AAALetter - January 2019

AAALetter ,

Volume 30, Number 3

Table of Contents

  1. From the AAALetter Editor
    It is with great pleasure that I introduce our first issue of the 2019 AAALetter! Please, take the time to read the various contributions and encourage colleagues and students to do so as well. Read More.

  2. From the President
    I hope your new year is off to a good start. AAAL has been very busy this year with some new initiatives. First, my sincere thanks to the Ad Hoc Mentoring Diversity Committee for their outstanding work putting together recommendations for how AAAL can augment its mentoring activities to foster greater diversity in the association and our field. Read More.

  3. An Open Letter Regarding Diversity in AAAL
    In April of 2013, AAAL passed a ‘Resolution Affirming Commitment to Promoting Diversity’. This resolution affirms that “diversity with respect to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, (dis)ability, and linguistic background is an asset within our community and a source of learning and opportunity,” and asserts the organization’s obligations to “make concerted efforts to promote diversity at all levels of the conference, the organization and in the field of applied linguistics." Read More.

  4. From 1st VP and Conference Chair

    With just weeks to go before AAAL 2019 Atlanta begins, the conference planning team is putting the final touches on the program and fine-tuning the schedule of presentations and events that will make up this year’s annual conference. Read More.

  5. From ARAL Editors
    We are excited to announce the upcoming (2019) volume of the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, which will be on the topic of Technology in Applied Linguistics Research. Read More.

  6. News from CAL—The Center for Applied Linguistics Celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2019
    In 2019, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) will mark the 60th anniversary of its founding. This milestone presents a unique opportunity to focus renewed attention on the significant role of language and culture in today’s global society. Read More.

  7. From the Member at Large
    At the October meeting, the Executive Committee also took some steps to make the conference more family-friendly in response to request from members.  Specifically, we are explicitly stating that members may bring minors to the conference. Read More.

  8. From the Public Affairs & Engagement Committee (PAEC)—Collaborating for Social Changes
    The Public Affairs & Engagement Committee (PAEC) is a AAAL standing committee that was formed in December 2016 that provides “an important means by which AAAL members can bring their collective expertise to bear on issues of social importance and inform public debate by speaking to issues of social and professional relevance” (AAAL Standing Rules). Read More.

  9. From the Graduate Student Council (GSA)—The AAAL GSC Continues its Mission: Webinar and YouTube Series
    As one of the AAAL GSC’s main goals is to serve all graduate students, we have been working diligently to uphold our mission by organizing various events to help support our graduate students in their academic and professional development. Read More.

  10. From Resolutions
    The resolution process is an important means by which AAAL members can make their voices heard on issues internal to AAAL’s governance and operations. Read More.


From the AAALetter Editor—Fabiola P. Ehlers-Zavala

It is with great pleasure that I introduce our first issue of the 2019 AAALetter! Please, take the time to read the various contributions and encourage colleagues and students to do so as well.

In this issue, President Linda Harklau shares the highlights of our Executive Committee (EC) this past year. Of particular importance is the open letter that addresses the efforts on the topic of diversity on the part of the EC. Her piece illustrates our efforts to address the membership’s concerns in the areas of diversity and inclusion. Our 1st VP and Conference Chair, Laura Collins, also brings to our attention some of the great presentations we will enjoy at our upcoming conference. Together with her conference team, Laura has put together a fabulous and dynamic program and, in her piece, you will also get to meet her team who has contributed to make it all possible for us. 

Of much importance as well is the contribution of the editors of ARAL! In their piece, they introduce their upcoming volume and share their concrete efforts to provide greater access to published materials. Also, in this issue you will read about CAL’s 60th anniversary! So please, join me in celebrating their accomplishments and significant milestone! Happy 6Oth, CAL! 

Also, I would like to encourage you to help us disseminate the work of PAEC and our GSC. As you read their contributions to our present issue, you will see how each group offers terrific opportunities for professional involvement at all stages of our careers. Getting involved in their work as a member or supporter of their initiatives, we are all contributing to providing our membership with many resources for professional growth! Each group is working to make a difference in our field, so if you see them at our upcoming conference, please join us in saying thank you for their efforts. 

