From the President

December 1998

Source: CLTA Newsletter 22.3. December 1998.

Organizations are driven by their members. Just as classrooms are becoming student-centered, organizations must move towards becoming more member-centered. Paralleling the role of the “teacher as facilitator” in the classroom, the officers and directors of CLTA can possibly serve best as facilitators for the membership. Fortunately, in this era that has seen the meteoric rise of the Internet, each member of this organization, no matter how isolated or overworked s/he is professionally, has the opportunity to uplink to the rest of the organization via just a few keystrokes. Let us know what your interests and concerns are. You can reach me at , or the entire board of CLTA at .

To date, CLTA’s major permanent initiatives include:

* The annual conference, held in November in conjunction with that of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The successes and shortcomings of this event are the subject of unending debate (watch for a summary in forthcoming issues of the Newsletter), but indisputably the conference is one of the organization’s most stimulating efforts, with 24 panels presented over 2.5 days. Thanks are due the outgoing Program Chair, Julian Wheatley, and President, Scott McGinnis, fortheir exertions on behalf of the profession, and to our hard-working Executive Director, Madeline Chu, for ensuring that most of the things that could have gone wrong actually didn’t.

* The publication of the Journal (JCLTA). Fortunately for the organization, Prof. Shou-hsin Teng has accepted another term as editor extraordinare. A number of suggestions have been made on possible improvements in the journal; more are always welcome. Again, please watch for progress reports in future issues of the Newsletter.

* The Newsletter. Prof. Tao-chung (Ted) Yao has also agreed to continue as editor upon the expiration of his term this year, which is another stroke of good fortune for CLTA. Ongoing discussions include the possibility of putting the Newsletter online.

* The CLTA Website. Prof. Marjorie Chan and her webteam have taken the website to unexpected heights. Initiated less than a year ago in January, 1998, the website now has 47 webpages updated monthly, has hosted nearly 3,000 visitors to date, and logged an average of 43 hits per day from mid-September through mid-October. If you haven’t browsed the site yet, you are encouraged to do so at .

* The Walton Award and Travel Fund. Thanks to the hard work of Scott McGinnis, Madeline Chu, and the generosity of 47 of our colleagues, the Walton Fund total stood at $2,897 as of October 31, 1998. This year’s Walton Award to Prof. John DeFrancis and Travel Fund award to University of Illinois graduate student Miao-fen Tseng were a landmark achievement for the organization. Our challenge is to ensure that the fund continues to grow, so that we can recognize and serve the most deserving members of our community as we ought. If you can, please contribute and encourage others to contribute to this nascent and exciting fund!

There are other projects ongoing that have not yet achieved the “permanent” status–the Leadership Seminar and the CLTA Monograph Series among them. Work on these projects proceeds apace. Finally, I would like to begin documenting CLTA’s history and procedural processes during my term of office. If anyone has documents, or other information to contribute, please contact me, preferably by e-mail. I look forward to a productive and fulfilling year with you all!

Cynthia Ning