AAALetter - March 2016


Volume 28, Number 1

Table of Contents

  1. From the President: I am AAAL — and so are you!
    “AAAL is my organization—and yours, too. As a membership organization, AAAL belongs to all its members, including you and me.” In this article, Paul Kei Matsuda shares the memory of what his first AAAL conference in 1998 was like. Read More

  2. How Does the Conference Program Happen?
    The 2016 AAAL Conference is less than a month away, and the searchable schedule for the conference has been available online for several weeks. The conference organizers, Tim Marguette and Kathi Baiely, share with the members the behind-the-scene processes by which the conference has been scheduled. Read More

  3. Update on 2016 Pre-conference Workshops
    As we announced in our previous AAALetter, we are offering our first pre-conference workshops at this year’s conference in Orlando. There are still some places remaining at our Conversation Analysis (CA) workshop led by Johannes Wagner (University of Southern Denmark). We will also keep waiting lists for both workshops, which you can join by contacting us at Read More

  4. 2016 Graduate Student Awards
    The GSA committee has identified six graduate students as the recipients of this year’s awards, which will be presented during the annual conference in Orlando. The six recipients’ presentation titles, scheduled times, and messages to the AAAL members are featured in this article. Read More

  5. Inaugural AAAL Book Award
    Inaugural AAAL Book Award goes to Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (Routledge, 2013) by Suresh Canagarajah (The Pennsylvania State University). The book award committee considered nominated texts holistically, weighing both the scholarly contributions of authors or editors and the production quality provided by publishers in. Read More

  6. Inaugural AAAL Dissertation Award
    Katherine A. Bernstein (Arizona State University) has been named as the recipient of the inaugural AAAL Dissertation Award. Her dissertation titled “Learning English as an L2 in PreK: A practice perspective on identity and acquisition” was conducted at the University of California at Berkeley in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Department in the Graduate School of Education. Read more

  7. From the Graduate Student Council
    The co-chairs of the Graduate Student Council, Daniel Ginsberg and Nicole Pettitt, invite the members to the GSC-sponsored events that will take place during the annual conference: Thriving while striving: A graduate students’ forum on life in academia and The (job) interview: Before, during and after. Read More

  8. Remarks from outgoing Executive Committee members
    The three outgoing members of the Executive Committee, Aneta Pavlenko (Immediate Past President), Scott Jarvis (Member-at-Large), and Junko Mori (Ex-officio AAALetter Editor) share their reflections on their experience serving on the committee. Read More

From the President: I am AAAL—and so are you!

AAAL is my organization—and yours, too. As a membership organization, AAAL belongs to all its members, including you and me.

My first AAAL conference was in 1998, when I was a recipient of a Graduate Student Award. My initial impression of AAAL: “This conference is filled with people from all over the world wearing name tags with familiar names!” I kept running into people whose name I recognized from my readings—at sessions, at receptions, in the hallway, in the elevator, in the lobby and at bars. I saw them present, ask questions, argue with each other, stand in line at receptions, laugh and raise glasses.

When I approached them to join the conversation or ask questions, they were friendly and generous with their time. It was clear that they were not here just because they were famous or they had all the answers. They were here to listen and engage in intellectual conversations.

Then I went to the Annual Business Meeting. With my training in journalism, and with my leadership experience with other professional organizations, I was already somewhat familiar with how non-profit professional organizations worked and how meetings were conducted. But watching senior members of the field engage in serious conversations about issues, policies and the future of the organization helped me understand how deeply committed they were to the organization and to the field.

Being at the Business Meeting created many opportunities for me—to meet interesting people, to understand issues that affect the organization and its members, and to understand how I might contribute.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving on many committees and task forces. Each time, my understanding of the organization and the field deepened as I worked closely with many of the established members of the field as well as younger members who brought new energy and enthusiasm.

Being part of the field does not mean just giving presentations or publishing. It means building a network—not just for your own sake but to be part of the fabric of the field. It also means participating in the important work that contributes to the development of the organization and the field.

I am AAAL and so are you. Let’s work together to make this organization even greater!

— Paul Kei Matsuda, Arizona State University

How Does the Conference Program Happen?