Finally, I want to conclude my introduction to our issue with a congratulatory note to all the various award recipients as well as finalists. To see the results, click on the following award name: Dissertation AwardDistinguished Scholarship and Service Award, Distinguished Public Service Award, and Research Article Award. AAAL is honored to have an opportunity to publicly recognize the achievements and contributions of many of our colleagues, and wants to wish all the best to them and to everyone who contributes to our profession in diverse ways each day.

Have a great 2019!


From the President—Linda Harklau

I hope your new year is off to a good start. AAAL has been very busy this year with some new initiatives.

First, my sincere thanks to the Ad Hoc Mentoring Diversity Committee (Peter De Costa, Chair; Andrea Revesz; Luke Plonsky; Usree Bhattacharya; Carolina Bernales; Dustin Crowther; student Rayoung Song, Christina Ponzio, Jason Mizell, and Michael Amory) for their outstanding work putting together recommendations for how AAAL can augment its mentoring activities to foster greater diversity in the association and our field. Dr. De Costa has graciously agreed to serve as Chair for a new committee that is already at work overseeing the permanent implementation of conference mentoring activities initiated last year by Past-President Kathi Bailey. Look on the AAAL website and social media for more details on this program soon. The Executive Committee (EC) will also take up recommendations for mentoring activities outside of the conference at its next meeting in March. In another effort, Peter De Costa and Jason Mizell are organizing a new social event for scholars, students, and community members from underrepresented and minoritized backgrounds to be held at a local restaurant, Alma Cocina, on the evening of Friday, March 8th.

At our October meeting, the EC also took some steps to make the conference more family-friendly. We have made it easier for parents with accompanying minors to attend and will be providing a lactation space for nursing mothers. A task force led by Luke Plonsky is developing further ideas.

I am also very happy to announce that we have instituted a scaled fee structure for conference registration. The new structure addresses growing socioeconomic inequalities for scholars in high and low-income countries. It also addresses wage gaps between tenure-track faculty and the increasing numbers of adjunct and contingent faculty in our field. Please vote this summer for a bylaws change that is necessary for us to implement the same graded fee structure for our membership dues.

The EC has been discussing how conference hotel contracts are constructed, and I wanted to share a couple of insights that you may not know. First, we have learned that hotels will not rent us conference space directly. Instead, they provide meeting rooms at a nominal cost in exchange for a promise that our members will stay in the conference hotel for a certain number of nights. Therefore, before you check AirBnB or Expedia, please consider staying at the conference hotel if you can. It is not only more convenient, but you are also directly supporting AAAL and keeping conference registration fees low. Also, we are often asked why AAAL does not provide more food at conference events. The short answer is: it is extremely expensive. As an example, each box lunch provided at last year’s business meeting cost a whopping $67. Thus, adding a single catered event could drive up conference registration fees. Finally, we learned that conference hotel contract prices are very sensitive to current economic conditions and have risen steeply in recent years. This will eventually be reflected in higher registration fees. In all, AAAL’s leadership takes stewardship of your registration fees seriously and works hard to keep registration costs affordable and to minimize costs. We feel strongly that this is an issue of diversity and equity; a less expensive conference makes the conference more accessible to participants from low-income backgrounds including students and scholars from lower-income countries.

Special thanks and recognition are due this year to Laura Collins. In addition to her weighty responsibilities as 1st Vice President and Conference Chair, she has also simultaneously had the big job of rolling out AAAL’s new online proposal system. She and her conference team have spent endless hours this year working with the system provider and our business office staff to establish new procedures and iron out glitches.

Finally, serving as President has made me very mindful of how many members give their time to serve on our committees. AAAL’s continued success as a professional association depends on the dedication of these volunteers, so I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all of your efforts and thank you.


