ESP Project Leader Profile: Jie Shi

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In the 24th ESP Project Leader Profile, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Professor Jie Shi.  I first met Jie at the 8th International Conference on ESP in Asia and the 3rd International Symposium on Innovative Teaching and Research in ESP in Japan, and I am pleased that she focuses on that event below. Fortunately, we were introduced to each other by former TESOL president, Yilin Sun. Jie is an ESP leader in Japan, as you can see from her bio:

SHI Jie, a professor at the (National) University of Electro-Communications (UEC), Tokyo, Japan, has been an EFL teacher, an action researcher, a curriculum and course designer, and a teacher trainer in several countries such as China, Singapore and Japan during her academic career of over thirty years. Her research areas include ESP (EAP & EST), Curriculum Development, Teaching Methodology, Corpus Linguistics for ESP, Bilingualism and Trilingualism in Sociolinguistics, World Englishes, and Translation Theories. Professor Shi Jie is the founder and the Head of the Research Station for Innovative and Global Tertiary English Education (IGTEE) of UEC Tokyo and has organized several international symposia on ESP in Japan. Currently, she is the Director of the Undergraduate Technical English Management Committee of UEC Tokyo, the Chair of the ESP SIG Kanto Chapter of the Japan Association of College English Teachers (JACET), and a PD (Professional Development) specialist for the Inter-University Seminar House of Japan.

In view of Jie’s impressive background, I look forward to finding ways that TESOL and JACET can collaborate in the area of ESP!


Professor SHI Jie, English Department
University of Electro-Communications (UEC), Tokyo, Japan
Director, Undergraduate Technical English Management Committee, UEC Tokyo


Define leadership in your own words.

Leadership is an innate quality as well as an acquired set of skills of being able to perform the following effectively:

  • Creating visions or new directions for development
  • Setting specific objectives and goals
  • Devising innovative methods for achieving objectives and goals
  • Motivating and inspiring people to work together and build effective teams
  • Addressing the needs and providing necessary support at both individual and team levels
  • Discovering and providing opportunities for people to grow and shine
  • Identifying and solving problems and conflicts
  • Having a strong sense of responsibility for all stakeholders
  • Delivering results and demonstrating outcomes
  • Possessing cultural and cross-cultural understanding and flexibility

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?

  • Event:

The Joint International Conference of the 8th International Conference on ESP in Asia and the 3rd International Symposium on Innovative Teaching and Research in ESP

  • Time and Location:

August 19–21, 2016, the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, Japan

  • Conference Organizers:

Main Organizer:

The Research Station for Innovation and Global Tertiary English Education (IGTEE) of UEC Tokyo, Japan


Supporting organizations:

  • Conference Themes:
    • Curriculum and course design in ESP
    • Materials design and writing in ESP
    • Development and application of ESP theories
    • ESP teaching and learning approaches and methods
    • Innovations in ESP research and instruction
    • ESP teacher development
    • Development of ESP testing and assessment
    • English teaching and learning for academic purposes
    • English teaching and learning for vocational purposes
    • English teaching and research for business purposes
    • English teaching and research for legal purposes
    • Intercultural communication in ESP teaching
    • Corpus linguistics for ESP education
  • Invited plenary speakers:
    • Yilin Sun, South Seattle College, TESOL International Association, USA
    • John Maher, International Christian University, Japan
    • CAI Jigang, Fudan University, China
    • Paul Thompson, University of Birmingham, UK
    • Helen L. Basturkmen, University Auckland, New Zealand
    • Yoshimasa A. Ono, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS), Japan
    • Laurence Anthony, Waseda University, Japan

Outcome and Key to Success

This conference is a historical event on ESP in Japan, being the very first extensive international conference devoted to ESP education and research in the country. It attracted researchers and educators from various countries in Asia, especially from Mainland China. Approximately 50% of the papers were delivered by the researchers from Mainland China, an unprecedented ratio in any academic conferences on English education and research in Japan. This conference was indeed a bridge for ESP researchers and practitioners from not only Japan and China but also many countries in Asia and the world.

Many factors contributed to the success of this conference. First of all, the leaders of the ESP organizations of the previous Asia ESP conferences strongly believed in creating new and direct communication platforms for ESP professionals from similar cultural and educational contexts in Asia and firmly supported my decision of bringing the conference to Japan. Secondly, I received vigorous support from the hosting university, the organizing committee, and the supporting staff. Hence, I was able to focus on training the staff and building a close team. Thirdly, my multi-cultural background and experiences living and working in several countries enabled me to communicate effectively with the presenters and participants from various countries and to solve cultural differences during the preparation stage as well as at the conference. Finally, implementation of innovative approaches, such as creating Best Paper Awards and Best Young Researcher Awards and inviting EST specialists and trainers from the industries, added new perspectives and practices to the conference and provided incentives to the researchers and practitioners for greater development of ESP in Asia.

As I read Jie’s profile, I was pleased to see that two of the plenary speakers listed above also have ESP Project Leaders Profiles: Yilin Sun and Jigang Cai.  Later this year, the profile of a third plenary speaker, Laurence Anthony, is scheduled to be published.

Jie and I were two of the featured speakers at the conference. Jie’s presentation was listed under the conference theme of  “Curriculum and Course Design in ESP” and titled “Incorporating the Needs of Subject Specialists in Curriculum Design of ESP Programs: The Experience of a Japanese University of Science and Engineering.” I spoke about the ESP Project Leader Profiles under the conference theme of “ESP Teacher Development.” In the near future, you will be able to access the PowerPoint presentations and conference proceedings (i.e., published research papers) on the conference website, which will thereby become a valuable resource for ESPers worldwide (so be sure to share the website with others)!

Do you have any questions or comments for Jie? Do not hesitate to contact her directly or to share your thoughts below.

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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