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January 2018
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TESOL Board Approves Final Phase of Governance Restructuring

At its meeting in October 2017, the TESOL Board of Directors approved several changes composing the final phase of governance restructuring for the association. In 2014, the board initiated the governance restructuring as a result of the final report of the Governance Review Task Force. Subsequently, the board initiated the restructuring in two primary phases: changes to the association’s governing documents and creating the Professional Councils that replaced the Standing Committees. With this final phase, the board has created two new Professional Councils and initiated changes to the affiliation program and member groups within the association.

New Professional Councils

Two new Professional Councils will join the roster of six others that the board previously created in 2015. The first of these, the Public Policy Professional Council (PPPC) will support TESOL International Association by helping and advising on the association’s strategic initiatives related to public policy. The PPPC will work closely with the association staff to advise, encourage, and assist on matters related to public policy with the goal of enhancing and sustaining the association’s reputation as a globally relevant resource of high-quality, balanced, and effective advice, information, and advocacy on English language education public policy issues. The focus of the PPPC will not be limited to public policy in the United States; the council will also address international public policy.

The second new Professional Council, the Affiliate Network Professional Council (ANPC), will advise on initiatives and activities that advance the association’s strategic direction through the Affiliate Network. The ANPC will succeed the current Affiliate Leadership Council and will help build and sustain a strong and robust Affiliate Network. Both of the new Professional Councils will have their first meetings in March at the 2018 TESOL international convention in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Affiliate Network

In addition to these new councils, the board approved changes to the affiliation program for the association. Founded on the work the Affiliate Task Force, which conducted its work and provided its recommendations to the board in 2016, the Affiliate Network reframes the relationship between TESOL and its affiliated associations. It is envisioned to facilitate TESOL’s relations with local, regional, and national teacher associations that share and support TESOL’s mission, and the network is built on four key pillars: respect, significance, flexibility, and mutuality. The ANPC will help build and sustain a strong and robust Affiliate Network.

Communities of Practice

The largest change approved by the board of directors is the creation of the new Communities of Practice (COP) for member groups within the association. There are two types of COPs: Interest Sections (ISs) and new Professional Learning Networks (PLNs). Both types of COPs assist in cultivating content in areas of expertise and serve as area-specific resources for the association. In addition, both types of COPs help by developing leaders within the association, engaging members around professional issues relevant to their areas of interest, and facilitating dialogue and community.

These COP changes are largely built upon the work of the Interest Section Task Force, which conducted its work and provided its recommendations to the board in 2016. Similar to the Affiliate Network, there are several core principles guiding COPs: trust, inclusivity, strategic alignment, sustainability, and cultivation of leadership. Both types of COPs must adhere to TESOL’s mission, vision, core values, and nondiscrimination policy and support the association’s strategic direction.

Interest Sections

ISs remain a focal point of membership interaction. Each IS is rooted in and contributes to a specific area of knowledge within the field to stay ahead of current practice and research. They provide a greater variety and level of sustained activities, such as IS-specific projects and year-round outreach. ISs have more autonomy than they had previously to develop strategies for communications, member engagement, and leadership development. ISs are held accountable to the TESOL Board of Directors through annual reports and updates.

Professional Learning Networks

PLNs, the newest type of group members will see, are informal, discussion-based groups that are self-structured by their members. They typically emerge in response to specific or timely issues or actions and therefore form and dissolve easily. Many of the current forums will likely become PLNs in the new structure. Although many members participate and are active in forums, forums are not officially recognized as part of the association’s governance system. The PLNs have been created to provide a flexible model for groups like forums to be recognized and be part of the association’s governance system.

The transition period to the new COP system is underway, with current groups applying by the end of January to be either an IS or PLN. The COP system will become operational in April 2018, with opportunities for new groups to apply coming in late 2018.

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TESOL Board Approves Final Phase of Governance Restructuring
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