Now that the searchable schedule for the 2016 AAAL Conference is available online, we would like to share with you the behind-the-scenes processes by which the conference has been scheduled. We hope that you will find this information to be informative and perhaps even a bit amusing!

First, the deadline for submitting proposals was August 19, 2015. The Strand Coordinators of the 18 strands were given access to the AllAcademic proposal submission and review system. In managing a team of over 300 total volunteer reviewers, each Strand Coordinator assigned two reviewers to evaluate each proposal. Some proposals were accepted by both reviewers while others were rejected by both reviewers. In other cases, the reviewers disagreed about the merits of a particular proposal, leading to a split decision. In the case of split reviews, the Strand Coordinators either served as a third reviewer or else they assigned another qualified reviewer to evaluate those proposals.

The Conference Team then looked at all the proposals that had been recommended for acceptance. We mapped the number of accepted papers, posters, roundtables, and colloquia against the slots on the program, as determined by time and space available at the venue. At that point we needed to make some tough decisions. Together, as a team, we read and discussed all of the proposals and recategorized several of them in order to maximize the number of acceptances so that a wide range of presenters could be listed on the program.

Next we began eliminating those accepted presentations whose authors had notified us that they could not attend the conference. Then we deleted the presentations by those authors who had not confirmed their willingness to present at the conference and/or had not registered for the conference by the given deadline. This process created space for a few more sessions to be scheduled.

At this time we were also communicating with individuals who had submitted more than one proposal as the first author. In those cases, in consultation with the proposal submitters, we determined which of their accepted proposals would be eliminated and for which one(s) they would be willing to alter the sequence of their authorship, based on the AAAL policy stated in the Call for Proposals.

Additionally, we worked with Sarah Berke and Jessica Atkinson in the AAAL office to go through the large number of accepted proposals where submitters had two different membership accounts as a result of two different email addresses and/or two different spellings of their names. Each of these duplications had to be resolved before the schedule could be finalized.

As presenters notified us of cancellations, we also revisited those proposals which were originally submitted as papers or colloquia but had been recategorized as either roundtable discussions or poster presentations. We developed a waiting list based on the original ratings, and when all of the tasks described above were completed and vacancies were created on the conference program, we began to schedule those proposals. This process is an ongoing one as space becomes available. Unfortunately it is not possible in advance to determine when a particular proposal might be recategorized and scheduled, since we cannot anticipate when we will be notified of cancellations. We are keeping a close eye (four, actually) on the waiting list!

The scheduling process also included grouping roundtable discussions and paper presentations thematically into groups. Specifically for roundtables, scheduling these discussions poses another interesting challenge. Some people submit proposals for a complete roundtable discussion with three presenters. Others submit a proposal as a single presenter to be placed in a particular roundtable discussion with two other presenters talking about a similar issue. Still other proposals were originally submitted as paper or colloquium presentations but were recategorized as roundtable discussions, as described above. Putting these roundtables together took considerable time and attention in order to link proposals topically and thematically, rather than simply linking them by strand. We feel that this process will lead to rich and fruitful discussions at each table.

Another interesting challenge to scheduling this year’s conference is that the TESOL Convention will be held in Baltimore, Maryland from April 4 to April 8. The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) conference is being held in Houston, Texas from April 6 to April 9. And the American Educational Research Association (AERA) convention completely overlaps the AAAL Conference and will be held in Washington, DC. For these reasons we had to be particularly thoughtful in scheduling certain topics of presentations on certain days, in addition to working with presenters’ scheduling conflicts.

Finally we managed to schedule all of the accepted and invited colloquia, and the accepted papers, posters, and roundtable discussions. It has been like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube made of jello! However, we now have a conference program that we are extremely proud of! Having spent countless hours looking over titles and abstracts, we can honestly boast about the exciting program for the 2016 AAAL Conference. The wealth of intellect, talent, and concern for the field of applied linguistics that our valued AAAL members and presenters possess is evident in the proposal descriptions, which richly illustrate our conference theme: “Applied Linguistics Applied.” In addition, there will be numerous opportunities to engage in academic and practical discussions, participate in the many Professional Opportunities Sessions in the noon hours each day, see the latest offerings from a variety of publishers, and share with and learn from peers and respected colleagues. We have every hope that the conference program will be of great value to all participants, whether they are first-time attendees or veteran conference goers. And as an added bonus for those who will have just come through a blustery winter, the Florida sun will be an enjoyable change! We look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