An Open Letter Regarding Diversity in AAAL

To: AAAL Membership
From: AAAL Executive Committee
Date: January 20, 2019

In April of 2013, AAAL passed a ‘Resolution Affirming Commitment to Promoting Diversity’. This resolution affirms that “diversity with respect to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, (dis)ability, and linguistic background is an asset within our community and a source of learning and opportunity,” and asserts the organization’s obligations to “make concerted efforts to promote diversity at all levels of the conference, the organization and in the field of applied linguistics." In April of 2017, a group of applied linguistics scholars sent a letter to the AAAL’s Executive Committee expressing their concern that the Association was not adequately upholding aspects of the resolution. The Executive Committee took these scholars’ concerns very seriously. We are fully committed to fostering diversity in the broadest sense, and see supporting equity, in particular with respect to the development of the next generation of applied linguistics scholars, as a crucial part of our mission.  This letter affirms our association’s commitment to honoring diversity and promoting inclusivity. Here we update our membership on the initiatives that we have implemented in recent years, and will continue to take in the years ahead, in line with the 2013 resolution.

As an initial step, in the summer of 2017, the Executive Committee (EC) appointed a task force led by Past-President Professor Kathi Bailey (Middlebury Institute of International Studies). Part of this task force’s work was to gather further input from the letter writers. Concurrently, AAAL conducted a survey of our entire membership regarding diversity, soliciting both ideas and opinions. Based largely on these task force recommendations and survey results, the EC then appointed an ad hoc committee, chaired by Professor Peter De Costa (Michigan State University), to examine how AAAL could implement specific programs to foster diversity and inclusion with an emphasis on growing and mentoring new scholars in the field. The EC took further actions as a result of the ad hoc committee’s recommendations at our October 2018 meeting. These ongoing initiatives are discussed in detailed below.

Issues of diversity within AAAL are enmeshed in broader inequalities and systematic inequities in our field, in academia, and in society. As one means to address these challenges, we have focused strategically on mentoring initiatives that will nurture, mentor and welcome graduate students and early career faculty from many backgrounds. As an example of such one effort to formalize these opportunities, in 2018, Professor Bailey instituted a “Conference Connections” mentoring program through which graduate students were paired with senior scholars to discuss their work and participate informally in social networks. More than 75 individuals participated in this program in Chicago, which emphasized pairing emergent and established researchers based on shared research interests. Based on the success of this program,  we have convened an ad hoc committee that will establish a mechanism to organize this event on a continuing basis. In addition, with the support of our outstanding and highly committed Graduate Student Council (GSC) volunteers, we have also instituted a Friday evening “meet and greet” event for graduate student attendees, which aims to welcome new participants and allow for informal networking. In December 2018 the GSC hosted a webinar on “Navigating Academia as a Minority Scholar,” and diversity will be a topic in their new YouTube channel. At the 2019 conference Jason Mizell (University of Georgia) and Professor Peter De Costa are piloting a social event specifically for graduate students from minority and underrepresented backgrounds. In addition, with the aim of allowing more graduate students to attend the annual conference, we have also changed Graduate Student Award funding so that awardee financial need is taken into account.  And finally, with the aim of growing the next generation of applied linguists, Mr. Mizell is also piloting an initiative in which high school students from minoritized and underrepresented backgrounds in the Atlanta area will attend the AAAL conference with the aim of sparking their interest in the field and academic research more broadly.

The EC has taken concrete changes to assure that our leadership is held accountable for considering diversity in all its activities. As one example, we have changed the language across our Standing Rules to require consideration of the Diversity Resolution in selecting nominees for leadership posts, including conference strand coordinators, conference proposal reviewers, and awards. In addition, as part of their semi-annual reports to the EC regarding upcoming conference plans, the 1st Vice President/Conference Chair and 2nd Vice President will be required to explain how their plans address the Diversity Resolution. In addition, at our October 2018 EC meeting, we created a new initiative to task AAAL’s Secretary, currently Professor Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala (Colorado State), with monitoring diversity in all association activities. Diversity initiatives will be a permanent agenda item at all future EC meetings and will be a standard feature in all AAAL newsletters to come; a special interactive area is also under development for our website.

The Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (ARAL), the official journal of AAAL, led by Editor in Chief Alison Mackey (Georgetown University), has also changed dramatically under her editorship since 2015. Important changes include significant updates and additions to the Editorial Board membership, where diversity was one of the factors considered, and the creation of two new types of articles: a short reports section, and a student contribution slot. These aim to better reflect the contributions of junior scholars, as well as the membership of AAAL and the interests of the field of applied linguistics in general. Current ARAL initiatives include reaching out to the editors of the applied linguistics journals and associations in other countries with the goal of including a web entry on interesting papers being published around the world to help our readers gain a more inclusive take on applied linguistics. ARAL content aims to both reflect and cultivate the increasing diversity in our field. For example, the 2018 issue on International Language Learning, includes contributions from scholars of color, from scholars based in/studying Muslim-majority countries, from African scholars, and from those studying ancestral languages, the Dominican Republic, and ethnic-minority (African-American) students in China. The 2019 issue on technology includes discussion of access to technology in the context of social justice. The 2020 anniversary issue will include a piece discussing the lack of representation and diversity in ARAL directly, and the challenges and promises of moving ahead. As some readers know, ARAL is owned and controlled by Cambridge University Press, not AAAL, and AAAL nominates only two of the Board’s ten editorial board members. However, Professor Mackey reports that Cambridge University Press has been very supportive of her efforts and those of the editorial board to make the journal more inclusive and to address concerns about diversity in our field.

AAAL’s goal of promoting diversity also encompasses the need to develop policies that are sensitive to geographic and socioeconomic inequities, especially in light of the changing structure of academia under regimes of neoliberal globalization. These shifts have lead to increased wealth inequalities between high- and low-income countries as well as income inequalities within and across U.S. universities as the number of tenure-track positions shrinks and non-tenured, adjunct and part-time faculty positions become the norm. Given these unfortunately widening geographic and socioeconomic gaps, in October 2018 the EC instituted a new income-based structure for conference registration, and will be proposing a change in our by-laws to institute similar changes in our membership dues. Under this new structure, scholars from many “global South” low-income countries and those who are in contingent or adjunct faculty positions will pay far less for membership and conference registration. Although roll-out is in initial stages, we are proud to have set in place this progressive fee structure.

AAAL is also establishing policies to more actively track and monitor racial and ethnic  diversity within its membership. This year we will begin eliciting demographic data from all new and renewing members.  The EC has had extensive discussion on how best to do this.   Given that conventional U.S.-based demographic categories such as “Black” or “Asian” have been justifiably critiqued as simplistic, essentializing and stereotyping, use of them by AAAL would reify, reinscribe and further normalize them. These categories are also confusing and inappropriate for the 25% of our membership who live and work in very different societal contexts outside the U.S. Moreover, we recognize that identities are intersectional, encompassing not only race and ethnicity, but also gender, social class, religion, among other dimensions. Accordingly, we will add an item to our membership form this year asking new and renewing members to self-define the categories they affiliate with.

Fostering diversity also includes making our conference more friendly to families and those with special needs. Based on member feedback, at the 2019 conference we will institute new policies to provide lactation space for nursing mothers and to make accommodations for conference participants with accompanying minors. We have also appointed a task force to explore additional family friendly policies in AAAL.  We are also exploring ways in which we can move beyond basic compliance with the ADA and ensure full and equal access and participation for individuals with disabilities.

Our entire membership has a role to play in nurturing a culture of diversity, inclusion and equity. We note that only approximately half of the original letter signatories were members of AAAL. We understand that this may be a chicken-and-egg conundrum; some might not currently be participating in AAAL because they do not feel welcomed or that the organization adequately addresses their professional needs. Nevertheless, we strongly urge all AAAL stakeholders to join the association. We can all have a more powerful voice and  be more effective change agents as active members, participants, and volunteers in the association. We emphasize that AAAL is led entirely by volunteer service of members on many different committees. The organization depends upon scholars at all stages being willing to take on some of the many opportunities for service, volunteering and leadership.

Again, we thank members who shared their concerns with us, and all of those who provided input to the Executive Committee. Of course, there is always more to be done, but we hope these actions show how seriously we take the commitment to fostering greater diversity and social equality within the organization and beyond. We are also hopeful that the many varied activities we have initiated over the past year and a half will lead to an association culture where diversity, inclusion, and transparency are always understood as central considerations in activities and leadership.

