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Promotion & Tenure Guidelines
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The American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Promotion and Tenure (P&T) Guidelines are intended as an advisory point of reference endorsed by AAAL for P&T review. Applied linguistics traverses a broad range of disciplines where language is involved. We recognize that expectations and requirements differ greatly across disciplines and institutions and recommend that P&T candidates follow the guidelines of their respective institutions (e.g., University P&T guidelines, Faculty Handbook, Conditions of Faculty Service). The present guidelines are purely advisory and focused on tenure and promotion to Associate Professorship in Research I institutions in the United States. As such, they have three aims:

Our first aim is to lay out a vision for what constitutes quality research, teaching, and service in applied linguistics. We see consensus on what constitutes generation and dissemination of new knowledge as particularly crucial at the time of ongoing change, including transition to digital publishing and expansion to on-line teaching.

Our second aim is to articulate reasonable criteria and standards for evaluation of research, teaching, and service in applied linguistics. We see a great need for such professional guidelines, especially in contexts where applied linguists work in other disciplines, such as education or literature.

Our third aim is to create a document that could help graduate students and early-career scholars in the decision-making process, aid their professional development, and encourage forms of engagement that expand the presence of applied linguistics in the public domain.

We also recognize the evolving nature of applied linguistics and publishing, which necessitates ongoing updates and modifications. The wording of the P&T Guidelines shall be reviewed by the AAAL Executive Committee and, if necessary, a specially constituted taskforce, every 5 years, with the possibility of creating further recommendations focused on teaching-intensive institutions. The next scheduled review shall take place in 2019.

AAAL P&T Guidelines Taskforce


Chairs: Aneta Pavlenko, President of AAAL, and Terence Wiley, President of CAL


Members (in alphabetical order):

Dorothy Chun, University of California at Santa Barbara

Erin Kearney, State University of New York at Buffalo

Aya Matsuda, Arizona State University

Mary McGroarty, Northern Arizona University

Jeff MacSwan, University of Maryland

G. Richard Tucker, Carnegie Mellon University

Guadalupe Valdes, Stanford University

Wayne Wright, Purdue University


Download the P&T Guidelines

Table of Contents

  1. Research
    1. Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
    2. Scholarly Boons/Monographs
    3. Refereed Books Chapters
    4. Non-Refereed Articles and Book Chapters
    5. Edited Volumes
    6. Guest Edited Special Volumes
    7. Textbooks
    8. Other Types of Non-Refereed Publications
    9. Co-Authorship
    10. Grants
    11. Plenaries, keynotes, and invited lectures
    12. Conference Presentations
    13. Resources
  2. Teaching
    1. Classroom Instruction
    2. Online Teaching
    3. Jury of Peers
    4. Thesis and Dissertation Committee Work
    5. Graduate Assistant Supervision and Other Forms of Advising
    6. Development of Instructional Materials
  3. Service
    1. University Service
    2. Program Administration and Coordination
    3. Community-Based Engagement and Service
    4. National and International Service
    5. Journal Editorship
    6. Mass Media and Social Media
  4. Revision Record


In many institutions, scholarly products, such as publications and grants, are among the core activities evaluated in the promotion and tenure process. In what follows, we lay out a vision for what constitutes quality research in applied linguistics by discussing one-by-one a range of scholarly products. At the same time, we recognize that expectations and requirements differ greatly across institutions and see these guidelines as purely advisory. We recommend that reviewers focus on the overall picture of a candidate’s scholarship, including the extent to which a scholar has conducted original and rigorous research, generated and disseminated new knowledge, demonstrated consistent research engagements and established a coherent and meaningful research agenda. 

