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News & Press: AAALetter

From the 1st VP

Wednesday, December 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Linda Harklau
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The AAAL 2018 Conference Team is hard at work finalizing plans for the Chicago conference. We were excited to receive nearly 2200 proposals this year, over 10% more than last year and up about 30% from four years ago. Proposals came in from scholars worldwide, reason to celebrate AAAL’s expanding and increasingly diverse scholarly community. At the same time, this overwhelming response resulted in strong competition for conference program space. For 2018 the overall proposal acceptance rate was under 50%. Within these constraints, we have done our utmost to balance representation across strands striving for proportionate acceptances and time on the program. We have also continued the shared short paper format initiated last year. Looking towards future conferences, the Executive Committee is also discussing other possible changes in presentation formats in light of increasing submissions.

We look forward to the wide-ranging field of plenaries and invited colloquia to be featured at this year’s conference. Our plenary speakers will include Ellen Bialystok speaking on the consequences of bilingualism for mind and brain; Eric Friginal on corpus-based approaches to analyzing cross-cultural professional communication; Susan Goldin-Meadow on the role of gesture in language use and thinking; Kim Potowski on language learning in dual immersion programs, and Steven L. Thorne on digital environments for language learning.

Colloquia will likewise cover a broad scope of topics including global hip-hop, eye-tracking research, current trends in vocabulary research, research and instructional approaches for refugee background language learners, the connection between language policy and assessment, systemic functional linguistic research in classrooms, and globalization and pragmatics.

Other featured events at the conference will include an address by the first recipient of AAAL’s new Distinguished Public Service Award, and a special screening of Talking Black in America, a new documentary funded by the National Science Foundation and produced by Walt Wolfram and colleagues.

The 2018 conference will also feature several events for students. Friday night will feature an informal meet and greet where students can drop by the lobby and bar area to network and socialize. A “Conference Connections” activity will link graduate students and faculty mentors. Another session, led by Luke Plonsky and colleagues, will provide master’s students and interested faculty advisors with information and tips about applying to doctoral programs in applied linguistics. The Graduate Student Council is also initiating a contest this fall to design a AAAL T-shirt. The winning design will be featured on T-shirts available at the conference. Look for them at the registration desk when you check in; proceeds will benefit Graduate Student Council activities.

The conference venue this year is the Sheraton Grand Chicago, located downtown within walking distance of world-class restaurants, cultural attractions including the Art Institute and other museums, the Lake Michigan waterfront, and shops. Chicago is also well known for its architectural walking tours and live music venues, especially jazz and blues. TESOL will be holding its annual convention in Chicago immediately following our conference.

As of this writing, registration has just opened. Two pre-conference workshop offerings are available. Dr. Trena Paulus will be leading a workshop exploring digital tools for qualitative research, and Dr. Eunice Eunhee Jang will lead an exploration of mixed methods research design typologies and analytic approaches. Look for these when you register and sign up early—space is limited and likely to fill quickly.

Given the uncertain status of the U.S. government’s proposed travel visa restriction policies, we are making contingency plans to help presenters who may be affected (from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Venezuela) to present by alternate means. Please contact for more information.

A reminder that individuals or groups who wish to use rooms at the conference venue for meetings outside the conference program can make requests via AAAL’s Meeting Request Form and send it to as soon as possible.

Finally, I’d also like to recognize the very talented and hard-working members of this year’s Conference Committee: Lei Jiang, Rhia Moreno Kilpatrick (Assistant Conference Chair), Nicole Siffrinn, and Jason Mizell.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago at #AAAL2018

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