From the President

March 2001

Source: CLTA Newsletter 25.1. March 2001, pp. 3-4.

Happy New Millennium to all!

January 2001 saw a smooth transition of CLTA Headquarters, from Kalamazoo College to the University of Hawaii, thanks to the efforts of outgoing Executive Director, Madeline Chu, and incoming Executive Director, Cynthia Ning. The new Executive Director, nominated by last year’s CLTA President, Chuanren Ke, and approved by the CLTA Board of Directors, will serve a four-year term ending 31 December 2004, with renewal possible, as per Article VI of the CLTA By-laws concerning appointed officers of CLTA (URL: <http://clta-us.org/bylaws/art6.htm> [URL updated]). Our hearty welcome to Cyndy Ning in her new role as CLTA Executive Director.

The move of CLTA Headquarters to the University of Hawaii is accompanied by other changes. One major change affects the Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association. Beginning with 2001, services related to printing of the Journal and to sales of back issues will be managed by the National East Asian Languages Resource Center’s Foreign Language Publications & Services at the Ohio State University (URL: <http://flc.ohio-state.edu/flpubs/>). The contract between CLTA and OSU’s NEALRC/FLPubs was signed in March 2001 by CLTA President, CLTA Executive Director, FLPubs Executive Director, and FLPubs Managing Editor. With the delay in contract-signing, there is the inevitable, concomitant delay in the printing and distribution of the February 2001 issue of the Journal. Our sincere apologies for the publication lag for the February issue, but aim to have the Journal back on schedule for the May issue.

While the official move of CLTA Headquarters to University of Hawaii took place on 1 January 2001, changing of the guard with respect to Board of Directors and elected officers of CLTA took place upon the adjournment of the Annual Meeting of the CLTA Board of Directors and Officers on 16 November 2000 in Boston, as part of the 2000 Annual Meeting of CLTA. See, in this issue, Board member, James Dew’s summary report of that board meeting, based on reports prepared for the meeting and the minutes of that meeting. Since the November meeting, chairs and members of standing and ad hoc committees have been busy. For instance, Zheng-sheng Zhang, Program Chair, and committee member, Tianwei Xie, are working on various stages of the CLTA program and scheduling of meetings and the annual banquet. Martha Gallagher, Nominating Chair, together with Chih-p’ing Chou and Dana Scott Bourgerie, is working on nominations for the upcoming CLTA election. Xiaohong Wen, Awards Committee Chair, and her committee members, Claudia Ross and Tianwei Xie, are drafting a set of general procedures and guidelines for new and existing CLTA awards. (See the announcement on the awards in this issue.) The newest set of awards to be administered by the CLTA Awards Committee comes from the Cheng & Tsui Professional Development Fund. (See C&T President, Jill Cheng’s speech delivered at the 2000 CLTA General Membership Meeting. URL: <http://clta-us.org/awards/ct-fund-speech.htm> [URL updated].) The Steering Committee, consisting of the President, Vice President, Immediate Past President, and two Board members, James Dew and Jing-heng Ma, have been taking care of various matters pertaining to the move of CLTA Headquarters to University of Hawaii, and working out an agreement between University of Hawaii and the Chinese Language Teachers Association, including “buying” release time for CLTA’s new Executive Director to perform her duties, using what had been an annual stipend for the CLTA Executive Director.

Other major changes to launch the new millennium include revision of the CLTA By-laws, which will be submitted to the CLTA membership for ratification. In charge of this task that was begun in November 1999, is our very capable Vice President/President-Elect, Claudia Ross. Most important among the proposed changes to the By-laws is the creation of a Finance Committee, which is charged with reviewing the budget of the Association and all of the Association’s investments, and with advising the Board of Directors annually on the financial condition of the Association. Other changes include the addition of CLTA Webmaster as an appointed officer position, alongside those of Journal Editor and Newsletter Editor, and changes on the dates of the Association’s fiscal year. As ratification of the CLTA By-laws revision requires a vote from the general membership, the Board plans to conduct this process via mail ballot. This will take place in spring or early summer, so please watch for the ballot in the mail and cast your vote.

The start of the new millennium also marks the 25th anniversary of our CLTA Newsletter. To celebrate this occasion, our CLTA Newsletter Editor, Ted Yao, has graciously prepared a short history of the Newsletter for this issue. The new millennium and the Newsletter’s 25th anniversary also serve as timely reminders that our Association has a history, albeit a fairly short one, with establishment of CLTA only since 1962. Thus, while we look forward to many exciting challenges in the Chinese language teaching profession in the new millennium, we need also to look back to our Association’s past and to reclaim its history. Ted Yao’s “reconstructing” of the Newsletter’s history is part of that endeavor. And CLTA’s homepage will be adding information on the Association’s past, including past CLTA Headquarters, and Board of Directors and Officers. A web page highlighting CLTA activities and accomplishments over the years will also be added to our CLTA website (URL: <http://clta-us.org> [URL updated]).

Before ending this presidential message, for those going to the 2001 AAS meeting in Chicago (22-25 March 2001), do plan to attend the CLTA-sponsored panel (Session 126, Saturday, March 24, 8:30 a.m.): “Acquiring Competence: Chinese Language Study in the Asian Studies Curriculum.” Organized and chaired by CLTA Board member, Jane Parish Yang (Lawrence University), other panelists are: Chuanren Ke (University of Iowa), Honggang Jin (Hamilton College), Galal Walker (Ohio State University), Joseph Fewsmith (Boston University), and Yanfang Tang (The College of William and Mary).

Enjoy the springtime and happy teaching! Our students may know that English is the lingua franca of our global economy, but learning of a foreign language such as Chinese is increasingly becoming a career plus, and oftentimes a career must.

Marjorie K.M. Chan
08 March 2001