To ensure that our recommendations represent the current state of the field, in May of 2014, we distributed a survey on Promotion and Tenure (P&T) research assessment practices to AAAL members in the US and received 128 responses (16.2% response rate) from members at all ranks and a wide range of departments. The recommendations below are articulated with these responses in mind, and the scholarly products are arranged in the order of their perceived importance in the P&T process, with the terms ‘peer-reviewed’ and ‘refereed’ used as synonyms. We would like to note, however, that rather than following practices reported as common in the field (e.g., emphasis on article quantity, distinction between online and print journals), we outline what we view as best practices that aim to enhance P&T review in applied linguistics.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Peer-reviewed journal articles are the expected venue for publication in the field; books are not a requirement. Approximately 7-8 peer-reviewed articles in respected venues are an estimate of generally accepted standards of quantity for tenure and promotion in applied linguistics. The exact number, however, will vary across academic units and institutions, and the quality of the articles and their placement in journals with a rigorous peer-review process are more important than the number of articles. Assessment of journal articles commonly combines assessment of journal quality/impact and assessment of article quality/impact. We have five recommendations with regard to this assessment: (a) that throughout the emphasis should be on the quality, rather than quantity, of publications; (b) that peer-reviewed online journals should be treated similarly to traditional print journals; (c) that evaluations of journal rankings or an individual scholar’s productivity or impact should combine qualitative and quantitative assessment criteria, (d) that rather than relying on a single measure, such as the impact factor, use of two or more assessment criteria or metrics should be the norm; and (e) that publications in other languages – including revised, translated and self-translated versions of previously published work – be considered in the review process using the same criteria as English-language publications. Given current changes in journal funding, we also recommend that reliance on subventions should not be in and of itself a criterion for exclusion of the publication.

Traditional criteria for journal assessment include their peer-reviewed status, quality and stature of the editors and the editorial board, the journal's acceptance or rejection rate, and journal circulation and accessibility. The rejection rate, however, is no longer as meaningful as it used to be. In the English-speaking world, journal editors are experiencing an exponential rise in submissions, which pushes the rejection rate ever higher without changes in journal quality. The availability and accessibility of a journal is another way in which impact is commonly assessed. It is important to remember, however, that this criterion favors Open Access online journals, since the more opportunities a journal has to be accessed, the more citations are possible. Online journals and journals with both print and online versions can also keep track of page views, hits to and downloads of articles, as well as citations, all of which can be used as supporting data for assessing the impact of individual articles.

Currently, it is common for academic output to be evaluated based on a single ranking of journal impact. Journal impact is typically calculated using citation analysis (by the former Institute for Scientific Information, ISI, now known as Thomson Scientific) in its Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and Journal Citation Reports (JCR), based primarily on two variables: (1) the journal impact factor (the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past 2 years have been cited in the JCR year) and (2) the citation count (the total number of times that a journal has been cited by all journals included in the database in the JCR year). There are many reasons, however, for which impact factor alone cannot adequately determine the value of a given journal: the time between manuscript submission and publication in the field of applied linguistics often exceeds the two years used in the impact calculations, reducing the impact factor of applied linguistics journals. There is also a growing realization that not all citations are necessarily positive (and thus cannot be the determinant of quality), nor does the determination of the impact factor always take into consideration the practice of self-citation.

Concerns about the limitations of the impact factor gave rise to alternative methods of journal ranking and assessment, discussed on the website Journal Metrics (, and listed in the University of Michigan Library’s Citation Analysis Guide list of alternative sources (

  • A and R indexes
  • ERA Ranked Journal List
  • g-index
  • Google Scholar Metric
  • h-index
  • SCImago Journal & Country Rank
  • SNIP

H-index can be determined for both journals and individual researchers. For journals, the h-index of a publication is “the largest number h such that at least h articles in that publication were cited at least h times each” (  For individuals, the h-index attempts to measure both the productivity and the impact of an individual scholar’s publications, based on the scholar’s most cited papers and the number of citations they received in other publications. However, for an early-career scholar the h-index might not be particularly useful, as a work’s first citation can take years.

