March 2022
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Kay Westerfield, Global Communication Consulting, Eugene, Oregon, USA

Congratulations, Kevin! The ESP Interest Section is delighted that Dr. Kevin R. Knight, Professor in the Department of International Communication at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan, was selected as the 2022 D. Scott Enright TESOL Interest Section Service Award recipient, an award that recognizes outstanding and extended service to and leadership in TESOL Interest Sections. Since the ESP Interest Section was founded almost 30 years ago, we have had many leaders who have given generously of their time and passion to address the needs of our members and to build a larger international community of ESP practitioners and researchers. However, no one has done this more tirelessly, more responsibly, and more continuously with a better spirit over the years than Kevin. The following offers a brief snapshot of the multitude of Kevin’s contributions to the ESPIS, TESOL, and the field of ESP/LSP.

Extraordinary service and leadership in the ESPIS and TESOL International Association

Dr. Knight, fondly known as Kevin to all of us in the ESPIS, has held numerous leadership positions in the ESPIS since his first TESOL convention in NYC in 2008. These contributions include: ESP in Occupational Settings Representative on the ESPIS Steering Committee; ESPIS Chair Elect, Chair, Immediate Past Chair; ESPIS Community Manager; Editor of the ESP News and frequent contributor; regular convention ESP proposal reader and reviewer; and ESPIS Steering Committee Nominating Chair (including stepping in at times to fill that job when leadership needed support and providing reminders when we've needed to "get going").

In his early years with the ESPIS, Kevin led the creation of the ESP resource, English for Specific Purposes: An Overview for Practitioners and Clients (Academic & Corporate), in collaboration with ESPIS leaders (van Naerssen, Lomperis, Westerfield)to inform practitioners and clients about our field. The PowerPoint resource is available in the TESOL Resource Center and is a fixture on the ESPIS community webpage to help newcomers to the field answer the question “What is ESP?”. It is particularly useful for people considering ESP proposals for the annual convention.

Based on Kevin’s familiarity with interest section structure and strong communication skills, he was appointed to the TESOL Board of Directors’ Governance Review Task Force. This experience also served the ESPIS well when he led the later restructuring of the ESPIS into a Community of Practice.

In the ESPIS Kevin is integral as a mentor of newly elected ESPIS leaders, helping them understand their role and introducing them to one another so they can do what needs to be done. As one ESPIS leader put it, “He is 100% the glue of ESPIS, at least currently, in my opinion! I'm not sure anyone has a deeper or more complete understanding of the ESPIS members, procedures, or history. My recent experience has been that Kevin personally takes on the responsibility of mentoring every new leader in ESPIS.”

Extraordinary leadership in stimulating professional exchange within the ESPIS, TESOL and broader international ESP/LSP community.

Kevin excels in furthering professional exchange among practitioners and researchers in the ESPIS, TESOL, and in the ESP/LSP community worldwide.

We see this at TESOL conventions where Kevin has consistently organized and presented high-profile sessions, including multiple collaborative InterSection sessions, Academic Sessions, Papers, and Discussion Groups, as well as organizing and presenting with colleagues two TESOL ESPIS webinars outside of the convention: “Principled ESP: Best Practices and Case Studies”, (Kerztner, Knight, and Swartley); and a collaborative TESOL ESPIS and IATEFL English for Specific Purposes Special Interest Group (ESP-SIG) webinar “TESOL-IATEFL Online Discussion on How ESP Projects Can Create Positive Social Change”, (Gillett, Ekkens, Timpa, Gishbaugher, Knight, Lomperis, and van Naerssen). These were followed by a third webinar sponsored by IATEFL in Japan on “The ESP Project Leader Profiles - Implications for Program Quality”. This was the first webinar in the history of the IATEFL ESP-SIG and highlighted leaders in ESP from TESOL and IATEFL.

Kevin has also been an outstanding participant in TESOL Community Discussion Boards.As ESPIS Chair, Kevin led the innovative international “TESOL ESPIS Community Discussions 2011-2012”, five, month-long international, professional development discussions on issues in ESP, including “Workplace Language Training” (Kertzner), “English for Medical Professionals” (Janjua), “Teaching Tips and Success Stories in ESP” (Knight and Swartley), “ESP and Intercultural Communication” (a collaboration with TESOL ICIS), and “ESP Around the World in Academic and Occupational Contexts”. The later was an historic, collaborative online discussion between the TESOL ESPIS & IATEFL ESP SIG, initiating a long, fruitful collaboration between members. The discussion was followed by joint publications by participants and a two-year speaker exchange between TESOL ESPIS and the IATEFL ESP SIG supported by the British Council.

In myTESOL, Kevin has continued mentoring newcomers, exchanging expertise, and sharing resources, earning him a "Platinum Most Valuable Member" badge.

One of Kevin’s greatest contributions to the field of ESP, the ESPIS, and TESOL are the ESP Project Leader Profiles created and launched on his official TESOL ESP Blog. Kevin held the role of official TESOL ESP blogger from 2012-2019. His 55 ESP Project Leader Profiles combine his academic research interests in leadership and ESP/LSP and present the work of ESP practitioners on six continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. They provide mentoring, sharing of expertise, specialized curriculum, and research for all TESOL members and have been incorporated into the online TESOL Leadership Management Certificate Program. One teacher at a university in the USA provided a wonderful description of the profiles: “I stop and read each new one you post and feel my knowledge of leadership, different practices and the state of the field are enhanced.” (Adapted from the “About This Community Section” in ESP News.) A compilation of 55 profiles, English for Specific Purposes Project Leader Profiles: The Leadership Communication of 55 ESP Project Leaders, is in press for publication by Candlin & Mynard (Spring 2022 expected), and will be available for all to download free of charge on the publisher’s website:

In addition to the ESP Project Leader Profiles, Kevin’s posts on the TESOL ESP Blog offer an impressive range of engaging content of relevance and interest to the larger TESOL membership, including posts on research, leadership development, sharing of global resources, career development, and facilitation of discussion groups. You can access the entire compilation at:

Kevin has been a rock in our ESP Interest Section, leading, supporting, and informing our members and the larger TESOL membership since he joined TESOL in 2008. Through his engaging TESOL ESP Blog, informative community discussion posts, convention sessions, online webinars, publications, and Task Force participation, Kevin has addressed ESPIS goals and assisted TESOL International Association in realizing their Strategic Plan. We cannot imagine anyone more worthy of the D. Scott Enright Interest Section Service Award and are sincerely appreciative of Kevin’s outstanding leadership and extended period of service to our ESPIS. A hearty congratulations and warm thank you on behalf of the ESPIS.

Kay Westerfield, ESPIS Founding Chair, served on TESOL Board of Directors, received TESOL’s “50@50” Award and the 2021 US Department of State, Office of English Language Program’s “30@30” Award.
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