TESOL Association: Update on Governance Review

Thank you to all those who took the time to review the report from the Governance Review Task Force, and share your feedback. As many of you observed, the review was a very thoughtful and deliberative process to analyze the governance system of the association and evaluate its effectiveness in meeting the needs of members and the field. Based on the data collected by the task force—data provided by many of you—the review provided strong indications that the governance system may no longer be as effective in serving members and the field as it was when it was originally developed several decades ago.

The challenge in moving forward is how best to respond to the results of the review. While the report provided a very comprehensive list of options and alternatives for consideration, it’s clear based on the feedback received by the board that:

  1. There have been many different reactions to the findings and recommended options and alternatives, ranging from positive to negative.
  2. There are equally as many different ideas among members and leaders as to the role and purpose of a professional association.
  3. Some have a pronounced lack of trust with the leadership of the association.

This last statement is especially troubling, because trust is one of the critical elements of the vision of effective governance developed as a part of this process, and is vital in moving forward. With that in mind, the board has decided more time is necessary to deliberate on these issues before deciding what steps will be taken. Discussions will continue through the next board meeting in October, after which additional information will be shared with leaders and members on how the process will unfold.

A revised timeline has been developed and is available on the Governance Review information page on the TESOL web site. The board is committed to moving deliberately on this important initiative, and making the whole process transparent and collaborative. As always, your feedback and comments are welcome and highly valued.

Warm regards,

Yilin Sun, PhD
President, 2014-2015
TESOL International Association
Advancing Excellence in English Language Teaching
Coordinator, Internship Program/El-Civics Program
TESOL/Basic and Transitional Studies Division
South Seattle College
206-934-5193 (off)
Seattle WA USA 98106

About Yilin Sun

Yilin Sun
Yilin Sun has served as president of TESOL International Association, as chair of the TESOL Affiliate Leadership Council, and president of Washington Association for the Education of Speakers of Other Languages (WAESOL). In 2011-2012, Dr. Sun was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Taiwan at the National Taiwan Normal University. Dr. Sun received her doctorate in applied linguistics/curriculum and instruction from the University of Toronto, Canada. She has more than 28 years of experience in the field of TESOL as a teacher educator, a researcher, a classroom teacher, and a program leader with various institutions of higher education in China, Canada, and the United States. She is the author and co-author of books, book chapters, and research papers in refereed professional journals. Her research interests include curriculum development, program assessment and evaluation, L2 reading, vocabulary learning, classroom-based action research, teacher education, adult education, teaching English to young learners, World Englishes, ESP and nonnative English speaking teachers (NNEST) in the ELT field.
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One Response to TESOL Association: Update on Governance Review

  1. Rob Dickey says:

    I am supportive of the extended time for review and consideration. I feel that the governance review has basically set out to “downsize” and “rightsize” the organization while carefully avoiding these terms of death from the 1980s. Is the organization clumsy (non-nimble)? Yes. Do you really expect differently in an organization of 14,000 working professional from myriad lands and teaching contexts? Are committees and ISs slow and less responsive? Yes, because they are staffed by busy volunteers and most members do not participate in the groups they have self-selected. To do more would require higher membership dues, something no one is supportive, and publisher support is decreasing.

    TESOL central (not just office, but leadership) seems entirely too oriented to policy, arguing pros and cons in DC and in messages to members, without confirming that most members are supportive both of extensive policy activity in the first place, and specific policies in particular. The governance problem in TESOL is responsiveness to members at the higher administration/leadership level, not the mechanisms of governance in ISs and Committees. Frankly, most members just don’t care (I think — but you didn’t ask those questions to members!)

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