March 2023



Melissa Ferro, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA
Deany Goode, Metropolitan Community College Kansas City - Penn Valley, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Deany Goode

Melissa Ferro

Dear HEIS Members,

Happy New Year! It has been a busy 9 months since we began our term as HEIS Co-Chairs. In the late spring, we launched a survey to gather data on what you value most from your HEIS membership, and the topics or issues you believe are central to higher education TESOL programs. Through this survey, we also identified individuals interested in serving on the HEIS leadership team and a newly composed editorial team.

Our goal has been to recruit leaders from across the globe to provide a better representation of international TESOL issues and voices in higher education. We believe we are on the road to achieving this goal. We are excited to have Cristina Manea Gultekin, English Lecturer with the School of Foreign Languages at Gaziantep University, Gaziantep, Turkey serve as the new HEIS Community Manager. We are equally thrilled to work with the 2022-2023 HEIS Chair Elect, Abdulsamad Humaidan, Lecturer with the Department of Linguistics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Finally, we congratulate our returning editor, Dr. Zhenjie Weng, on the successful defense of her doctoral dissertation. With Zhenjie’s help, we are training a new editorial team and are pleased to publish our first HEIS Newsletter of 2023.

Additionally, we would like to celebrate our former Co-Chair Elect Dr. Dawn Lucovich on her elected position to the TESOL Nominating Committee, and our Secretary, Dr. Cynthia Wiseman, on her new appointment to the TESOL Board of Directors. Although their service to HEIS has been shortened by their new roles, we appreciate their interest in our interest section and their ongoing work in support of our great international organization.

In the coming months, our new leadership team is collaborating to offer HEIS members opportunities to interact with one another through high-quality webinars and online discussions.

We are equally enthusiastic about two collaborative intersection sessions that we will co-facilitate at TESOL 2023 in Portland, OR. Working with the Kate Hardin, the Chair-Elect of the Refugee Concerns Interest Section, we have organized a panel discussion titled, Spotlight on Refugees in Higher Education. Our second panel session titled, From Heteronormativity to Inclusivity in ESL/EFL Higher Education is the result of our collaboration with the Co-Chairs of the Social Responsibility Interest Section, Fatmeh Waleed Alalawneh and Bashar Al Hariri. We hope to see you in Portland!

If you are interested in joining our team, we are actively recruiting a HEIS Social Media Manager, a Secretary, and a Chair-elect for 2023-2024. To learn more about these positions, please feel free to contact Melissa at or Deany at

Wishing you a 2023 filled with good health and prosperity!

Melissa Ferro and Deany Goode

Deany has a BA in English from the University of Missouri - Kansas City and an MA in TESL from the University of Central Missouri. She has been teaching ESL to refugees, immigrants, and international students at urban community colleges for 14 years. Service is her love language.

Melissa has worked as a K-16 language educator and teacher educator for over 20 years. She holds a B.A. in Spanish, an M.Ed in World Language Curriculum and Instruction, and a Ph.D. in Multilingual Multicultural Education. She is currently an ESL Instructor at the University of Texas at Austin. 




Have you ever had one of these problems: your university is late ordering textbooks; your university bookstore runs out of textbooks; or, a group of your students are unable to access the online homework and resources because they purchased second-hand books without access codes? Have you ever had to create PowerPoint presentations because your textbook didn’t come with digital resources that allowed you to easily project learning materials in the classroom or share online? Do you find yourself making alternative or extra resources because you find something lacking in your existing textbook?

The answer is probably yes.

Since all teachers have been students at one point, you may have also suffered one of these problems: you have had to buy a textbook that was too complicated and / or too expensive for your budget; you bought a textbook but the teacher ended up not using it; or, years (or even months) after you finished a class you had to get rid of the textbook or sell it (at a substantial discount) because you needed to move or the book had lost its usefulness.

To be certain, there are many benefits to using academic textbooks. They are time savers and organize information better than teachers can on short notice. Additionally, a good textbook series will usually come with tests and resources that can be reused across multiple classes.