Sincerely,
Executive Committee, American Association for Applied Linguistics
(Linda Harklau, Laura Collins, Kendall King, Tim McNamara, Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala, Glenn Martinez, Steven Thorne, Naoko Taguchi, Charlene Polio, Michael Amory)


From 1st VP and Conference Chair—Laura Collins with Concordia Doctoral Students June Ruivivar, Clinton Hendry, and Lauren Strachan

With just weeks to go before AAAL 2019 Atlanta begins, the conference planning team is putting the final touches on the program and fine-tuning the schedule of presentations and events that will make up this year’s annual conference. As I prepare this contribution to the newsletter, we are preparing to send out the scheduling notices to presenters. Getting to this stage represents hundreds of hours of work grouping papers, round tables, and posters into coherent sessions, and distributing content across the program to minimize the scheduling of talks and events on similar topics during as many as 23 concurrent sessions. As first-time users of both the new proposal management/scheduling platform (Confex) and the new website/registration system (Novi), there have been many challenges along the way for both the conference organizing team and the business office. That we have managed to do so within a reasonable timeline is testimony to the collaborative and professional relationship AAAL enjoys with the business office, and is developing with our new partners at Confex and Novi. It is further testimony to the dedication of the graduate student volunteers on the conference team – more on them below.

In addition to a rich slate of presentations, there are also a number of special events and professional sessions to look forward to at the conference, which you can explore here. I would like to draw your attention to one of those events. We are thrilled to be screening the film Skaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife) during the lunch hour on Sunday, to be followed by a presentation and discussion with K’uyáang (Benjamin Young). This remarkable feature film was made entirely in the Haida language, of whom only about 20 speakers remain. The story told in the film takes place in Haida Gwaii, an island off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. The directors worked with elders from the community and fluent speakers of the language to translate the script and coach the actors on the language. K’uyáang was one of the language experts and also has a part in the film. For images and more information on the film, as well as K’uyáang’s biography, visit the film page on our conference website. Note that box lunches will be available for purchase – so be sure to keep your social schedule free on Sunday at lunch time to take in this event!

I would like to introduce you to the three Concordia doctoral students who make up the core of the planning team for the conference, and who have been working tirelessly with me on the conference organization over the past several months. Without their extraordinary dedication, expert judgement, superb organization skills, and technical wizardry, there simply would not BE an event in Atlanta in March! They are June Ruivivar, Associate Chair and Strand Coordinator Liason, Clinton Hendry, and Lauren Strachan. The group photo was taken after one of our many 8-hour days of scheduling – please note that they somehow managed to still have smiles on their faces.

Here they are, in their own words:

 

June Ruivivar

I am a second-year PhD student and my research focuses on teaching sociolinguistic variation, particularly vernacular grammar, while respecting learners’ stance towards sociolinguistic norms. My main takeaway from working on this year’s conference was realizing just how broad the field of applied linguistics is; although we do a lot of work on language teaching and learning, we also explore the role of language in everything from service encounters to issues of race and equality. I feel proud to be part of a field whose work is so far-reaching in so many ways.

 

 

 

 

 

Clinton Hendry

I am a second-year PhD student in Education and Applied Linguistics. My research focus addresses how variation in instructional approaches can facilitate the acquisition of phonological structures, with a specific focus on Mandarin tones. One of the best parts of being on the organization committee for AAAL 2019 is the breadth of research I have encountered. I never realized just how much overlap there is across the different strands as well as how many different researchers from those strands are conducting interesting research that is relevant to my own studies. My experiences with AAAL have opened up so many new and exciting avenues for my future research, and I can’t wait to learn and share with all these researchers that I have been reading about in preparation for the conference.

 

Lauren Strachan

I am a third-year PhD student and my research focuses on the acquisition of second language morphology, particularly low-salience morphology. After a short break from my PhD work, volunteering for AAAL has reminded me of why I love this field. It has kept me in touch with my own interests and has ignited new ones. For example, research in the strands of Sociolinguistics, Language and Identity, and even Research Methodology has got me thinking about how to incorporate new perspectives into my own work. As a newcomer to the field, I initially wondered whether I had sufficient knowledge to make decisions about program content or to evaluate abstracts. However, working with our team on the conference has given me confidence in my ability to understand research in the field beyond my own sphere of developing expertise.  I have learned a lot from Laura Collins and other committee members about how the research community functions and what I can expect going forward as a new Applied Linguist. Ours is a truly diverse and important field!