Two free metrics are the Source-Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) which use Scopus, perhaps the world’s largest database of academic literature, with 20,500 journals. SNIP measures contextualized citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field. SJR is a prestige metric based on the idea that “all citations are not created equal” (

For an early-career researcher in particular, altmetrics can be very useful. The use of altmetrics is based on the Social Web and analyzes scholarship based on the growth and use of new, online scholarly tools, e.g., bookmarks, links, blog posts, and tweets (

Scholarly books/monographs

Traditionally, books and monographs have provided important evidence of research and scholarly contributions to the field, although institutions vary in how these are weighed in P&T reviews. Results from the AAAL P&T survey indicated strong agreement (97%) that books and monographs are important or somewhat important but not required. Even though high quality journal publications often tend to be valued more heavily in the field, books and monographs sometimes have wider distribution and visibility. Therefore, candidates should attempt to draw attention to these factors when supporting evidence can be provided.

Based on institutional priorities, greater weight has sometimes been given to books and monographs published by university and/or other prestigious publishing houses, but these are not always the primary outlet for “new” or “innovative” research and scholarly perspectives that help to advance the field. Thus, the value of works issued by more specialized or “niche” publishers concentrating on series themes that align with major areas of applied linguistics, as well as the status of their respective series editors, should be considered.

Published reviews are also useful in providing supportive evidence of the worth and impact of books and monographs. These may be considered along with citation indices and/or information regarding the quantity of books sold. Publication of second and subsequent editions is also an important indicator of the ongoing value and staying power of contributions.  Evidence of substantial revisions should be noted.

There is increasing pressure from many publishers to expand the marketability of books and edited volumes to instructional markets. Thus, there is often pressure to include textual elements that might be found in textbooks, such as questions for discussion or recommended readings. This has resulted in publications that appear to be hybrids of scholarly books and textbooks. Candidates for promotion and tenure should attempt to explain the positioning of their work based on focus, purpose, and intended audiences in the narratives provided with their review materials to clarify when their work may be serving multiple functions at the request of the publisher.

Refereed book chapters

Refereed book chapters may appear in research or policy handbooks as well as other major edited collections that are focused around defining or contributing to salient issues in the field. The considerations regarding juried book publication (above) are generally relevant to the publication of book chapters. Based on the AAAL P&T survey, there is strong agreement (89%) that book chapters in edited volumes that have gone through blind review are important or somewhat important.

In the narratives provided with their review materials, P&T candidates should attempt to explain the positioning of their chapters in the volumes in which they are published, in a fashion similar to what was noted above for books and monographs, based on focus, purpose, and intended audiences. Evidence for the weight or impact of chapter contributions may be derived in part from the impact of the volumes in which they are published and in part from the citation record.  Increasingly, edited volumes are composed of chapters that are being published in both hard copy and electronic formats. The tendency to publish in the latter format may allow for some individual chapters to have greater weight than the volume or other chapters in the collection.

Non-refereed articles and book chapters

Non-refereed articles and book chapters and other materials are generally given less value by P&T committees at most institutions. These materials are varied and may include (1) state-of-the-art literature reviews; (2) chapters in books and handbooks edited by major scholars in the field; (3) work invited by policy-making bodies at moments in which specific issues are before the public; and (4) articles directed at practitioners, published in teacher-oriented publications and not subjected to a rigorous peer-review process. This category can include papers commissioned by national bodies (e.g., National Academy of Education, Council of Chief State Officers, MLA Special Committees), by professional organizations (e.g., TESOL White Papers, state associations), and by foundations. Because important theoretical and practical contributions can be made by applied linguists through such materials, we recommend that early-career scholars carefully document the intended audience for each of their non-refereed publications, the circumstances that led to the writing of a particular publication (e.g., the impending implementation of new language standards development), the status of the individuals who invited such a contribution, what the invitation reveals about the status of the early-career scholar in the field, and finally the relevance of the work to the field of applied linguistics and, where possible, its impact on policies and practices. We further recommend that P&T committees be made aware that invitations by prominent scholars to produce state-of-the-art and practice-and-policy-relevant publications, reports, and handbook chapters are themselves a type of peer review.