However, for all the reasons discussed above, it is worth considering whether there might be a better solution, or at the very least an alternative to academically published textbooks.

This brief article details the results of my own experience crafting a textbook using Google Slides on short notice.

The Context

I decided to create a textbook using Google Slides for a very specific reason. I was starting a new job at a university and was going to teach a new course: Designing and Conducting Research.

The course had not been previously taught, so there was no recommended textbook. I had several research methods textbooks but nothing that was designed for non-native speakers of English. I wanted to make something that had a minimum of jargon and that provided students with a maximum of help via free online resources.

Since I was unsure how many students would be in the class or what their English proficiency levels would be, I wanted the textbook to facilitate self-help and self-study when needed. I wanted students to be able to click on links to applications such as the Scribbr APA citation generator, the Quetext plagiarism checker, and Grammarly. I also wanted students to be able to click on links to videos on Youtube and in-depth articles on the Scribbr website.

All of these resources were free, or at least had a free option. And yet, I wanted all of these resources organized so that students could access them quickly.

Since this was a new course with a new teacher, I also wanted some kind of benefit to make the newness more palatable. I wanted the textbook to be downloadable and free.

The Textbook: Designing and Conducting Research

I have revised the first four chapters of the textbook for this article.

You can click HERE to view these chapters of the textbook.

The reader is free to use and modify the textbook in any way they see fit. To do so, simply copy the Google Slideshow to your own Google Drive or download it as a PowerPoint presentation.

The textbook is different in a few respects. My university’s logo has been removed from the textbook and I removed any materials that I had doubts about.

I offer one important piece of advice on how to use the textbook. The book was provided free online to the students and all of the students viewed it on their laptops. However, if you intend to print the book, I would recommend turning the links into QR codes for students to scan with their smartphones.

You can do this easily with an online QR code generator such as this one.

The Results

The textbook took me about two weeks to design, working approximately one or two hours a day. Thus, the entire project took about 20 hours to complete. The hardest part was creating the Google Sheets workbook for the weeks that covered basic statistics. I am not particularly skilled at statistics but did my best to give the students some foundations.

At least one of the rationales for the book did not become a reality. Instead of a large class, I had a class of five eager and inquisitive students. The self-help option was not needed as much as I had thought.

One of the aspects I enjoyed the most about using the textbook was that I did not have to spend each week making PowerPoints or Google Slides for class. The textbook was something I could project to the class from my classroom Smartboard. This helped cut down on preparation time.

A short survey of students after the course found that students universally appreciated that the textbook was free and downloadable. Another popular aspect of the textbook was that it had links to applications such as Grammarly, Quetext plagiarism checker, and Scribbr citation generator. One criticism of the textbook was that it did not have a Table of Contents. This is an aspect I hope to fix in a future edition.

Though students did not mention the issue in the survey, I felt that students needed more time learning writing techniques associated with research. This is not something covered extensively in this edition. Thus, in the next edition of the book, I plan to spend more time explaining concepts such as summarizing, paraphrasing, and proper techniques for quoting authors.


Making your own textbook using Google Slides has many advantages. Self-made textbooks using Google Slides are easy to customize, duplicate, share, and add to a Google Classroom and other learning management systems. The major drawback is the time and expertise needed to make them. For this reason, I would like to try at least one semester using a publisher’s textbook before I decide to revise the current textbook or make new ones. Ironically, having made my own basic textbook, I now feel more comfortable using a publisher’s textbook, knowing that I can take resources from my own creation when needed.

Acknowledgment: I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the five students who took the first semester of Designing and Conducting Research in Spring 2021. The class was an experiment in more ways than one. I appreciate their hard work, patience, and enthusiasm.

Daniel Clausen has taught ESL, English composition, and other courses in the United States, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. He has also conducted research in the field of International Relations. His work has appeared in The Diplomatic Courier, e-IR, East Asia Forum, and The Korean Journal of International Studies, among other journals and magazines. He currently works as an English language instructor for Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies in Japan.


