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News & Press: AAALetter

Remarks from outgoing Executive Committee members

Monday, March 14, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Aneta Pavlenko and Scott Jarvis will complete their terms as AAAL Executive Committee members at the annual conference. They share their reflections on their experience serving on the committee.

The AAAL presidency is a nominated position – the nomination catches you by surprise and forces you to weigh the pros (yes, it is a great honor) and the cons (yes, you will be dedicating four years of your life to the needs of your professional association). Looking back at these four years, I can honestly say that I have never – not even once! – regretted saying ‘yes’. I am deeply grateful to AAAL for the privilege of working with and learning from a visionary leader, Joan Kelly Hall, who conducted our first strategic planning, and a brilliant Managing Director, Sarah Berke, who taught me more about organization and management than I ever thought possible. It was utterly exhilarating to put together the conference I always wanted to attend and to see the members of the 2014 Conference team, Sara Kangas, Beth Hepford, and Anastasia Sorokina, not as doctoral students but as very competent and dedicated colleagues. I will greatly miss the stimulating atmosphere, good cheer and unfailing collegiality of AAAL Executive Committee meetings, where every decision was considered from all possible angles, at times in heated disagreements, yet each of us felt respected and surrounded by friends. Yet of all the joys of the past four years arguably the greatest was to see the emergence of the Graduate Student Council that became one of the most active participants and contributors to the life of the association. I revel in the knowledge that our future is in good hands.

— Aneta Pavlenko, Temple University

I became a Member-at-Large in October, 2014, when I was invited by then-President Aneta Pavlenko on behalf of the Executive Committee (EC) to fill in for someone who was unable to continue in this role due to unforeseen circumstances. At first, I was a bit hesitant to serve as the only non-elected but voting member of the EC, but the other EC members welcomed me warmly and treated me as one of their own from the very beginning. I have had the privilege of attending five EC meetings (two on-location meetings and three Skype conferences), and have greatly appreciated the opportunity it has given me to learn more about how AAAL works and to marvel at the talent and devotion of the wonderful leaders who keep it running. I am impressed with the time and effort that the EC members devote not just to the purpose of putting together a useful and engaging conference each year, but more especially to the purposes of promoting our profession, providing applied linguists with opportunities and resources to make them more productive, and building bridges between applied linguists and the people and organizations in society that need to be informed and supported by our profession. In addition to the EC, I have also had the opportunity to work closely with other great people who keep AAAL running, such as the members of the Virtual Communities Task Force and the members of the Book Award Committee. It has truly been a pleasure to work with them and, once again, to see the amount of time, effort, and talent they devote to helping the members of our profession. I would like to thank the EC members and the AAAL membership for giving me the opportunity to serve in this capacity and combine my efforts with those of other valued friends and colleagues in advancing our organization and profession.

— Scott Jarvis, Ohio University

This spring I will step down as the AAALetter editor, the position to which I was appointed in 2012. Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala (Colorado State University) has been appointed as my successor. She and I will work together to compile the June issue, and she will take over full responsibility thereafter.

During the last four years, I attended almost all the Executive Committee (EC) meetings (face-to-face or via Skype) as an ex officio, non-voting member, and have learned so much about the ins and outs of the association and best practices of organizational management, as well as current and ongoing issues in the field of applied linguistics. I join Aneta and Scott to express my sincere appreciation for the utmost passion and devotion exhibited by the EC members and the staff at the AAAL Business Office. They bring a variety of expertise and talent to the table, where careful decisions are made while keeping camaraderie. I have been lucky to be part of this operation.

According to AAAL Standing Rule 15, the purpose of the AAAL newsletter (AAALetter) is

  1. To maintain and develop the community of AAAL members.
  2. To provide a means for exchanging information between the Executive Committee (EC), Standing Committees, Graduate Student Council and the membership.

Keeping these goals in mind, we have explored ways to enhance the quality of AAALetter. I came into this role when AAAL had just begun the web-based delivery of AAALetter. Last year, we decided to increase the frequency of delivery from biannual to quarterly. We continue to ask ourselves what is the role of newsletter in the era of email, texting, and social media. Indeed, a communications strategy session to be held during the April EC meeting will provide another venue to ponder this question. I believe AAALetter will and should continue to evolve as the association grows and our mediums of communication change. As Paul mentioned in his piece, “AAAL belongs to all its members.” So, we welcome your feedback!

Last, but not least, I would like to acknowledge how much I have been supported by a number of AAAL members who have submitted their write-ups and images to all the issues delivered in the last four years. Without them my task could not have been accomplished.
Thank you, everyone!

— Junko Mori, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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