Inspiration for ESP Collaboration: GPS at UCSD

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

At the same time that TESOL International Association is making changes to its governance, the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies  (IR/PS) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is changing its name. The new name of IR/PS will be the School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) at UCSD. In this TESOL Blog post, I will explore how GPS may be considered a model for collaboration among ESPers worldwide.

In the press release above concerning the name change, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla is quoted as follows:

“The UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy is preparing a new generation of leaders who are solving complex problems in a diverse and interconnected world,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The name change reflects the school’s impact as a premier international research institution that is at the forefront of international research and policy discussions that will have an impact for generations to come.”

The impact of GPS is certainly apparent in the accomplishments of its faculty. I was particularly inspired by a UC San Diego News Center article about Professor Barbara Walter’s award-winning blog.

For quickly explaining complex world events, blogs can beat news articles and academic papers. That is Barbara Walter’s belief and why the political science professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) launched Political Violence @ a Glance, a blog designed to consistently produce expert analysis of problems related to violence and protest in the world’s conflict zones.

How does this information about GPS relate to the TESOL ESP Interest Section? It is my belief that we can and should leverage our ESP connections and knowledge for solving global problems. For example, how can we produce “a blog designed to consistently produce expert analysis of problems” related to ESP worldwide?

One step in this direction is the ESP project leader communication profiles. These TESOL Blog posts are bringing to ESP practitioners and researchers in contexts all over the world insights into how ESP professionals use communication in the workplace to achieve success. At present, ESP project leader communication profiles are scheduled from May 2015 (i.e., Kristin Ekkens) to March 2016. You can expect to see at least one ESP project leader profile per month.

In the future, I would also hope to see online collaborations among ESP trainers, ESP researchers, and non-ESP professionals (e.g., doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.). Through such collaborations, I am hoping that we can explore how to address communication issues in the workplace worldwide. (My doctoral thesis supervisor, recently deceased Emeritus Professor Christopher Candlin, was very active in creating conferences that brought the three groups together. His passing is a significant loss to our field.)

Finally, as I noted in a comment to the Kristin Ekkens’s ESP project leader communication profile, TESOL has stated that the blog posts may be used in a class as long as you give credit to the source and to the authors. Again, we are all very pleased that the blog posts are of value to practitioners and researchers. I am hoping that these profiles will be of value for years to come.

In my own case, I showed the blog post featuring Kristin to the undergraduate students in one of my leadership seminars in Japan. In that class, all of the students are female, and  Kristin became a model of success for these young women. Further, we could see how Kristin communicated her success in English, and we could discuss how she had displayed leadership.

If you have any suggestions about how we can work together as ESP professionals to address global challenges, please post your comments in the Leave A Reply section below. Thank you!

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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