Toni McLaughlan, Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Raya Sufyan Almenhali, Ayesha Saleh Alrashdi, Meera Yaser Alharbi, Reem Hasan Alhammadi, Afraa Hadi Alrashdi, Afnan Fadhel Alharthi, and Dana Khaled Alali

Introduction from the Instructor

Now that most COVID-related restrictions have been lifted and we’re back on campus in the UAE, I noticed a shift in the behavior and study habits of my students, and I’ve heard other colleagues express similar sentiments: a greater number of students seem more focused and more eager to learn. I’ve taught first-year students in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for six years now, and I thought it might be interesting to get some of my students’ perspectives on transitioning back to the classroom, what instructional practices are helpful for them in their on-campus learning environments, and any other aspects of education that they’d like their instructors to know. Below are a few ideas, combined and edited for language, that seven female first-year Emirati students in English class brainstormed, drafted, and agreed upon together as wanting to share with the larger TESOL community.

Student Perspectives

Our teacher has told us that we are more active, competitive, and motivated than most classes. We are not sure if it is connected to being back on campus after so much time at home with COVID, but it’s nice to be able to make friends in person again. And we learned a lot of websites when we were online that are like games. This brings competition. It’s nice when teachers continue to use these websites even in person, like Kahoot and Nearpod and Quizizz, especially if the teacher has a lot of energy. The teachers have more energy in person too! And when the teacher has energy, it will give energy to the students. Also, these websites move very quickly, and we can see when our answers are wrong and what the correct answers are right away—the feedback is faster than with worksheets. At the same time though, for really important class material that we need to study again and again—it’s nice to also have this on paper, actually. If we run out of charge on our device or if we’re traveling, in the car, or anywhere, we can keep the paper with us and review. We also don’t have to worry about social media distracting us this way. We can switch our phones off and just focus on the paper. This is something we didn’t get in online learning.

There are parts of online learning that we prefer of course, like staying home, but we learn better in class. It’s difficult to concentrate online. Even if we’re doing the same activity, like a Quizlet activity, it helps us to do it in class compared to online because we have a teacher with us to help us stayed focused. In general, our parents give us independence when we learn online. They say that we are adults and that it is our responsibility to manage our time and our studies. Usually they aren’t very strict. But we’re not always very good at this! So it’s helpful to have a teacher encourage us in person and to make sure we pay attention.

The teacher helps us stay focused, but it’s also really helpful to get support from our classmates. It’s easier to create a What’s App chat with everyone in class and to communicate this way with any questions about dates, materials, and exams. Teachers should always give students the chance for students to get to know each other in class because this is a huge help for us. Also, because we are here every day, the college can provide us with laptops when we need them, and show us how to use technology. We can access books from the library and they can show us how to use the library website. These are some of the main benefits for attending on-campus again.

However, although we don’t recognize a big difference in the lessons of teachers from the UAE compared to other countries except for language, there are a couple things we would like our international teachers to know. For example, please know and remember that during Ramadan, our sleep schedules change a lot. We don’t sleep a lot, especially at night, and we feel really tired from not eating and not drinking coffee or even water. But also, Ramadan is for a whole month! It can be difficult to change schedules quickly, even after Ramadan is finished. Also, we don’t like to share our pictures or videos here. Sometimes teachers make assignments that require videos, but we are not comfortable with this in our culture. We welcome teachers here from all over the world—we are a very international country! But we are grateful when the teachers can respect our culture too.

Toni McLaughlan holds an MA in Linguistics from the University of Delaware, an MS Ed in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and a BA in Psychology and English Language & Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Go Badgers.) Currently, she is working on her PhD in Higher Education with a specialization in research on internationalization and intercultural sensitivity. She works as a full-time ESL instructor in the UAE while continuing to write for a number of English language assessment companies. She is dedicated to improving education around the world through involvement in projects led by various organizations including the US Department of State and the United Nations.

Raya, Ayesha, Meera, Reem, Afraa, Afnan, and Dana are first-year college students currently focusing on improving their English language studies in preparation for advanced courses in their majors. They are interested in exploring a variety of subjects in their first years of college while also gaining research skills and pursuing volunteer opportunities.


