Poland, September 2017.
  • Suhr, Carla. Mastering Spanish Through Service-Learning. Bringing Together Research and
    Practice: Language Learning, Language Teaching, and Teacher Training in Portuguese and
    Spanish, Facultade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, November 2017
  • Suhr, Carla. Evaluation in Spanish Service-Learning Courses. MLA Convention, New York,
    January 2018. In the Panel “Service Learning in Teaching Spanish Language”, included in
    the year’s presidential theme #States of Insecurity.
  • Suhr, Carla. Joining Forces: From Writing Composition to Service Learning in Enhancing
    Production of Spanish Heritage Speakers. Third International Conference on
    Heritage/Community Languages, University of California, Los Angeles, February 2018
  • Suhr, Carla. The Development of the Spanish Learner’s Multidimensional Competence,
    Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, University of Texas, Austin, October 2018
  • Suhr, Carla. HIPs in Service Learning. Teaching at UCLA: A Symposium to Showcase
    Innovation and Inspire Excellence. University of California, Los Angeles, March 2019
  • Suhr, Carla. High Impact Practices in Spanish Community-Engaged Learning. MLA
    Convention, Seattle, January 2020. In the Panel “High Impact Practice in the Teaching of
    Romance Linguistics”