— Tim Marquette, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
— Kathleen M. Bailey, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Update on 2016 Pre-Conference Workshops

As we announced in our previous AAALetter, we are offering our first pre-conference workshops at this year’s conference in Orlando. The two all-day workshops are being held on Friday, April 8, the day before the conference begins. At this time, our workshop on the statistical programming language R is virtually full. There are still some places remaining at our Conversation Analysis (CA) workshop, which is being conducted by Johannes Wagner, Professor of Communication at the University of Southern Denmark. He will lead participants in an exploration of what CA can reveal about the ways in which second language users deploy their conversational resources for interactional purposes.

We will also keep waiting lists for both workshops, which you can join by contacting us at Registration is open to everyone, and graduate students benefit from a lower registration rate.

— Lucy Pickering, Texas A&M University - Commerce

2016 Graduate Student Awards

The 2016 Graduate Student Awards were made possible by AAAL members’ contributions to the Fund for the Future of Applied Linguistics (FFAL), as well as the generous support of Educational Testing Service, Multilingual Matters, and the estate of Wilga Rivers. The GSA Committee, consisting of Kate Menken (chair, City University of New York- Graduate Center & Queens College), Elena Schmitt (Southern Connecticut State University), Sedef Uzuner Smith (Lamar University), Matthew Prior (Arizona State University) and Lynn Goldstein (Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey), has identified the following six graduate students as the recipients of this year’s awards. 

 Geoffrey Pinchbeck, University of Calgary | The Educational Testing Service Award
“Developmental scales of L1 and L2 academic English vocabulary: Vocabulary test item difficulty indicates lexical sophistication and derivational morphology development”
Sunday, April 10, 8:00 to 8:30 am

“It is a tremendous honour for me to receive this award, particularly given the admiration I feel for so many scholars in the AAAL community, whose influence has been so important to my PhD work. The study I will present this year was actually inspired by a conversation I had with Stuart McLean at the 2015 AAAL in Toronto, where we were introduced by Professor Tom Cobb, who had just attended my presentation. I am so very grateful to have been mentored in this way by so many of you, and I look forward making connections within AAAL well into the future.”


Beth Dillard Paltrineri, University of Minnesota | The Multilingual Matters Award
“Lesson study in higher education: Mediating language teacher conceptual development through shared inquiry”
Tuesday, April 12, 8:35 to 9:05 am

“I am thrilled to be the recipient of the 2016 Multilingual Matters Award for my dissertation work with language teacher learning through shared inquiry. The AAAL conferences and community have been foundational in my growth as a young scholar, and I am appreciative of all the support I have received. Thanks to the entire AAAL community for mentoring and investing in graduate students!”


Alireza Sobhanmanesh, University of Ottawa | The Wilga Rivers Award
“Group flow: A valid concept in the ESL classroom?”
Tuesday, April 12, 8:00 to 8:30 am


“I am truly honored to be receiving this award, and I am very grateful to the GSA committee for it. The AAAL conference provided a stimulating environment for thought-provoking discussions last year, and I very much look forward to presenting my work on group flow this year in Orlando. I think it is very important to recognize positive emotions and their relationships with moments of simultaneous absorption for learners and the teacher in the ESL classroom. I am very pleased to share the findings of this study with the distinguished community of scholars in the field and receive their feedback.”


Virak Chan, University of Texas at San Antonio
“A critical examination of the medium-of-instruction policy in Cambodian higher education” Saturday, April 9, 10:10 to 10:40 am

“I am honored to be recognized by such a distinguished community of scholars with the Graduate Student Award to be presented at the AAAL conference in Orlando this year. I would like to thank the GSA committee and the AAAL organization for this. It has been a rewarding experience attending and presenting at this conference, and this year I am particularly excited to share important findings of my dissertation, which investigates the social, economic, and political contexts for the language policies in Cambodia.”