From ARAL Editors—Lara Bryfonski (Editorial Assistant), Kendall King (AAAL rep to ARAL Editorial Board), and Alison Mackey (Editor in Chief)

Update from the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (ARAL)
January 16, 2019

We are excited to announce the upcoming (2019) volume of the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, which will be on the topic of Technology in Applied Linguistics Research. The volume explores this theme through a wide range of settings and perspectives, including topics on: technology and L2 pragmatics learning; technology in language teaching; advancements in artificial intelligence and wearable devices; learner corpora; technology use in intervention studies; L2 peer synchronous video and written chat interactions; media and new dialect acquisition; technology and motivation; augmented reality and digital gaming; and data mining in L2 research.

Contributors to the 2019 technology issue comprise empirical, overview and review papers by a range of authors including Lara Lomicka Anderson and Gillian Lord; Marta González-Lloret; Helen Kelly Holmes; Mike Levy; Detmar Meurers; Tony Mcenery, Dana Gablasova, Vaclav Brezina and Jay Banerjee; Marije Michel and Marco Cappellini; Jennifer Nycz; Hayo Reinders and Glen Stockwell; Julie Sykes; Mark Warschauer, Soobin Yim, Hansol Lee and Binbin Zheng; with an editorial introduction to be co-authored with Trude Heift and Bryan Smith.

Finally, as of 2019 ARAL has moved to a ScholarOne submission and editing system. This is part of the journal’s push towards broader access, Open Materials (https://osf.io/tvyxz/wiki/home/) and stream-lined submission and review processes.

 

 

 

 

 


News from CAL—The Center for Applied Linguistics Celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2019

In 2019, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) will mark the 60th anniversary of its founding. This milestone presents a unique opportunity to focus renewed attention on the significant role of language and culture in today’s global society. Building on research, learning, and knowledge from its long history and current work, CAL will take a fresh look at the significant issues of language and culture that both unite and divide our world.

The Center for Applied Linguistics, headquartered in Washington DC, is a nonprofit organization with a strong commitment to promoting access, equity and mutual understanding for linguistically and culturally diverse people around the world. Established in 1959, CAL's original mandate was to improve the teaching of English around the world; encourage the teaching and learning of less commonly taught languages; contribute new knowledge to the field by conducting language research to resolve social and educational problems; and serve as a clearinghouse for information collection, analysis, and dissemination and as a coordinating agency to bring together scholars and practitioners involved in language-related issues.

Since its inception, CAL has played a leading role in conducting research on language use, language learning, and effective teaching methods and translating research into practical applications to help language learners succeed. Despite many changes during its growth, CAL's mandate remains much the same.

CAL’s 60th anniversary theme of Valuing All Voices represents the organization’s long history of supporting language and cultural diversity around the globe and serves as a guide for activities during the anniversary year and beyond.

Connecting with its rich history and guided by the thinking and work of its founder and first director, Charles A. Ferguson, a pioneer in the field of applied linguistics, Valuing All Voices unites with CAL’s mission and values – representing an overarching goal of supporting both languages of instruction and origin to ensure that all language learners succeed in the classroom and beyond.

To bring the anniversary theme to life, CAL plans to update its timeline of significant events, both in the world and at CAL, that tells the story of how applied linguistics, and the Center for Applied Linguistics in particular, responds to societal issues with research, information, and assistance. CAL is also exploring its early work to make more of the organization’s classic resources and information available online through its website. Special events with CAL board of trustees, collaborators, and partners will highlight recent learning in the areas of language and culture.

Looking ahead, CAL will continue to play a key role in addressing complex cultural and linguistic issues by connecting policy and research to practice, providing resources that are reliable, relevant, and readily available. Through the lens of its theme – Valuing All Voices - CAL will continue to build on its rich legacy to improve lives by helping people of all ages acquire the language mastery that will open doors to greater opportunity, and by promoting positive responses to linguistic and cultural diversity.

Working closely with its collaborators, partners, and funders, CAL will seek even more effective ways to connect research, policy, and practice, to continue its long tradition of information dissemination, and serving its important mission.

Please join the Center for Applied Linguistics as it renews its commitment to finding innovative solutions to the language and cultural issues that affect us all. Together, we look forward to writing the history of CAL’s next 60 years.