Edited volumes

Editing or co-editing volumes on cutting-edge issues in the field is another form of scholarly contribution that is common in applied linguistics. To assess volume quality, P&T committees commonly consider the stature of the publisher, the stature of series editors (if applicable), the stature of the contributors, and book reviews. To enhance the quality of both edited volumes and their assessment, we recommend that volume editors carry out a blind peer-review of the contributions and do not hesitate to require extensive revisions and to reject contributions that do not address the required revisions. In the narratives accompanying tenure and promotion submission, we recommend that early-career scholars document the purpose and intended audience of the publication, the amount of work spent on editing and peer-review, and the impact of the work (e.g., course adoptions).

Guest-edited special issues

Some early-career scholars may guest-edit special journal issues, either by invitation from the editors or through positive review of the special issue proposal. In applied linguistics, as in other fields, such invitations are evidence of the scholars' visibility in the field, of the impact and high quality of their work, and of the editors' respect for their work. To ensure that all publications in the special issue could count as peer-reviewed articles, we recommend that the editors carry out a double-blind peer-review and do not hesitate to require extensive revisions and to reject contributions that do not address the required revisions. Assessment of guest-edited special issues is commonly based on the stature of the journal. To ensure that this contribution to the field is properly assessed, we recommend documenting the circumstances that accompanied the invitation (e.g., invitation from the editor(s), review of the proposal), the amount of work undertaken in the editorial process (e.g., coordination of the double-blind peer-review, additional review by the editors), and the contribution and impact of the work (e.g., through citations to the issue and individual articles).


Institutions vary in whether they view creation of instructional materials, and in particular textbook authorship, as research or teaching accomplishment. Applied linguists may produce two types of textbooks: (1) textbooks on topics in applied linguistics and second language acquisition and (2) textbooks for the teaching of particular languages.  In the first case, textbook authorship may be considered in the research portfolio. If the audience for the book is graduate students and if it demonstrates expertise in applied linguistics and second language acquisition, a textbook should be assessed as a book (see guidelines above). In the second case, textbooks may be assessed in the teaching portfolio (for guidelines on evaluation of instructional materials see the Teaching section). Yet language textbooks may also make fundamental contributions to the field when providing alternative conceptualizations of instruction, sequencing of elements, specific practices, and other elements that can be examined and evaluated by other researchers. To ensure proper assessment of such materials, we recommend that early-career scholars include textbook reviews, course adoption information, and a narrative that makes evident the theoretical and pedagogical perspectives of their work and the unique contributions of the materials to both the theory and practice of language teaching and learning.

Other types of non-refereed publications

Early-career scholars should also be aware that some non-refereed forms of publication are not likely to count as research in the P&T process. Among these are conference proceedings, which are becoming rare in the US, but are still common in international contexts. Similarly, short encyclopedia entries and book reviews are evidence of service to the profession but may not count in most institutions as evidence of research. Applied linguistics-related blogs and other forms of professional participation in social media are not likely to count in the P&T process, and, if and when considered, they are most likely to be treated as service.


In many institutions, single-authored publications are valued more than co-authored ones. We would like to note, however, that co-authorship is very common in the field: in the period from 2002 to 2006, 35-40% of all articles published in what the authors saw as top ten journals in applied linguistics were co-authored (Anderson & Lord, 2008). In contexts where co-authorship is not common (e.g., literature departments), we recommend that junior scholars include an explanatory narrative, outlining the rationales for co-authorship and their role or the percentage of contribution to the work.


At most research institutions, funding is seen as an independent measure of an early-career scholar’s stature in the field. Receiving funding through a peer-reviewed process, from a funding agency or foundation makes a very strong statement about an early-career scholar's work and makes evident that established senior scholars have deemed that research of sufficient quality to qualify for a limited pool of research funding in the scholar’s area of expertise. Having said this, we would like to note that applied linguistics is not a grant-based field: on the one hand, there are few agencies that prioritize funding applied linguistics research and, on the other, many types of applied linguistics research are low-cost from a funding perspective, with little to no investment required besides the researcher's time. As a consequence, we recommend that P&T committees be made aware of the status of grants in the field and take into consideration not only securing and managing grants but also the pursuit of independent funding. Early-career scholars should carefully document all proposals and grants that they submit, that are funded, and that are pending at the time of review. Even when proposals are not funded, a list of proposals submitted offers P&T committees an activity profile that establishes the candidate’s willingness to compete for funding. Furthermore, we recommend that departments that have little experience with grants use guidelines for evaluating efforts at obtaining funding that can assist them in their deliberations.