Andrea R Leone-Pizzighella, University of Pennsylvania
“Subtitles as linguistic and ideological metacommentary in Italian YouTube clips”
Sunday, April 10, 10:30 to 11:00 am 

“First, a sincere thank you to AAAL and the GSA Committee for continuing to acknowledge the work of graduate students. As a novice researcher, it is encouraging and exciting to be recognized for research that I find both intellectually stimulating and fun to do! As I prepare to embark on my dissertation fieldwork in Italian secondary schools, I'm feeling particularly appreciative of the opportunity to share some of my preliminary work and learn from scholars and other graduate students about academic discourse, ideologies around standard and nonstandard varieties, and other intriguing topics I see throughout the program.”


Laura Vilkaite, University of Nottingham
“Does distance matter?: Are non-adjacent collocations (receive any form of treatment) processed the same as adjacent collocations (receive treatment)?”
Sunday, April 10, 2:00 to 2:30 pm
“It is a great honour to receive the Graduate Student Award this year. As this is the last year of my PhD, the award gives me confidence that the research I was working on matters and is interesting to the international community of applied linguistics. It also gives me a boost of motivation to continue working on my projects. I am truly looking forwards to the stimulating talks and interesting new acquaintances in AAAL conference in Orlando.”

These awards will be presented on Sunday morning, just before the plenary by John Rickford. Please join us to congratulate these outstanding graduate students!

For more information about the awards, eligibility and guidelines, visit

We also encourage all members to consider contributing to FFAL, which makes these awards possible. For more information regarding FFAL, please visit

Inaugural AAAL Book Award

In 2016, AAAL is bestowing its inaugural book award to honor a high quality text that makes an exceptional contribution to applied linguistics as a whole or to a specific area of specialization. We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2016 AAAL Book Award is Suresh Canagarajah, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Applied Linguistics, English, and Asian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, for his monograph Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (Routledge, 2013). The award will be presented at the annual conference in Orlando, just before the plenary by Cristina Sanz on Sunday afternoon.

The book award committee weighed both the scholarly contributions of authors or editors and the production quality provided by publishers in considering nominated texts holistically. In recognizing Translingual Practice, the committee finds that “Canagarajah provides a highly original contribution that questions some of the traditional approaches in the study of multilingualism. He advances the concept of translingual practice with theoretical depth and practical insight. The reader is shown the expressive and creative potential of multilinguals while also being prompted to consider how academic gatekeepers should account for linguistic power relations in teaching and in professional service work like peer review and editorial leadership. In all, the book offers a thought provoking examination of language and literacy as it takes shape through individual lived experiences with globalization.”

Two additional authors were recognized as finalists: Victoria A. Murphy for her book Second Language Learning in the Early School Years: Trends and Contexts (Oxford, 2014) and Roger W. Shuy for his book The Language of Murder Cases: Intentionality, Predisposition, and Voluntariness (Oxford, 2014).

The AAAL Book Award Committee was chaired by Francis Hult (Lund University), and included Doug Biber (Northern Arizona University), Jasone Cenoz (University of the Basque Country), Carol Chapelle (Iowa State University), and Scott Jarvis (Ohio University).

The Book Award will be given biennially, alternating every other year with the AAAL First Book Award recognizing a scholar’s first book. Nominations for the AAAL First Book Award, to be presented at the 2017 annual meeting, will be due on 1 June 2016. Details will be available soon on the AAAL website.

— Francis M. Hult, Lund University

Inaugural AAAL Dissertation Award

Katherine A. Bernstein, Assistant Professor in the Division of Teacher Preparation in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University is the recipient of the 2016 (and first) AAAL Dissertation Award. The AAAL Dissertation Award Committee, consisting of Graham Crookes (University of Hawai’i at Mānoa), Patricia Duff (University of British Columbia), Mari Haneda (The Pennsylvania State University), Lucy Pickering (Texas A&M University-Commerce), and Jamie Schissel (chair, University of North Carolina, Greensboro), faced a difficult choice when selecting the awardee, and would like to recognize the scholarship represented in the dissertation submissions of the two finalists as well. Jimin Kahng (Northeastern Illinois University) completed her study titled “Exploring the production and perception of second language fluency: Utterance, cognitive, and perceived fluency” at Michigan State University with committee members, Debra Hardison (chair), Susan Gass, Patti Spinner, and Paula Winke. Sara Kangas (University of Pennsylvania) examined “Special education trumps ESL: Policy as practice for ELs with disabilities” at Temple University with committee members, Yasuko Kanno (chair), Maia Cucchiara, Matthew Tincani, Kristina Najera, and Nelson Flores.

