ESPIS Founder Kay Westerfield: 50 At 50 Award Winner

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In this TESOL Blog post, I am pleased to be able to share exciting news about Kay Westerfield, Ronna Timpa, the ELT Leadership Management Certificate Program (Online) (25 April–29 May 2016), and the new ESPIS Board!

On the TESOL website, you can read the following description of the 50 at 50 award winners:

Each [of the 50 leaders] has made a significant contribution to the TESOL profession within the past 50 years. The leaders were selected by the 50th Anniversary Advisory Team from more than 120 nominees.

TESOL International Association congratulates these outstanding TESOL professionals! Their leadership has helped build the association and develop English language teaching and learning into a profession that touches the lives of students and educators worldwide.

Kay Westerfield

50 at 50 Award Winner: Kay Westerfield!

We were extremely pleased to learn that Kay was recognized for her ESP leadership!  In the words of Jaclyn Gishbaugher:

Simply put, Kay Westerfield is a beacon for English for Specific Purposes. In 1992, Kay founded and served as the first chair for the now burgeoning ESP Interest Section. She created a shared vision that still thrives today as does her involvement in the IS. Her leadership roles stretch to TESOL at large as when she became co-chair of TESOL’s Task Force on Standards for Workplace Language Training from 1998-2003 and was elected to TESOL’s Board of Directors from 2010-2013. She has influenced and fortified the field of ESP through her publications, her teacher trainings around the world as a Department of State English Language Specialist, and through her work as Director of the International Business Communication Program at the University of Oregon. She has outstanding communication skills, wisdom, and empathy. Such communication skills, exhibited in her public speaking (at conferences) and in her written communications with ESPIS leaders and other members, have contributed to our professional development in the field. Perhaps her greatest achievement, however, is her dogged quest to find, mentor, and inspire new leaders to take ESP and TESOL into the future. Everyone in the IS has a “Kay” story of how she drew them in and gave them guidance and encouragement. She makes time for everyone through an email, a chat, a hug. The ESPIS, with Kay at its helm, has been a launching pad for the careers of ESP leaders around the world. Accordingly, we extend our gratitude to the founder!

When I contacted Kay about the conference, she shared that there were many people at the ESPIS Open Meeting at TESOL 2016 in Baltimore, especially in the fields of law, health care, and aviation. (Note: I was unable to attend because the academic year was starting in Japan.) Kay also informed me of an important initiative of ESP project leader Ronna Timpa.

Our past ESP IS board member, Ronna Timpa, was an exhibitor this year in the Language Expo to highlight her company’s (Workplace ESL Solutions) new certificate program for language trainers working in the hospitality industry. Very cool! People are always asking where and how to receive training in setting up a workplace language training program. Ronna also gave an excellent session on “How to start and grow a workplace ESL business.”

In connection with the ESP project leader profiles, be sure to check out the ELT Leadership Management Certificate Program (Online), in which the ESP project leader profiles will be used. The program is being conducted by Dr. Neil Anderson (who was the 2014 recipient of the prestigious James Alatis Service Award to TESOL) and Dr. Fernando Fleurquin.

Finally, please allow me to introduce the leaders on the 2016–17 ESPIS Board:

  • Chair, Robert T. Connor
  • Chair-Elect, Esther Perez Apple
  • Past Chair, Jaclyn J. Gishbaugher
  • Newsletter Editors, Roberta Diamond, Kevin Knight
  • Community Manager, Tarana Patel
  • Secretary/Archivist, Karen Schwelle
  • Member-at-Large, Christina DeCoursey ‎
  • Member-at-Large, Robin Sulkosky
  • Member-at-Large, Marvin Hoffland
  • English for Occupational Purposes Representatives, Elizabeth Mathews, John Butcher
  • English for Academic Purposes Representatives, Julie MacRae, Andrew Millford

At this time, three of the board members above are scheduled to have ESP project leader profiles published in the next few months. In addition, as the ESP News co-editor, I am hoping to share with you the stories of ESP practitioners and ESP best practices around the world!

I look forward to seeing you in Seattle at TESOL 2017!

All the best,


About Kevin Knight

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight (PhD in Linguistics, MBA, MPIA) is an associate professor in the Department of International Communication (International Business Career major) and has also been working in the Career Education Center of Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. In the TESOL ESP Interest Section (ESPIS), he has served as chair and English in occupational settings (EOS) representative, and he is currently the ESPIS community manager. He was also a member of the Governance Review Task Force (GRTF) appointed by the board of directors. In addition, he has been a TESOL blogger in the area of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). He has more than 30 years of professional experience working for private, public, and academic sector institutions including Sony and the Japan Patent Office. His doctoral research on leadership communication (i.e., discourse) as a basis for leadership development was under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Christopher Candlin and Dr. Alan Jones.
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2 Responses to ESPIS Founder Kay Westerfield: 50 At 50 Award Winner

  1. Nahida El Assi says:

    Dear Kevin,
    I find all your posts interesting. I am just wondering whether or not you are reading my comments.
    This is the third time I am asking about ESP textbooks that you might be able to recommend for teaching English in the workplace, English for business, English for entrepreneurship, English for health care, etc.
    Could you please advise me?

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