Plenaries, keynotes, and invited lectures

Plenaries, keynotes and invited lectures constitute important evidence of the researcher’s status in the field and the impact of their work. To enable the reviewers to judge such contributions to the field appropriately the candidate should provide sufficient information about the venue and the number and type of attendees and impact.

Conference presentations

While institutions may vary with regard to importance assigned to conference presentations in the P&T review, in applied linguistics refereed conference presentations constitute an important form of participation in a scholarly dialog and a valuable means of soliciting research feedback, and, therefore, are viewed very favorably. Evaluation of conference presentations should take into consideration the quality of the venues at which the work is presented and the scholar’s efficiency, namely whether presentations were followed by publications. Respected conferences in the field include meetings of applied linguistics associations, such as AAAL and AILA, meetings of associations dedicated to second and foreign language education, such as ACTFL, CALICO, and TESOL, second language acquisition conferences, such as SLRF and EuroSLA, conferences dedicated to bi- and multilingualism, such as the International Symposium on Bilingualism, and conferences in related fields, such as AAA, AERA, LSA, IPrA, and the Sociolinguistics Symposium. There are also many well-respected conferences on specialty area topics, such as the Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) or the conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL). The size of the conference and the number of conference attendees should not be used as an independent criterion in evaluation of conference presentations because smaller specialized conferences and roundtable meetings are of great importance in the field. To assist in assessment of the quality of the venue, early-career scholars could provide data on the length of the abstracts submitted for peer-review, the rigor of the peer-review procedure, rejection rate, and the format of the presentation. Additional data could include information on the reputation of the association and/or institution organizing the conference, conference attendance and the impact of the presentation. Organization of invited colloquia is viewed as particularly prestigious in the field, followed by participation in invited colloquia and refereed colloquia. Both organization and invited participation provide evidence of the scholar’s status in the field. Other forms of participation include presentation of single or co-authored conference papers, presentation of posters and participation in round tables.


  • Anderson, L. L., & Lord, G. (2008). Coauthoring: What every department should know. ADFL Bulletin 39 (2 & 3), 49-55.
  • Egbert, J. (2007). Quality analysis of journals in TESOL and applied linguistics. TESOL Quarterly  41(1), 157-171.
  • Smith, B., & Lafford, B. A. (2009). The evaluation of CALL scholarly activity. Modern Language Journal 93(s1), 868-883.
  • VanPatten, B., & Williams, J. (2002). Research criteria for tenure in second language acquisition: Results from a survey of the field. Unpublished manuscript, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.


Teaching, instruction, advising, and mentoring are typically among the core activities evaluated in promotion and tenure reviews. They are part of an ongoing process of socializing students into an academic culture that fosters an appreciation for research, critical inquiry, self-reflection, and discovery. They are carried out both within and outside the domain of formal classroom instruction. Thus, they encompass direct instruction, as well as group- and individually-directed learning, academic advising, and supervised research, all of which contribute to the professional socialization of students and future faculty. The weighting of these activities in the review process often varies depending on whether the primary missions of various institutions or academic units are defined primarily as teaching- or research-related. Because there are various ways in which teaching and mentoring-related activities can be documented, we encourage P&T candidates to carefully review the criteria of their respective institutions and units.

Classroom instruction

Classroom instruction is commonly evaluated on the basis of student course evaluations but most institutions encourage the use of multiple indicators, which AAAL believes is necessary and beneficial. Institutions vary in terms of how much weight is given to course evaluations and regarding whether student comments are included along with numerical evaluations of the instructor’s performance. When possible, it is useful to provide comparative data for courses of similar type within the academic unit, school or college. Other common types of supporting evidence may include a statement of the instructor’s teaching philosophy, examples of course syllabi and/or lesson plans, instructional materials and examples of students’ coursework. When allowable, a narrative that explains and guides evaluators through supporting documents is useful.