Watch CAL’s website for updates throughout the year. Visit www.cal.org.


From the Member at Large—Charlene Polio

At the October meeting, the Executive Committee also took some steps to make the conference more family-friendly in response to request from members.  Specifically, we are explicitly stating that members may bring minors to the conference.  We are asking that parents register their children at no cost both for safety issues and so that we can keep track of the number of children attending.  In addition, we will be providing a dedicated lactation space for nursing mothers, a practice we hope to continue.  The wording of the policy passed by the executive committee is as follows:

The AAAL Annual Conference is family friendly. Everyone who attends must be registered and have a badge. Badges for children of registered attendees are free. For the purposes of this policy, “children” are defined as birth children, step children, adopted children, and dependents. It is requested that children be registered in advance in conjunction with their parent(s), however child registration is available onsite at the registration desk. Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult guardian at all times. Guardians are asked to help maintain a professional, disturbance-free exhibition environment. Children under 18 are not allowed in the exhibition area during exhibition move-in and move-out for their own safety. In addition, AAAL is committed to providing a space for lactation needs.

A task force led by Luke Plonsky (lukeplonsky@gmail.com) is developing further ideas.  If you wish to make any suggestions for ways in which the AAAL conference can be more accommodating to members with children, please contact him or the Executive Committee representative, Charlene Polio (polio@msu.edu).


From Public Affairs & Engagement Committee (PAEC)—Collaborating for Social Changes by Netta Avineri, PAEC Committee Chair

PAEC Charge and Approach:

The Public Affairs & Engagement Committee (PAEC) is a AAAL standing committee that was formed in December 2016 that provides “an important means by which AAAL members can bring their collective expertise to bear on issues of social importance and inform public debate by speaking to issues of social and professional relevance” (AAAL Standing Rules). The PAEC is charged with engaging AAAL in the public domain. This can be accomplished by preparing and proposing position statements, processing position statements submitted by the general membership, recommending for endorsement position statements/resolutions issued by other organizations, organizing an annual public affairs event, and other outreach activities (e.g., interviews, op-ed pieces, blog posts, social media outreach, other means of communicating with the public) (AAAL Standing Rules). The PAEC provides a set of interdisciplinary applied linguistics perspectives on issues of public concern. We take a collaborative approach to initiatives, seeking to facilitate projects that are critical to AAAL members and tackle relevant social issues of the day. We also see ourselves as a resource for consultation and facilitation as AAAL members conceptualize which issues to address, why, and how.

PAEC Members:

Netta Avineri, Joel Gomez, Meg Malone, Tim McNamara, Adam Schwartz, and Rachel Showstack

Accomplishments and Next Steps:

In 2017 and 2018, the PAEC focused on creating position statements, endorsing other professional organizations’ statements, participating in advocacy and social justice events at AAAL 2018 (AAAL Professional Development Session “Public Advocacy and Media Engagement: Voices from the Field”) and at TESOL 2018 (Colleague Association Session “AAAL Public Affairs and Engagement Initiative: Collaborating for Social Justice”), and building membership in the Applied Linguistics and Social Justice listserv. At the AAAL 2018 PAEC Open Meeting, the PAEC and AAAL members explored possible outreach activities, initiatives, and projects. These include efforts in AAAL members’ local contexts; exploring connections between research and practice for diverse audiences; sharing perspectives via a range of genres, modalities, and languages; and AAAL collaborating with other professional organizations (e.g., AAA, ACTFL, AERA, CAL, JNCL) moving forward.

How to Get Involved:

We encourage AAAL members to join the Applied Linguistics and Social  Justice listserv (180 members strong), an online collaborative space for sharing ideas, resources, publications, and initiatives focused on applied linguistics and social justice.

We are currently seeking authors to write Applied Linguistics Briefs, 1-2-page summaries of social issues that intersect with applied linguistics. We currently have commitments from PAEC and AAAL members to write Briefs on the following topics: health literacy, mock language, assessment literacy, and asylum seeking and language. We are open to exploring a range of other topics that are of interest to AAAL membership and broader audiences.

The AAAL 2019 PAEC Open Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2019. All are welcome to participate and contribute ideas about the PAEC’s focus for the coming year.