International students are beneficial to US campuses. They bring diversity, which is important in today’s world where the ability to communicate across cultures is an important skill. Furthermore, because international students typically pay full tuition, US universities have an invested interest in continuing to recruit them. This presents an ethical dilemma, however. International students are an important financial resource for many universities. The question is whether international students are receiving the support they need to succeed academically. Since writing is an inextricable part of higher education in US contexts, this question is especially relevant to writing programs: Are international students getting the sort of writing help and support they need to be successful academically? How are US writing programs working to understand and meet international students’ needs? This edited collection is an attempt to respond to these questions, largely through illustrations of work that has been accomplished in terms of writing program development, curricular development, and faculty development.

The main theme throughout this book is the lack of experience, training, expertise, and confidence instructors at US colleges and universities have in working with international students to provide adequate writing instruction and support. While composition instructors in US higher education institutions might have many international students in their classes, they may not have any training in L2 writing pedagogy, and some teachers of composition do not have training in teaching composition. Furthermore, instructors in the disciplines might also have many international students in their classes but might be unfamiliar with L2 writing pedagogy. For instance, in her chapter called “Writing Programs and a New Ethos for Globalization,” Margaret Willard-Traub explains that in her university’s writing program, 85 percent of classes are taught by adjunct faculty with degrees in subjects outside the field of composition and rhetoric, and only one instructor has training in L2 writing. While it might be ideal to hire more teachers trained in L2 writing instruction, for most institutions, a significant recruitment of instructors with specialized training in L2 writing would be difficult or even impossible. Filling the gap, then, means finding the best way to move forward given current circumstances. Throughout this book, the authors outline the various solutions or strategies they have implemented personally or that have been implemented institutionally to provide appropriate pedagogy and adequate support systems so that international students can successfully meet academic writing needs and requirements.

Some of the best parts of this book, then, are the situated examples the authors provide. For instance, Willard-Traub explains how her US-enrolled students set up an exchange with overseas partners in Lebanon to interview them about their literacy profiles. The interview-exchange project helped the US-enrolled students learn not only about the literacy practices of their partners but also to examine their own literacy practices. In“Building the Infrastructure of L2 Writing Support: The Case of Arizona State University,”Katherine Daily O’Meara and Paul Matsuda explain how they developed various programs at Arizona State University to support instructors, which include a certificate in L2 writing instruction, graduate-level courses for L2 writing instruction and writing research, and a practicum for writing instructors new to teaching L2 sections. In “It’s Not a Course, It’s a Culture,” Stacey Sherriff and Paula Harrington describe the changes they enacted in their current programs by first acknowledging the need to create a shared internationally-focused pedagogy. One important change in their context included implementing a workshop series on L2 writing pedagogy for instructors in various disciplines. In “Expanding the Role of the Writing Center,” Yu-Kyung Kang, explains how she organized single-language writing groups (SLWG) in which students from shared language backgrounds came together in groups to support each other in developing US academic writing skills specifically and English language skills generally. There are numerous other examples throughout the book that serve as useful models that can be adopted and adapted at other colleges or universities, or at the very least, serve as an impetus for sparking ideas that can be contextualized.

The Internationalization of US Writing Programs is an important read for anyone involved in writing programs in US colleges and universities including first-year composition, L2 writing, writing across the curriculum, writing in the disciplines, writing centers, and professional writing programs. Arguably, it is also a valuable read for instructors outside the field of writing education as they could benefit from learning about methods of working with international student writers. While this collection presents a variety of perspectives on writing programs, it is in no way a policy-as-pedagogy prescription. Rather, it is a call for responsiveness to meet the needs of international students in US colleges and universities and establish ethical responses to present challenges. The reader is invited into the conversation to consider new possibilities to improve US writing programs as they continue to internationalize.

Jimalee Sowell is a PhD candidate in Composition and Applied Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her research and writing interests include second language writing, genre analysis, peace education, teacher education, and disability studies.