Online teaching

Online teaching commonly requires more intensive lead-time for course preparation than traditional instruction. AAAL recommends that tenure-track assistant professors who develop new online courses should be provided appropriate technical support and, where appropriate, supported by appropriate release from other activities during the development phase.  Online courses should be designed to permit both effective communication of course content and ample opportunity for student-faculty interaction and feedback around course content.  Hence, enrollment caps associated with online courses should not exceed those associated with in-person courses at an institution. In the interest of maintaining integrity and faculty control of the university curriculum, online teaching materials, like teaching materials generally, should be regarded as the intellectual property of faculty and fully under their control.  Only the author of course materials loaded in an online course shell can authorize their redistribution and use by others, generate derivative works, or determine their continued fitness for use.

Jury of peers

Some institutions also allow, or require, peer reviews of instruction. AAAL strongly encourages this practice and sees it as particularly important in the case of applied linguists working in departments and programs in other fields (e.g., literature). In the spirit of ensuring that one is evaluated by a jury of peers, it is strongly recommended that chairs invite ‘peers’ of the candidate from other departments or programs to serve on the committee that puts together and presents the case. In the same vein, when a candidate’s teaching is evaluated by a ‘peer’, the peer should be an expert in the candidate’s field (e.g., language pedagogy) and not simply a departmental member who knows the language.

Thesis and dissertation committee work

The work of faculty guiding student thesis and dissertation research is a valuable and important teaching activity. AAAL recommends faculty be recognized for and receive credit for this teaching service, especially for committee chairs who typically spend substantial amounts of time meeting one-on-one with students, reading and providing feedback on multiple drafts of students’ work, and helping students prepare for oral defenses. Applied linguists are also frequently tapped as external committee members, based on their specialized expertise, by students from other departments and colleges in their own institutions, and by students from colleges and universities across the country and around the world. Such external work expands faculty teaching opportunities beyond their immediate students and helps to establish the academic reputation of their home institution. Some institutions may count external work as teaching and others as service. Regardless of how it is counted, tenure and promotion committees, and faculty members themselves, should consider the amount of time spent by the faculty member on external advising and mentoring, as well as the quality and reputations of the external students’ institutions.

Graduate assistant supervision and other forms of advising and mentoring

Working with faculty as teaching and research assistants provides a rich learning and mentoring opportunity for graduate students. AAAL recommends that faculty be recognized for and receive credit for this valuable teaching experience. Faculty efforts may be documented through the amount of time spent meeting with graduate assistants and evaluations of the assistants’ teaching and/or research work. The quality of their teaching/mentoring may be evidenced by the assistant’s success in teaching, receipt of teaching fellowships or awards, success in conference presentations and co-authored publications resulting from their research assistant work.  Faculty members should also receive recognition for offering professional development workshops to students and for efforts to involve students in professional organizations, research, grant-writing activities, conferences, formal presentations, and publications.

Development of instructional materials

Depending on the nature of the courses, and, where relevant, the language taught, development of instructional materials may constitute an important aspect of one’s teaching responsibilities. Candidates for promotion and tenure should carefully review the guidelines of their respective institutions (e.g., Faculty Handbook, Conditions of Faculty Service) that outline whether and how materials development should be recognized. The status of these materials varies by institution and some types of material development, such as textbook authoring, may also qualify as research. To determine whether and how related efforts should be recognized as part of teaching responsibilities in personnel reviews, AAAL offers the following recommendations:  

