From the Immediate Past President
Source: CLTA Newsletter 25.3. December 2001, pp. 6-8.
Invoking the image of 2001: Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 movie, the theme of ACTFL 2001, the 35th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), was “A Professional Odyssey: Exploring New Spaces.” The theme of this year’s convention is indeed apt, as we usher in the new millennium with year 2001, and explore new spaces in acquiring greater professional knowledge of foreign language studies, foreign language education, and international communication.
Among ACTFL’s oldest member organizations is our Chinese Language Teachers Association, established since 1962 and affiliated with ACTFL since the formation of ACTFL out of the Modern Language Association (MLA) in 1967. (See <http://clta.deall.ohio-state.edu/clta_actfl.htm>.) CLTA has thus benefited from several decades of collaboration with ACTFL on issues of interest and concern to foreign-language teachers and foreign-language teaching organizations throughout the United States. One very important ACTFL-initiated project is the “New Visions in Action” project, involving PreK through 16+ foreign language educators nationwide. The project is a collaborative effort to improve the foreign-language teaching profession, by identifying and implementing the actions necessary to improve foreign language programs throughout the United States. Thus, the new millennium promises to continue CLTA’s critical role in collaborating with other organizations dedicated to foreign-language teaching and foreign language education.
CLTA is a professional organization whose purpose is to advance the teaching and learning of the Chinese language, and to encourage and disseminate study and research in Chinese language pedagogy, Chinese linguistics, and Chinese literature. Over the years, papers presented at our annual meetings have reflected topics relevant to all three areas of teaching and research. At the same time that we, as an organization, reach out to other foreign-language organizations, we also need to maintain dialogue with scholars and colleagues in the three related fields of Chinese studies, fields that are reflected in the teaching and research at East Asian languages departments in the country, namely: Chinese language pedagogy, Chinese linguistics, and Chinese literature. CLTA’s continued affiliation with the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) also bespeak our recognition that linguistics, literature, and language pedagogy are, in turn, part of the larger arena of East Asian culture and East Asian history. Thus, we enter the new millennium, ready to meet new challenges in exploring new spaces in the galaxy of international communication, foreign language studies, literary studies, linguistic studies, and cultural studies.
In this first year of the new millennium, changes that have been taking place at the Association level as well as at the national level have been reported to the membership in the CLTA Newsletter via messages from the President, the Vice President, the Executive Director, as well as via other means of disseminations, such as printing of the full text of the newly-voted upon and ratified 2001 CLTA By-laws (in the September 2001 issue of the Newsletter). We look back to the past year’s activities of the Chinese Language Teaching Association with a brief reporting of the information disseminated at the 2001 CLTA General Membership Meeting in Washington, DC. Chairing the meeting as the CLTA President, I was accompanied by my trusty notebook, connected to an LCD projector, and thus taking advantage of the technology and hardware available, so that the meeting agenda could be displayed for easy viewing on the screen.
The meeting opened with an introduction of the (2001) Board of Directors who were elected by the CLTA membership, together with the four incoming Directors: Jianhua Bai, Mien-hwa Chiang, Stephen Fleming, and Lucy Lee. (The new slate of officers and directors is online at: <http://clta.deall.ohio-state.edu/officers.htm>.) Each of the Directors had an opportunity to introduce himself/herself in front the audience, and in some cases, to make some announcements concerning this year’s program changes, welcoming members to the 2002 CLTA meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, and so forth. Those introductions were followed by corresponding self-introductions (and announcements) by the appointed officers of the Association.
With time constraints, only some of the activities of the board over the past year were reported or touched upon at the general membership meeting. These activities are expanded upon in the following paragraphs. In any event, at the conclusion of the meeting, the President thanked all the appointed officers, committee chairs, and Board of Directors for their diligence. Special thanks went to Cyndy Ning for her hard work and dedication at CLTA’s headquarters in University of Hawaii. Also thanked was the audience for taking time to attend the general membership meeting, despite the late hour when all must be starved by then. The meeting adjourned just after the scheduled 8:30 p.m. end of the meeting.
One of the activities at the general membership meeting was the announcement of Dr. John Young as this year’s recipient of the Walton Award, with Awards Committee Chair, Xiaohong Wen, presenting, amidst the warm applause from the audience, the award to Dr. Young, a founding member of CLTA and for many years also the CLTA Secretary-Treasurer (today’s CLTA Executive Director). (For more on Dr. Young as the recipient of this year’s Walton Award, see the separate announcement in this issue of the Newsletter.) Jane Parish Young, as our liaison with our affiliate organization, the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), invited everyone to attend the CLTA-sponsored, border-crossing session, entitled “Asian Languages in the Area Studies Curriculum-Challenges Ahead,” which will be take place at the 2002 AAS meeting in Washington, DC. Ted Yao reported in his capacity as elected co-chair of the Chinese Language Field Initiative’s National Chinese Language Commission (see <http://clta.deall.ohio-state.edu/clta_clfi.htm>), and alerted all to a field-wide survey that will be administered through the Commission. (Cornelius Kubler, the other elected co-chair of the Commission, was unable to attend the CLTA annual meeting this year.)
