2016 Distinguished Scholarship and Service Awardee: Dr. James Lantolf
Thursday, December 17, 2015
The Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award Committee, consisting of Carol Chapelle (Iowa State University), Christina Higgins (University of Hawaii), Joan Kelly Hall (chair, Penn State University), Aneta Pavlenko (ex officio, Temple University), and Thomas Ricento (University of Calgary), identified Dr. James P. Lantolf, Greer Professor in Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University, as the recipient of the 2016 award.
When the term sociocultural theory comes up in reference to applied linguistics, the first name that comes to mind for many of us is Jim Lantolf. Dr. Lantolf’s ability to bring Vygotskyian theories of learning (dating back to publications in the mid-1980s) into SLA theory and research has influenced multiple generations of researchers, including those he supervised as doctoral students, many of whom have gone on to major careers.
Dr. Lantolf’s contribution to knowledge in the field of applied linguistics is impressive for the number of publications, the impact of those publications, and the scope of his work, which includes research and publications that are truly applied in nature. His most recent contributions include co-authored books that relate research on SLA to pedagogical practices, including a very practical guide for teachers on the implementation of Dynamic Assessment in the language classroom. His work (with Matt Poehner, especially) on dynamic assessment is groundbreaking and will continue to revolutionize the ways that language learners’ abilities are tested. Indeed, their 2014 book, Sociocultural Theory and the Pedagogical Imperative in L2 Education (Routledge), just received the 2015 Modern Language Association Mildenberger Prize for outstanding publication in language, culture and literacy with strong applications to language teaching.
The scope and depth of Dr. Lantolf’s sustained service is clearly worthy of the award, as well. He has made tremendous contributions to AAAL through his service as second vice president, first vice president, and president, as well as a member of several other demanding committees. He was also co-editor of Applied Linguistics (Oxford University Press, 1993-1998) and is currently serving as founding editor of the journal Language and Sociocultural Theory (Equinox). In addition, Dr. Lantolf has served on the editorial board of 22 academic journals. The nominators characterized Dr. Lantolf’s impressive record by stating, “Through these offices, his editorship, and numerous less visible contributions, he has promoted the welfare and growth of the Association for more than two decades with energy and commitment.”
The award will be presented to Dr. Lantolf at our annual conference next spring.
—Junko Mori, University of Wisconsin-Madison