Katherine A. Bernstein’s dissertation titled “Learning English as an L2 in PreK: A practice perspective on identity and acquisition” was conducted at the University of California at Berkeley in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Department in the Graduate School of Education. Claire Kramsch served as chair and Sara Freedman and William Hanks were also on her dissertation committee.

Katherine’s voice as a scholar in relation to theoretical and methodological approaches in her dissertation stood out to the committee, who stated that they could not recall reading a dissertation in which such complex concepts and breadth of reference were combined with a personal voice and clarity of exposition. Her participant observer ethnography followed a class of pre-kindergarten English as a second language learners for one academic year, with four focal students. She examined language learning and identity development in the classrooms through the research questions: (1) What are the differences in how students their first year of preK learn English as an L2? and (2) How do these differences relate to students’ emerging social identities?

Multiple approaches were applied by Katherine to rigorously explore the ethnographic data. To address the first research question, she developed corpora of each student’s language use using transcripts of the audio recordings to explore language learning coded vocabulary and syntactic complexity (or MLUs) with speech acts. She compared these contrastive evaluations of student language learning to positionality, and her social networking analysis related students emerging social identities as being competent (or not) and authoritative (or not) within four domains: academic, linguistic, social/play, classroom rules/procedures. Her findings spoke to the divergent identities of focal students in relation different measures of learning and perceived competencies by teachers. She concludes by using the analyses to explain that assumptions about learning opportunities translating unambiguously into learning outcomes needs to be questioned further because—while identity indeed mattered for these students’ learning—it remains essential to ask, “How?”

The presentation of the AAAL Dissertation Award is scheduled right before the plenary talk of Claudia Angelelli on Monday afternoon.

— Jamie Schissel, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

From the Graduate Student Council

Greetings from the Graduate Student Council! We’re looking forward to the 2016 conference in Orlando, and we wanted to let you know of a few things we’re planning.

First, on Sunday evening, we’re hosting an event called "Thriving while striving: A graduate students’ forum on life in academia." As we normally do in this event, we’re not going to sit you down and make you listen to a panel of experts, because graduate students are the experts on this topic. Instead, we’ll host facilitated small-group discussion on topics of interest, such as funding, work-life balance, networking, and leadership service. You’ll swap strategies for dealing with difficult faculty or for balancing teaching and research, and if you’re interested, you’ll learn how you can get involved in planning next year’s events.

The other GSC-sponsored event is a panel discussion on Monday afternoon called "The (job) interview: Before, during and after." Our panel represents a diverse selection of career paths -- there are two professors, a researcher from a nonprofit institute, and a publisher -- and they’ll each share their insights into the process of applying for jobs in applied linguistics. Of course, everyone’s job search is a bit different, so we’ll be sure to leave plenty of time for attendees to ask questions.

The final moment we want to highlight is the AAAL Business Meeting, when the 2016-17 Steering Committee takes over leadership of the GSC. We outgoing co-chairs, Nicole Pettitt and Daniel Ginsberg, are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and for so many of you in the past few years, and we’re thrilled to turn over GSC leadership to incoming co-chairs Mengying Liu and Lindsey Kurtz. Great things are ahead for graduate students in AAAL -- watch this space in the coming months to learn how you can take part in it.

— Daniel Ginsberg, Georgetown University
— Nicole Pettitt, Georgia State University

Images: The sessions for graduate student members that took place during the 2015 AAAL conference.

Remarks from outgoing Executive Committee members

Aneta Pavlenko and Scott Jarvis will complete their terms as AAAL Executive Committee members at the annual conference. They share their reflections on their experience serving on the committee.

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

— Aneta Pavlenko, Temple University

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

— Scott Jarvis, Ohio University

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Junko Mori, University of Wisconsin-Madison