Hall Houston has created a one stop solution for university language teachers looking to implement active learning into their classrooms. His teaching guide, 101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students is just that: A plethora of ideas, activities, references, and handouts that teachers can utilize to encourage speaking, creativity, and dialogue amongst classmates and step away from dry teacher centered lecturing.

The book is organized clearly from a teacher perspective. There are three major sections organized in the order a teacher would teach a semester. Activities for class introductions called “Getting off to a good start”, “Maintaining Motivation” activities, and activities to “End a semester gracefully”. Anyone who has taught at the university level will immediately comprehend Hall’s design logic. Teachers could “read” this guide the first time in sections as they actually follow the timeline of their classes.

This is how I approached reading this book. As the semester started, I chose activities from the section “Getting off to a good start”.

I began with #9 Making a Name Card. Since there were 24 students in my class, I had them make a name card to put on their desk for the first month so I can call them by their English names. In the past, the students just wrote their names. Hall has suggested that after they write their names, a partner draws a picture of that person next to the name. They can draw a caricature of that person or basically anything they want. This added a fun lightness to class. The graphic actually helped me remember some student names more quickly.

In another class, I tried the #2 Circle Name Game. The students sat in a circle, and the first student had to say his name and what he liked to eat. Then, he passed a ball to the person next to him, and that person had to say the names and food of the people before them and then what they themselves liked. The ball went around, and the students at the end had to remember all the students in the class. This game reminded me of an old ice breaker activity at summer camp when I was a child. Everyone had to speak English and help each other out. I liked it also because it set the expectation that students will be required to speak English often in class.

As I moved into the middle part of the semester, I used Hall’s mid semester “Maintaining Motivation” activities. My goal is to have students up and speaking every class with each other as well as simultaneously using the grammar, vocabulary, and topics of the unit.

#61 4 Posters On the Wall is an example that I used to achieve this goal. As part of a presentation project in my class, the students made a poster and hung it on the wall. As classmates passed by, they stopped and listened to the presentation. Hall’s idea was to provide sticky notes to students and allow them to make comments and stick them on the poster. Classmates had fun being critical with anonymity while presenters received feedback.

I also used #40 Half-a-logue as an English club activity about smoking. I prepared half of a dialogue for two people with a smoking theme. I had the students finish the dialogue, using vocabulary we practiced, and then present the dialogue to the class. Students worked together and applied the vocabulary and grammar we were working on.

In the future, I look forward to trying #56 Creating Dialogue from Sounds and Body Language. For those that like to use video, this activity requires showing a short 5-10 second video without sound, and then students create the dialogue in pairs. This kind of activity can be on theme with your class, or just used as a fun general English activity.

To end a semester, Hall has suggested activities that may or may not interest every teacher as they may not have the time or students with a high enough language level.

Some activities like #68 Personalized Review Sentences or #71 Quiz Quiz Trade are straight forward content review activities.

Others like #95 How We’ve Changed allow students to be retrospective about the semester but wouldn’t really be suitable for my students as the class is only once a week and not a part of their major.

The positive here is that Hall offers activities for all kinds of teachers who can craft them to meet classroom goals.

If you look to encourage more active language speaking among your students, get this book and you’ll never run out of classroom ideas again!

Robert Minor is the founder of Robert’s American School in Kaohsiung City which teaches English to young children in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. He is also a lecturer at the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism in Kaohsiung City. He has a Masters of Education in International Teaching from Framingham State University.



Henshaw, F. G., & Hawkins, M.D (2022). Common ground: Second language acquisition theory goes to the classroom. FOCUS $10 (ebook) $24 (pbk).

Finding connections between theoretical concepts, research, and classroom practices is difficult for teachers (Sato & Lowen, 2019). Educators are left wondering about the best course of action and how to convert what they learn into practical applications. As such, the goal of this book, Common Ground: Second Language Acquisition Theory Goes to the Classroom, is to help teachers bridge the gap between second language acquisition (SLA) principles and classroom practice. This book does not intend to critique current strategies or classroom curriculum, but rather offers a constructive alternative that joins research, theory, and practice. The authors attempt to accomplish this by including various theories of SLA, and specifically, fundamental aspects they believe language educators should consider.