The CLTA board, including elected and appointed officers, chairs of the standing and ad hoc committees and committee members, has been working extremely hard during the past year, with CLTA business conducted via email correspondence, including voting via email ballot. Nominating Committee Chair, Martha Gallagher, together with help from committee members (Chih-p’ing Chou and Dana Bourgerie), Cyndy Ning, and others on the board, took care of the 2001 elections. Zheng-sheng Zhang worked on the 2001 CLTA program, with help from board member, Tianwei Xie, and CLTA member, Hongyin Tao. Special thanks go to CLTA member, Professor Chung-wen Shih, for making local arrangements for this year’s CLTA banquet. Everyone enjoyed the social get-together and feast at Tony Cheng’s Seafood Restaurant.
Awards Committee Chair, Xiaohong Wen, and her committee members (Tianwei Xie and Claudia Ross) drafted guidelines for the three awards that are currently administered by the CLTA Board of Directors, namely: the Walton Award, the Walton Presentation Prize, and the Cheng & Tsui Professional Development Award. Detailed guidelines for the administration of the awards were submitted to the board and approved by the board via email ballot in spring. The awards and information on eligibility, etc., were then announced in the September 2001 issue of the CLTA Newsletter and was placed online as well (URL: <http://clta.deall.ohio-state.edu/awards.htm>). The Awards Committee will, beginning with the new Board of Directors, be a standing committee, as per the 2001 CLTA By-laws. The ad hoc By-laws Revision Committee, chaired by Claudia Ross, drafted the revision of the 1996 bylaws that were ultimately approved by the board of directors in spring, and then sent out from CLTA Headquarters for membership vote. The 2001 revision of the CLTA By-laws, ratified as of 15 June 2001, was published in the September 2001 issue of the CLTA Newsletter, with a corresponding online copy also available at the CLTA website (URL: <http://clta.deall.ohio-state.edu/bylaws/>).
The Steering Committee, composed of the elected officers and two board members (James Dew and Jing-heng Ma), worked with Cyndy Ning on various aspects of the move of CLTA Headquarters to University of Hawaii, including repeated communication with old CLTA headquarters for past book-keeping and financial records. (To date, CLTA headquarters at U.H. has only received the Association’s past three years of income tax information.) The Steering Committee also took on the task of updating the CLTA Handbook for Officers and Directors, a handbook first created by Cynthia Ning when she was CLTA President in 1999. As she indicated in her presidential message in the September 1999 issue of the Newsletter (also available online <http://clta.deall.ohio-state.edu/prez/prez_1999-09.htm>, she had taken, as her major charge for CLTA, “the production of an officer’s handbook, so that procedural knowhow and institutional records of the association can be readily accessible in writing.” In recognition of the importance of the Handbook for guiding the Board of Directors in their work for the Association, I made it a task for the Steering Committee to update the Handbook. The 2001 edition of the Handbook is the result of that commitment. Now 102 pages in length, it contains 29 more pages than the original 1999 edition. The Table of Contents was shown to the general membership at the November meeting. Included, for example, are past minutes of the CLTA Board of Directors (1991 through 2000), budgets and financial statements from recent years, and guidelines for standing committees and their chairs. Cyndy Ning, in her September 1999 presidential message and at the 1999 CLTA general membership meeting, invited members to contact her for requests of a copy of the Handbook. Rather than follow her footstep in responding to individual requests, current and previous copies of the Handbook can be accessed at <http://clta.deall.ohio-state.edu/handbook/>.
At the general meeting, since not everyone in the audience had visited the CLTA Homepage, as CLTA Webmaster, I took the opportunity to display some of the webpages from the CLTA website (e.g., the main page, the CLTA 2001 Program, etc.). The general membership meeting concluded with a display of the 2001 CLTA Financial Statement, and a brief reporting by Cynthia Ning, elaborating on some of the figures shown in the Excel spreadsheet on the screen, including 2001 income (as of 11/13/01) and CLTA assets (as of 10/31/01).
The first year of the move of CLTA Headquarters to the University of Hawaii required much patience from the membership, and we thank you all. We also appreciate your understanding in the late publication of issues of the Journal this past year, while we settle into a new routine. There were also some matters that had to be placed in the back burner during this year of transition to the new headquarters. These include looking into online and offline membership payment via credit card, and reduced registration rates from ACTFL for retirees in the profession. These matters, along with next year’s 40th anniversary activities, and other exciting things, are in the capable hands of our new President, Claudia Ross, and her new team.
My personal thanks to the CLTA Board of Directors and appointed officers for their hard work and dedication during the past year of my term as President. Our gratitude to outgoing Directors, Chuanren Ke, Tianwei Xie, Xiaohong Wen, and Jane Parish Yang, for their service during their term on the Board of Directors. No one walks alone, as ACTFL keynote speaker, Ronan Tynan, noted; for me, the road was paved with teamwork from a great group of team players on the board. My sincere thanks go to the CLTA membership for giving me the opportunity to serve the Association as its President during the past year. The experience has been a deeply rewarding one for me, as I tried to do my part in taking our Association into the 21st century, into the new millennium, and in contributing to the professionalization of our Association.
I’ll end with a brief mention of my presentation on “Concordancers, Concordances, and Chinese Language Teaching” at the 2001 CLTA meeting. Due to time delay in setting up the computer and LCD projector, my presentation was semi-completed. While an article-length paper is forthcoming, a Powerpoint version of the presentation is now online for interested souls. The URL is: <http://deall.ohio-state.edu/chan.9/conc/chan_clta_2001.pps>.
Season’s greetings to all!
With my usual “thump and zap,” glitches and all, due to having missed our CLTA Newsletter Editor’s Nov. 30 deadline,
Marjorie K.M. Chan
The Ohio State University
4 December 2001