The 25th ESP Project Leader Profile: Laurence Anthony

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In this 25th ESP Project Leader Profile, it is my pleasure to present to you an ESP researcher and practitioner in Japan, Dr. Laurence Anthony. According to his bio:

Laurence Anthony is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, Japan. He is a former director and current program coordinator of the Center for English Language Education in Science and Engineering at Waseda University. His main interests are in corpus linguistics, educational technology, and English for specific purposes (ESP) program design and teaching methodologies. He received the National Prize of the Japan Association for English Corpus Studies (JAECS) in 2012 for his work in corpus software tools design.

You can learn more about Laurence at his website. The program that Laurence describes below will soon be 10 years old.  Are you interested in what has been called “the best English curriculum for science and engineering students in Japanese universities”? If so, please continue reading.


 

laurence-anthony

Dr. Laurence ANTHONY

Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, Japan

Contact: anthony@waseda.jp

Define leadership in your own words.

Leadership to me is first and foremost about maximizing the potential and effectiveness of the group. But I think it is also about maximizing harmony, satisfaction, and success within the group.  The two dimensions are intrinsically related. To achieve these various aims, I think a leader needs to focus primarily on individuals. That means listening to the people within the group and trying to understand their strengths, weaknesses, pressures, and constraints. It also means understanding the contexts and pressures on individuals that work outside the group who have a direct or indirect impact on the group’s workings. Once a leader has gained an understanding of the complexities of the different stakeholders, they can begin to form a vision of where the group can, could, or should be heading, and start working to make that a reality.

Tell me an ESP project success story. Focus on your communication as a leader in the project. How did you communicate with stakeholders to make that project successful?

Project

Re-inventing the Center for English Language Education in Science and Engineering (CELESE) Technical English Program at Waseda University

Background

Back in 2004, the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University, Japan, wanted to initiate a new English program that would develop their students’ technical reading, writing, and presentation skills. To implement this new initiative, the university created the Center for English Language Education in Science and Engineering (CELESE) and hired three new tenured faculty members with backgrounds in science and engineering.

Unfortunately, trust in the established English faculty was at an all-time low. So, instead of focusing on teaching, the new program was designed to encourage students to take general standardized English tests and even exempted students with very high test scores from all required English classes.

Planning for Change

As one of the newly hired faculty members with a role to implement this new program, I felt it was first necessary to understand why trust in the established English faculty had been lost, and why promoting standardized test taking was considered to be an improvement over teaching. It was also necessary to establish who was promoting the new program, who was against it, and the individuals’ reasons for their feelings and actions. To achieve this, I needed to attend various meetings, discuss the situation with group members, and talk to outside stakeholders, including the faculty dean and university president. Only after understanding the complexities of the new program was it possible to start considering if and how the new program could be redesigned to better meet the goals of the students and address the desires and constraints of the faculty members.

Implementing Change

Many changes to the program needed to be initiated at the level of design, materials, and assessment. For example, it was clear that the students needed to develop technical reading, writing, and presentation skills that were not being addressed through studying solely for the standardized English tests, so new courses aimed at developing these skills were created.

It was also clear that highly proficient students with high test scores were not being challenged by the program. So, program-wide streaming (ability grouping) was introduced, and special sections of courses were created for the more advanced students.

It was also necessary to address the personnel hiring processes and the expectations of both part-time and full-time faculty members. Initiating changes in personnel procedures was a very sensitive issue and required interviewing all faculty members, learning about their views of students and their own teaching methods, and finally gaining the trust of the non-English faculty by explaining the new goals and hiring procedures of the program in a logical and persuasive way.

Measuring Success

The revised CELESE program was fully implemented in 2007 and continues in mostly the same form today. Internally, the CELESE faculty members cooperate in harmony together working to create new materials, assessment procedures, and teacher training programs. The non-English faculty members also appear satisfied with the program to the extent that it is commonly cited as a model for other faculty English programs.

Perhaps the best measure of success is the assessment the program received from external reviewers. We asked experts from academia and industry to observe our classes and materials and report on what they found. We were very happy to see that the reviewer from one of the largest manufacturing companies in Japan had described our program as “the best English curriculum for science and engineering students in Japanese universities.”


I feel very fortunate to have been able to include this inspiring profile of Laurence with those of the other 25 ESP project leaders to date. My understanding is that more than 10,000 students have completed the CELESE program at Waseda University, and Laurence is recognized worldwide as an ESP expert in Asia.

The ESP Project Leader Profiles focus on the leadership conceptualization and the professional communication and actions of ESP project leaders. The profiles are listed as a reference in the TESOL ELT Leadership Management Certificate Program Online. Please see the previous 24 profiles listed below.

  1. May 5, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Kristin Ekkens
  2. June 2, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Charles Hall
  3. July 14, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Ronna Timpa
  4. August 11, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Evan Frendo
  5. September 8, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Jaclyn Gishbaugher
  6. October 6, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Anne Lomperis
  7. October 20, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Ethel Swartley
  8. November 3, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: David Kertzner
  9. December 1, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Margaret van Naerssen
  10. December 15, 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Marvin Hoffland
  11. January 12, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: John Butcher
  12. January 26, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Karen Schwelle
  13. February 23, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Esther Perez Apple
  14. March 8, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Kevin Knight
  15. April 5, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan
  16. May 3, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Robert Connor
  17. May 17, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Jigang Cai
  18. June 14, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Ismaeil Fazel
  19. June 28, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Yilin Sun
  20. July 26, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Tarana Patel
  21. August 23, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Prithvi Shrestha
  22. September 6, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Robin Sulkosky
  23. October 18, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Philip Chappell
  24. November 2, 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Jie Shi

Do you have any comments or questions for Laurence? Please feel free to post them below.

All the best,
Kevin

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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