  1. Define what counts as development. In the case of Less Commonly Taught Languages, a faculty member may generate an entire curriculum, plan course syllabi, and produce teaching materials. Other relevant activities involve authoring textbooks; development of companion websites and online support materials, such as quizzes and other assessments; and designing, creating, and publishing artifacts such as oral histories, interviews, and community newsletters as part of innovative service-learning projects.
  2. Determine how the quality of resulting materials can be assessed. Identification of criteria for assessing the quality of materials is essential. Such evidence could include
    1. comments from additional instructors and/or students using the materials, at one’s own institution or elsewhere;
    2. for materials that are later published, the reviews sought by publishers;
    3. actual empirical assessments of the learning outcomes (variously defined) of classes using the new materials as contrasted with comparison groups;
    4. studies having a longitudinal orientation, that track students using the new materials as they enter later courses, either language courses or courses in a related area, etc.
    All of these types of evidence aim, in one way or another, at making instructional efforts and their impact on students tangible and reviewable by others.
    There is one more materials-related concern we wish to note:

  3. Respecting legal/ethical aspects of materials development and use. All faculty members, including early-career scholars, should be aware of the legal and ethical concerns surrounding the preparation and use of teaching materials by their students. Legal matters include knowing the basics of ‘fair use’ of copyrighted material for instruction in the country where one teaches.  Ethical concerns extend to knowing what is appropriate if students are required to purchase a published textbook, or other materials their instructor has authored: (a) do one’s own students qualify for a discounted purchase price? (this may depend in part on the publisher); (b) is it reasonable for the author to donate royalties [if there are any] from sales to his/her students to a scholarship fund? Related matters of public perception may need to be addressed and can be particularly salient in public universities where legislators and members of the general public hold strong (if unfounded) beliefs that faculty members who write required textbooks subsequently garner outsized profits from students or families.


University service

In the field of applied linguistics, there is a strong expectation that all faculty members, including early-career faculty, will be involved in university-based service.  Initially, this may take the form of department- or program-based service (e.g., serving on a planning committee for an upcoming event, serving on a search committee for a new faculty member, serving on a curriculum committee for the applied linguistics master’s or doctoral program, etc.).  With passing time, there will be the expectation that faculty serve on university-wide committees as well (e.g., a Study Abroad Advisory committee, an International Student Advisory Committee, a General Education Curriculum Committee, etc.).  With promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor, there will be increasing expectations that the faculty member serve on departmental or college reappointment and promotion committees and that the faculty member assume a more prominent role in the life of the university (e.g., by running for election to Faculty Senate). Graduate students upon beginning full time post-dissertation employment are often dismayed by the service expectations that their departments have for them.  We believe that graduate students should be gradually introduced to service by their departments (e.g., by being invited to participate regularly in all department meetings, by serving on the search committee for new faculty, by serving on a department’s Long Range Planning Committee, etc.).  In this way, they will both participate in service activities and have the opportunity to observe firsthand the activities in which junior faculty members are participating.

Program administration and coordination

Applied linguists commonly serve as directors or coordinators of foreign language, English as a Second Language (ESL), International Teaching Assistant (ITA), Teacher Education, and Composition/Writing programs.  In some universities, these may be separate full-time administrative positions, in others they may be compensated with a stipend or a course release, and yet in others they are treated as service.  In recognition of the extremely time-consuming nature of these positions, we recommend that they be (a) treated as ‘administrative responsibilities’, distinct from service,  (b) compensated with stipends or course reductions, and (c) evaluated through specifically designed criteria that ensure rigor and accountability.  The recognition of the unique nature of such positions should find reflections in university documents, such as Conditions of Faculty Service, that specify tenure requirements, and in the initial descriptions of the percentages of time allocations for faculty positions that include such work.

