March 2014
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Leadership Updates
Eli Hinkel, Seattle University, Seattle, WA USA

This is my last From the Chair column, as I am getting ready to exit. Dr. Hayriye Kayi-Aydar will become ALIS chair in just a few minutes (see Hayriye's item in this newsletter). Hayriye's leadership skills and administrative prowess will surely become the stuff of legend and pure awesomeness. ALIS is fortunate to have her at the helm. Welcome! And good luck.

ALIS People News

Dr. Olga Griswold, who has been co-editor of the ALIS Forum for the past almost 4 years, has decided to step down from her position, but not to step out of ALIS. For a while, I found myself bemoaning the Forum's fate and anticipating disaster. Olga, we will miss your people and editorial skills. Thank you very much for your years of dedicated, excellent, and much-needed service to the Forum and ALIS. Thank you.

Serendipity and good fortune continue to accompany the (blessed) Forum. May it be blessed. Dr. Benjamin White has volunteered to co-edit the ALIS Forum with Jana Moore, our continuing co-editor and pillar of stability. We thank him for doing this. Ben, we are delighted to have you, and the Forum needs you. Welcome. We promise to help in every way that we can.

Jana Moore and her family are also on the move. From Japan to Honolulu, Hawaii. My bet is that the beaches are better in Hawaii than in Tokyo (there are no beaches in Tokyo outside of a few select clubs), although there are probably fewer bento boxes prepared for lunch in Hawaii. Jana, our sincere best wishes to you in your new beginnings.

Kara Hunter is also moving on from her position as ALIS immediate past chair. Kara has worked tirelessly and persistently on IS elections, slates, candidates for vacant positions, bio statements, statements of purpose currently required by the TESOL Central Office of all those who aspire to ALIS greatness, emails, and expressions of gratitude. Kara, our turn to be thankful to you for the tremendous amount of work and dedication you have given to the cause of ALIS for the past 3 years. Well done, and thank you.

Nihat Polat is the new-new ALIS chair-elect-elect, who will begin his term as chair-elect on Saturday, March 29, at the convention closing. Nihat will serve as ALIS chair during 2015–2016. Welcome. Congratulations and our best wishes on your ALIS election.

Nihat's biography is below:

Nihat Polat (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) is an associate professor of applied linguistics and L2 teacher education and the director of the Master’s and Teacher Certification Program in ESL at Duquesne University. His research interests include identity, socialization, motivation, beliefs, self-concept, cyber ecologies, and gender in L2 acquisition as well as the nature of change in teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and practices. He has published in numerous journals, including Modern Language Journal, Language Learning & Technology, Linguistics and Education, and so forth. He is also a consulting editor for the Journal of Educational Research.

ALIS Is Turning 40

ALIS will turn 40 this year! This is a major benchmark that deserves a big celebration. ALIS dates back to 1974, and its original early members included Robert Kaplan and Bernard Spolsky. At the time, ALIS served as the only applied linguistics venue for pedagogical and research activities in the United States. During the Open Meeting in Dallas, some advanced the idea that ALIS should host a reception to mark this important event.

To mark the occasion, Robert Kaplan has graciously accepted our invitation to join us during the ALIS Open Meeting in Portland, 6:45–8:15 pm, Thursday, March 27, B117, Convention Center. Bob, thank you very much for being willing to join us. We genuinely look forward to this opportunity to rub elbows with the ALIS Founding Father, who made this oldest IS come into existence. Thank you very much—we are grateful. In addition, our thanks also goes to Tommi Grover and Multilingual Matters/Channel View Publications for helping us organize our reunion with Robert Kaplan. Thank you.

Other important applied linguistics leaders and TESOL big-wigs who might, may, can, or will come to the Open Meeting include Marianne Celce-Murcia, Neil Anderson, and Rosa Aronson, TESOL Executive Director.

It goes without saying that all receptions—even small ones—cost money. TESOL Central Office will provide refreshments (cookies, so please be sure to have dinner before or after) and soft drinks (soda, tea, and coffee).

Come one, come all. Please attend the Open Meeting on Thursday evening and bring your own sandwich, apple, or candy bar. We will clank our plastic containers, sing sea shanties, and celebrate in earnest. ALIS is the one of oldest ISs at TESOL.

ALIS 2014 Convention and Proposal Statistics

This is important for all of you who are proposal submitters. You know who you are. Here are ALIS proposal statistics, quick and dirty:



ALIS unique reviewers who read and rated convention proposals for various ISs (and not just ALIS)


Proposals submitted to ALIS

Concurrent sessions
Poster sessions




Sessions allotted to ALIS (all types, except the invited sessions)

Concurrent sessions

Poster sessions

Potentials (not included in the allotted)





Conclusions, quick and dirty:

  • The acceptance rate of all ALIS proposals: 18.75%
  • The acceptance rate for concurrent sessions: 16.18%
  • The acceptance rate for poster sessions: 62.50%

In short, if you'd like to have a better chance of getting your proposal accepted, posters is the way go. My own personal conclusion is that only masochists submit proposals for concurrent sessions.

Unfortunately, I have no statistics for other ISs. It would be great, however, if TESOL would make them available. Would be great, wouldn't it? (A rhetorical question.)

To Keep in Mind for the Future

TESOL proposal reviewers who submitted their application forms in 2012 had to submit them again in 2013 because now there is a new piece of software to process them. One aspect of the new online form that has caused a lot of headaches is that it allowed checking off only two to four boxes for the reviewers' areas of expertise. Of course, in the ESL/EFL world, where most teachers and researchers typically work with a number of L2 skills, such a small number of areas proved to be very limiting. The current design of the software simply refused to accept the completed form if one checked more expertise boxes. On the bright side, potential reviewers who worked their way through the 45-minute training video in 2012 did not have to repeat it in 2013.

Finally and conclusively yours,

Eli Hinkel

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What do you appreciate most about attending the annual TESOL conference?
participating in workshops and other sessions
catching up with colleagues from around the globe
making new friends
seeing a new city

ALIS Open Business Meeting
Please join us on Thursday night (3/27) during the TESOL conference for the Applied Linguistics IS meeting from 6:45-8:15 p.m. in room B117 of the Convention Center. We will be celebrating our 40th year as an interest section! We hope to see you there!
ITAIS Open Business Meeting
Please join us at the TESOL conference on Thursday night (3/27) for our ITA Interest Section Open Meeting from 5:00 pm–6:30 pm (C121 Convention Center). We look forward to seeing you there!
Recent TESOL Press Releases
TESOL and ETS Announce 2014 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research
Dr. Stephen Bax's article introduces the first ever use of eye tracking technology to research cognitive processing in language tests.

TESOL and National Geographic Learning Announce 2014 TESOL Teacher of the Year
City College of San Francisco tenured EFL instructor Ann Fontanella named 2014 TESOL Teacher of the year.