AAAL members can also get in touch with ideas for projects and initiatives of social concern. Please feel free to contact Netta Avineri (paec@aaal.org) with your ideas.


From the Graduate Student Council (GSA)
The AAAL GSC Continues its Mission: Webinar and YouTube Series By James Coda and Shyam Pandey

As one of the AAAL GSC’s main goals is to serve all graduate students, we have been working diligently to uphold our mission by organizing various events to help support our graduate students in their academic and professional development. During the current academic year, we have successfully executed two webinars in our series. Our first webinar, “Preparing for the Job Market: Crafting Documents and Findings Jobs”, was facilitated by James Coda (University of Georgia) and held on September 30, 2018. The purpose of the webinar was to address various aspects of the job market while also providing tips for preparing job documents. To reflect a diverse range of experiences in academia, we organized a panel of four early career and more established scholars. The panelists included Dr. Kimberly Buescher (University of Massachusetts Boston), Dr. Linda Harklau (University of Georgia), Dr. Joshua Paiz (George Washington University), and Dr. Keira Park (Ohio University). During the webinar, the panelists discussed their experiences crafting job-related documents and offered resources, practical insights, and hands-on tips for customizing research, teaching, administrative, and diversity statements, cover letters, and CVs for the tenure, non-tenure, and administrative careers. In all, 44 graduate students attended so as to have an opportunity to learn more about the transition from a graduate student to an academic professional.

The second webinar in our series, “Navigating Academia as a Minority Scholar,” facilitated by Maria Ruiz-Martinez (University of Colorado Boulder), was held on December 2, 2018. Three scholars from underrepresented groups in the field of applied linguistics discussed their lived experiences and offered tips for navigating the academy as a minority scholar.  The participating panelists were Dr. Hatime ÇiftÇi (Bahcesehir University), Dr. Usree Bhattacharya (University of Georgia), and Dr. Nelson Flores (University of Pennsylvania).  In their discussions, each panelist emphasized specific elements that minority scholars need to be mindful of when entering academia. As we had 50 graduate students in attendance, the results of the post-webinar survey reflected an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards the webinar and indicated that the graduate students would like more professional development related to applications, self-care, and digital branding strategies to ensure online visibility for scholars from underrepresented groups. 

As we record and publish all past webinar events on our website, graduate students can view and access the handouts shared by the panelists in the two webinars by accessing the resources section of the GSC website under “Events.” The next webinar, “Preparing for the 2019 AAAL Conference in Atlanta,” will be announced through the GSC’s Facebook page and website (https://www.aaal-gsc.org/). Please stay tuned to our social media pages, AAAL graduate student list serv emails, and the website for updates related to the forthcoming webinar.

As a new initiative, the GSC is currently developing a monthly YouTube series that will feature short interviews with faculty and graduate students related to publishing, research projects, mentoring, and going on the job market. Additionally, we seek to include conversations on diversity, such as potential issues that graduate students from underrepresented groups may experience. To understand the needs of our graduate students when undertaking such an endeavor, the GSC recently conducted a needs assessment.  In the responses from 44 graduate students, a majority expressed interest in videos that are less than 30 minutes. Therefore, our proposed YouTube channel will feature videos that are between five to ten minutes in length. Currently, the YouTube channel is under development, and we plan to pilot the channel this spring. Going forward, it is our hope that the webinar series and proposed YouTube channel will enhance our outreach and mission so as to better serve our fellow graduate students.

Have questions, suggestions, or feedback for the GSC Steering Committee? We value your input and take your concerns seriously! Please never hesitate to contact us with issues big or small: aaalgrads@gmail.com. To stay up-to-date with what the GSC is planning, we encourage you to follow us on our social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all @AAALGrads.


From Resolutions

The resolution process is an important means by which AAAL members can make their voices heard on issues internal to AAAL’s governance and operations. The Resolutions Committee is charged with the responsibility for processing all resolutions proposed by the membership before they are acted upon by the general business meeting of AAAL, including those calling for amendment to the Bylaws as outlined in Article XII: Amendments. The Resolutions Committee may also originate courtesy resolutions.

View the AAAL Resolutions Procedures here.