Community-based engagement and service

Community-based work is also an important component of service activities for applied linguists because it allows us to become embedded in a local community and to connect to local teachers, political leaders and other community groups which we may not come across otherwise. Some of these tasks may have a formal designation, such as a board member or a consultant for school or other organizations, while others may involve more informal arrangements such as volunteering as an interpreter at a local hospital and other language-related projects. In some disciplines, this type of service is perceived merely as a nice community work that helps the “town-and-gown” relationship, but for applied linguists, who are interested in working with the “real world” language issues, it is more than that. Applied linguists have made important contributions to local communities through many different types of service, such as working with endangered languages or providing expert testimony in the courtroom. In turn, community-embedded service gives us insights into local language issues and related matters (e.g., politics, racial tensions in the community), which inform our scholarship, teaching, and other services (for the university or professional organization). The network we develop through such community-based work often turns into a valuable network for our future research, and the “service” sites often turn into our next “research” sites (something critical for junior faculty who are expected to quickly establish a new research site near their place of employment, which is often far from the sites they were working at as graduate students). Community-based service may also lead to interaction with leaders in the school or community, with whom we can engage in a collaborative dialog, develop deeper understandings of language issues, and apply our expertise in applied linguistics to bring real changes in the community. Some of these responsibilities can be too overwhelming for graduate students and junior faculty, and it is always important to carefully select only what is manageable. When these services are selected mindfully, they can provide exciting opportunities for our growth as teachers and scholars.

National and international service

The expectation that applied linguists will engage in service in national and/or international contexts is one that usually grows over time.  In the early stages of their careers, faculty members will probably concentrate on university-based and community-based service but gradually over time they will be encouraged to expand their outreach to national or international organizations (e.g., by serving as reviewers for conference presentations and/or peer-reviewed journals, by serving on standing committees of organizations such as the state applied linguistics association, AAAL or AILA, or by running for elected office within these organizations).  Graduate students also have increasing opportunities to serve at the national level (e.g., helping with the planning or implementation of conferences such as SLRF, or serving on committees such as the AAAL Graduate Student Council). Organization of national and international conferences, in particular, represents a very valuable and time-consuming type of service to the field and should be recognized appropriately.

Journal editorship  

In some universities, journal editorships are considered to be "professional activities" rather than "service," but regardless of the category, this function is beneficial both for the profession and for the individual scholar. Since the field of applied linguistics is a "journal" field rather than a "book" field, publications in peer-reviewed journals are one of the primary types of evidence of scholarship. Journal editors provide a tremendous service to the field and bring the editor's institution added prestige. Although such positions are very time-consuming, editors play an important role in shaping the field, in discerning cutting edge research, and in nurturing authors. In recognition of the time-consuming nature of this work and the prestige it brings to the home institution, some institutions provide editors with support in the form of time release and/or graduate editorial assistants, with the added benefit of professional development for developing graduate student researchers.

Mass media and social media

We also believe in recognizing the service of applied linguists who reach out to the general public, be it in person, through public talks, or via mass media and social media, in the form of newspaper articles, interviews, YouTube presentations, blogs and Wikipedia entries that ‘translate’ applied linguistics research for lay audiences and invite the public to engage in a dialog with scholars about applied linguistics issues. Since the internet, and in particular Wikipedia, are often the general public's main point of entry on many topics, we encourage greater engagement on the part of the applied linguistics community in expanding the presence of applied linguistics in the public domain. We view this engagement as an important service to the profession and encourage faculty members to make participation in the social media (e.g., editing and updating of the Wiki pages) part of the graduate curriculum. We also encourage departments and programs to recognize the service that raises the level of public awareness of and discourse on language-related issues and enhances the presence of applied linguistics in 21st century media.

Revision Record

Approved, with modifications, by the AAAL Executive Committee March 2015:
•    President: Aneta Pavlenko, Temple University
•    First Vice President: Paul Kei Matsuda, Arizona State University
•    Second Vice President: Kathleen Bailey, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
•    Immediate Past President: Joan Kelly Hall, The Pennsylvania State University
•    Secretary/Treasurer: Jeff Connor-Linton, Georgetown University (term ends March 2017)
•    Member at Large: Laura Collins, Concordia University, Montreal (term ends March 2015)
•    Member at Large: Scott Jarvis, Ohio University (term ends March 2016)
•    Member at Large: Lucy Pickering, Texas A&M-Commerce (term ends March 2017)
•    Ex-Officio, AAALetter Editor: Junko Mori, University of Wisconsin-Madison (term ends March 2017

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