The book is sectioned into three parts: SLA and Pedagogy, Interpretive Communication, and Presentational and Interpersonal Communication. Each section contains two chapters presenting arguments pertaining to the topics. The chapters are divided into three segments. “What Do I Need To Know?” provides the core background information and research that drives the chapter. “What Does It Look Like In The Classroom?” exemplifies ways the chapter’s content can be put into practice, and “Now That You Know” provides thought-provoking questions and discussion prompts.

As mentioned, the first section of this book establishes SLA foundations. These observations have a direct connection to how teachers interpret and translate theories into practice. Chapter 1 discusses the connection between quality of input, communication, and acquisition and references VanPatten’s (2003) findings on communication theory.

Chapter 2 demonstrates ways to determine proficiency through the use of The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) framework. The text addresses each of the four major levels (novice, intermediate, advanced, and superior) and clearly displays guidelines, goals, and specific tasks fit for each stage of proficiency. These standards help teachers to guide pedagogical practices and assess if instruction is moving in the right direction.

Chapter 3 discusses correlations between the use of input and student understanding. Although students are exposed to examples of the target language, not all input contributes to acquisition. The common ground between theory and practice comes with defining “comprehensible input” where students can attempt to extract meaning from the target language in order to form connections. This chapter discusses what level of input exposure is most effective and shines light on Krashen’s (1985) input hypothesis model.

Chapter 4 examines student proficiency in language comprehension and the benefits of interpretive reading and listening for language development. Repetition of words and sounds contribute to acquisition and through incorporating “bi-modal input” learners can read and listen at the same time. Following the debate of quality input, chapter 5 highlights the characteristics of proper output. Teachers tend to view input as passive and output as active participation; however, input must be correctly modeled for students in order for them to produce accurate output.

Lastly, chapter 6 focuses on the negotiation of meaning through interaction tactics. Interaction requires understanding and producing meaning in real time. Appropriate use of feedback also determines developmental rates, as the use of encouragement and correction is a great balancing act.

When it comes to organization, the authors did a remarkable job creating a reader-friendly layout. In terms of utility, this book was designed especially for language instructors as the content reflects fundamental concerns accompanying SLA teaching such as dealing with formal instruction, proficiency-based instruction, and pedagogical decisions. Practitioners specifically in higher education would benefit from this book, as the assessments provided hold learners to an advanced language standard beyond the basics and involve text-analysis and the ability to think critically in a second language. The author provides examples of interpretive, presentational, and computer activities and different ways to shape these assignments based on proficiency level. However, instructors of any subject can use this book as a guide to connect theories with practice. The intention of the book is to keep explanations and concepts straightforward and relatable for anyone in academia to understand.

Although the book has many strengths, it would benefit from more real-life research-based examples and surveys to further defend the author’s pedagogical perspectives discussed throughout the chapters. Overall, from the organization of the book to its way of maximizing understanding through breaking down complex theories into realistic examples, I highly recommend this book. This book is a great addition to the library of any teacher interested in learning how to improve joining theories with practice to reach a common ground.


American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). (2012a). Proficiency guidelines. ACTFL.

Krashen, S. (1985) The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. Longman.

VanPatten, B. (2003). From input to output: A teacher’s guide to second language acquisition. McGraw-Hill.

Shannon Hildreth is a Masters student in the Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language program at the University of South Florida. Her primary research interests include investigating second language acquisition and Interactionist approaches to language instruction.



Deany Goode - HEIS Co-Chair 2022-2023

Adjunct ESL/EAP Instructor

Metropolitan Community College Kansas City - Penn Valley, Kansas City, MO, USA

Deany has a BA in English from the University of Missouri - Kansas City and an MA in TESL from the University of Central Missouri. She has been teaching ESL to refugees, immigrants, and international students at urban community colleges for 14 years. Service is her love language.

