Welcome from the President!

Laura Collins
AAAL President

On behalf of the American Association for Applied Linguistics, I welcome you to our annual gathering of scholars who share an interest in language issues affecting people and the societies they live in. Conference Chair Kendall King and her University of Minnesota graduate student team have put together a terrific program of presentations and events spanning a remarkably diverse range of topics and activities. They have even included some physical activity that will get you out of the hotel to see Denver early Sunday morning (the Mile High Fun Run/Walk). Two other off-site events are a reception for AAAL attendees hosted by the University of Colorado at Denver on Sunday evening, and the Sobremesa reception on Saturday evening.

When you pick up your registration information (including the daily schedule) you will notice that this year it comes in an eco-friendly re-usable bag. Another environmentally oriented initiative is the shift to on-line program information, and the continued development of the smart-phone app to help users navigate through all of the conference offerings each day. To help you take full advantage of your time at AAAL 2020, be sure to attend one of our popular Newcomer Sessions (Friday evening at 5:30 p.m.; Saturday at noon). We also plan to offer a webinar version of the session prior to the conference.

Some other special events to highlight:  

  • the AAAL 2020 Distinguished Public Service Award Address by Tachini Pete, representing the Nkwusm Salish Language School Founders, recipients of the award, on Sunday at 10:10
  • the AAAL 2020 Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award Address by Ryuko Kubota on Monday at 2:25
  • Open meetings of the Public Affairs and Engagement Committee (PAEC) (Saturday at noon) and the newly formed Online Education and Outreach Committee (Sunday at 12:30)
  • the Grand Opening of the Publisher’s Exhibits on Saturday morning at 9:40
  • three networking/professional information sessions organized by the Graduate Student Council for student attendees on Friday evening (Meet and Greet); Saturday at noon (includes lunch) and Monday evening (includes dessert)
  • AAAL’s Opening and Closing Receptions, open to all attendees, on Saturday evening following the plenary and Tuesday afternoon, respectively

Be sure to include AAAL’s annual Business Meeting on your schedule Monday at 12:30 and to arrive early to get one of the free box lunches provided to the first 80 attendees. 

Prior to the opening plenary on Saturday evening, the 2020 recipients of the Graduate Student Award will be acknowledged. This merit-based award provides some financial support for conference attendance to the successful applicants. To continue offering the award, AAAL depends on your donations to the Fund for the Future of Applied Linguistics. Please consider donating to this fund – there will be opportunities to give in person at the conference, online, and also through online product sales.

Please fill out the on-line conference survey when you receive notification to do so. This is an important source of information for the Association; some of the changes AAAL has implemented have been in response to your invaluable feedback. These include offering different presentation formats such as round-tables and shorter papers, scheduling one of the pre-conference workshops on the final day of the conference (new for 2020),  the implementation of family friendly policies and so on. Its usefulness is enhanced by participation rate, which we are making a concerted effort to increase. We thank you in advance for taking a few moments to let us know about your experience in Denver and to offer any suggestions you may have for future conference organizers.

I would also like to acknowledge AAAL’s gratitude to the Business Office personnel, led by Sarah Berke, and including Jessica Atkinson, Ellen Shea, and Lynda Swindell. Their guidance and support are vital to the success of the conference (and indeed to the running of the association in general). If you are pleased with the service you have received from them, stop by the registration desk to tell them!

Best wishes for a stimulating experience re/connecting with people and ideas,  Looking Back and Moving Ahead at AAAL 2020 Denver!