Melissa Ferro - HEIS Co-Chair 2022-2023

ESL Instructor –University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA

Melissa has worked as a K-16 language educator and teacher educator for over 20 years. She holds a B.A. in Spanish, an M.Ed in World Language Curriculum and Instruction, and a Ph.D. in Multilingual Multicultural Education. She is currently an ESL Instructor at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining UT Austin, Melissa lived in London, England for four years where she worked as an academic developer at the University of East London and as an ESL pathway-to-university instructor with Kaplan International College of London. For more about Melissa, see her profile here.

Cristina Manea Gultekin—HEIS Community Manager

English Lecturer

School of Foreign Languages Gaziantep University, Gaziantep, Turkey

Cristina Manea Gultekin holds an MA in TESOL and a dual BA in English and French. She has been teaching for more than 20 years, and she is currently located in Turkey where she teaches, trains teachers, and speaks at national and international conferences. She is committed to research related to the psychological and social formation in English language teachers and learners, and the processes and practices through which professional development is implemented and developed continuously for better learning outcomes.

Zhenjie Weng - HEIS Editor

Assistant Professor in English Language

Language and Culture Center, Duke Kunshan University, China

Zhenjie Weng received her Ph.D. in Second, Foreign, and Multilingual Language Education from The Ohio State University. As an English language instructor, she has taught second-language writing in a variety of contexts to both undergraduate and graduate-level multilingual students. As a researcher, she is experienced in publications and has had her research projects published in leading academic journals. As the HEIS editor, she has been serving the role for more than a year and feels honored to be able to continue her service for the HEIS community.

Sheila Ameri - HEIS Assistant Editor

Graduate Teaching Associate, The Ohio State University

Sheila Ameri is a doctoral student in Multilingual Language Education at The Ohio State University. She received her MA TESOL from The New School and a BA in English and Music Management from Georgia State University. With over a decade as an English language teaching professional, she has taught English on three continents with the bulk of her tenure at King Faisal University in Hofuf, Saudi Arabia. She teaches in Ohio State’s Intercultural English Language Program and Department of Teaching and Learning. Her editorial experience includes positions on the Editorial Board of Plot(s) Journal of Design Studies, at Pearson ELT, and most recently as an Editorial Assistant for TESOL Journal.

Link to full res Current Headshot

Alicia Ambler - HEIS Editorial Assistant

Associate Professor of Instruction

Alicia Ambler received her MA in Linguistics with an emphasis on second language acquisition from the University of Iowa. She has taught in ESL Programs at the University of Iowa for 15 years. She teaches in their intensive English program as well as in their ITA program.


Peggy Semingson - HEIS Member at Large

Associate Professor of TESOL, Linguistics and TESOL–The University of Texas at Arlington

Peggy Semingson is an Associate Professor of TESOL in the Department of Linguistics and TESOL at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Eric Grunwald - HEIS Member at Large

Director, English Language Studies–Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Eric Grunwald is director of and lecturer in MIT’s English Language Studies (ELS) program. An instructor in ELS since 2012, he draws on a wide breadth of scholastic and vocational experiences to help students across the disciplines improve their academic and professional communication skills. He presents regularly at conferences in the U.S. and abroad and has received Institute grants to design an undergraduate creative writing course just for bilingual students and to design a website——to instruct students in a formal writing process.


Fatmeh Alalawneh - HEIS Member at Large

Ph.D student, Curriculum and Instruction–University of Toledo in Toledo

Fatmeh Waleed Alalawneh is a Graduate Dean's Fellow and Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio


HEIS is has the following leadership roles open for 2023-2024:

APPLY NOW: Send an email to: and

Include your full title, institution affiliation, and a short bio statement of 50 words that includes why you are interested in this role and any relevant experience.

HEIS Chair-Elect:

Duties include:

  • Preside over HEIS meetings in the temporary absence of the Chair
  • Prepares 1 guaranteed academic panel, in cooperation with the Chair and the Director of Conference Services, for the TESOL annual convention.
  • Conducts an evaluation of the HEIS program offered at the TESOL annual convention and submits a report to the Steering Committee within 60 days after the convention including recommendations for changes to be made the following year.
  • Serves as a HEIS Delegate to the annual Interest Section Assembly Meeting
  • Assists the Chair(s) in carrying out their responsibilities
  • Serves as a voting member of the Steering Committee

HEIS Assistant Chair

Duties include:

  • In the temporary absence of the Chair and the Chair-Elect, presides at all meetings of HEIS and the Steering Committee.
  • Assists the Chair-Elect with planning the HEIS program for the TESOL annual convention, including the decorating and running of the HEIS booth.
  • Performs such additional duties as assigned by the Chair.
  • Serves as a voting ex-officio member of the Steering Committee.

HEIS Secretary

Duties include:

  • Prepares the minutes of the annual business (open) meeting and the meeting of the Steering Committee, if there is one. Distributes the minutes to the Steering Committee members within 60 days after the business (open) meeting for approval and subsequent entry into the permanent records of HEIS and for publication in the HEIS newsletter or periodical. The minutes are also submitted to the Central Office with the HEIS annual report.
  • Prepares for distribution a list of the names, addresses, and professional positions of the Officers, Steering Committee, and Committee members.
  • Prepares true copies of the Governing Rules, resolutions, and authorizations of expenditures for transmittal to appropriate persons or files.
  • Supervises the maintenance of HEIS permanent records and archives.
  • Assists the other officers and committees in carrying out their responsibilities and performs such additional duties as assigned by the Chair.
  • Serves as a voting ex-officio member of the Steering Committee

HEIS Social Media Manager:

Duties include:

  • The HEIS Social Media Manager shall be appointed by the Steering Committee for a 3-year term. The term of office shall be from the close of the TESOL annual convention following appointment until the close of the TESOL annual convention in the year of retirement.
  • The Social Media Manager shall maintain the Social Media as needed, including updating the Web site with new content when available, assisting HEIS members with Web site access issues, periodically informing HEIS members about the Web site, recommending Web site changes to the Steering Committee, and communicating necessary information regarding the Web site to the TESOL Central Office.
  • The Social Media Manager shall make an annual report to the Steering Committee.


Higher Education Interest Section: Call for Submissions

Deadline for Submissions: August 30, 2023

The Higher Education Interest Section (HEIS) of TESOL Int’l invites submissions for the Fall 2023 issue of our IS newsletter. HEIS News is soliciting articles on classroom research and practice concerning English as a second or foreign language in higher education settings worldwide.

The editors welcome articles that apply to classroom situations and focus on

  • ESL/EFL pedagogy
  • second language acquisition
  • academic literacy
  • language assessment
  • applied socio- and psycholinguistics
  • advocacy
  • administration
  • other related areas


Articles should be between 800 and 1,750 words and should pertain to the topics posed above.

Book Reviews

Book reviews of between 600 and 900 words should be about scholarly books and textbooks dealing with English teaching, applied linguistics, second language acquisition, language assessment, or other disciplines as they relate to ESL or TESL instruction in higher education settings.

Send your submissions, as Word documents (no PDFs), to Zhenjie Weng, Sheila Ameri,Alicia Ambler at email no later than midnight, August 30, 2023 Eastern time.

Please follow these submission guidelines for your article:

  • Include a title for the article (written in ALL CAPS).
  • Include author's name, affiliation, city, country, and e-mail.
  • Include a 2 - 3 sentence abstract or teaser for the newsletter homepage.
  • Include a 2- to 3-sentence author biography.
  • Contains no more than five citations.
  • Format text in MS Word (.doc(x)) or rich text (.rtf).
  • Include author's photo in jpeg format with a head-and-shoulder shot.
  • Write manuscript according to APA style (7th ed.).

TEIS Newsletter Editors:

Zhenjie Weng, Duke Kunshan University, China

Shelia Ameri, Ohio State University, USA

Alicia Ambler, University of Iowa, USA