From the President

September 2001

[Note: The September 2001 issue of the CLTA Newsletter was sent for publiation before the 11 September 2001 tragedy in the United States, with loss of over 6,000 lives. The Chinese Language Teachers Association extends its deepest sympathies to all those who have lost friends and loved ones. — Marjorie Chan, CLTA President]

Source: CLTA Newsletter 25.2. September 2001, pp. 4-6.

Demographic changes impact a nation socially, economically and politically. The Chinese-language teaching field is no less affected. Statistics from Census 2000 in the United States are posted at the U.S. Census Bureau website (<>), with more information placed online from time to time. In Census 2000, 281.4 million people were counted in the U.S. (as of 1 April 2000). While that figure represents a sizeable increase of 13.2% from the 1990 census figure of 248.7 million, a much more dramatic growth rate is seen in the Asian American population, namely, a 48.3% increase, spurred mainly by immigration, creating a community that is predominantly first- (and second-)generation. The Asian American population in the 2000 census is 10.2 million, representing 3.6% of the total U.S. population. Chinese Americans, totaling 2.43 million, form the largest subgroup, constituting 23.7% of the Asian American population, and 0.9% of the nation’s total population.1

As one might expect, the Chinese American population is not evenly distributed across all fifty states. The Organization of Chinese Americans’ 29 May 2001 news release (<>) notes the ten states with the largest Chinese American populations: California (980,642), New York (424,774), Texas (105,829), New Jersey (100,355), Massachusetts (84,392), Illinois (76,725), Washington (59,914), Hawaii (56,600), Pennsylvania (50,650), and Maryland (49,400). In terms of percentage of population, the ten states with the largest Chinese American communities are: Hawaii, California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, Nevada, District of Columbia, and Illinois.2

For the Chinese-language teaching field, the shift in demographics has increased student enrollment in Chinese at probably every level; it has added to the need for solutions in teaching Chinese to heritage and non-heritage learners in the K-16 range; it has made more urgent the need for articulation between schooling levels; and it has increased the need for Chinese-language teachers and teacher-training programs. These are some of the challenges for our profession.

It is therefore very timely that Chinese educators have just now begun a three-year project: a field-wide research and development program to strengthen Chinese language instruction in the United States. Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and awarded to the National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), with Scott McGinnis the Principal Investigator, the project, designated “The Chinese Language Field Initiative,” is led by the Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) and the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS), with administrative support provided by NCOLCTL and with consultative expertise from the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC). Also represented are the two national Chinese-heritage school associations, the National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools (NCACLS) and the Chinese School Association in the United States (CSAUS). These four organizations represent Chinese-language teachers of some 200,000 students enrolled in Chinese language instruction in K-12, community, and collegiate school settings. For further information on this project and the inaugural meeting held in Washington, DC on 3-5 August 2001, see <>. Updates on the project will be posted there.

Also timely with respect to teacher training is our announcement in this newsletter of the procedures for applying for the Cheng and Tsui Professional Development Awards for teachers of Chinese-made possible through the generosity of Cheng & Tsui Company-to support attendance at training workshops and seminars. Information and updates will be posted at <>. This award and two others-the Walton Award and the Walton Presentation Prize (formerly known as the Ron Walton Young Scholar Award)-are administered by the CLTA Awards Committee, currently chaired by Professor Xiaohong Wen. Information on these three awards and their recipients is posted at our CLTA website, linked to the Awards webpage at <>. Our thanks go to Professor Wen and her committee for their hard work in setting up the eligibility requirements and the procedures for administering these three awards.

CLTA’s Awards Committee had until now been an ad hoc committee. But with its annual administering of three awards at this time-the Walton Award, the Walton Presentation Prize, and the Cheng and Tsui Professional Development Award-the revised and newly-ratified CLTA Bylaws makes the Awards Committee a standing committee.

One other newly-created standing committee, as included in the 2001 revised and ratified CLTA Bylaws, is the Finance Committee, charged with the responsibility of reviewing the Association’s budget, its finances, and its investments, and to advise the Board of Directors annually on the financial condition of the Association. (See the report in this newsletter on the revised CLTA Bylaws by Professor Claudia Ross, Chair of the Bylaws Revision Committee; you will also find here a full text of the 2001 revised Bylaws if space permits-an online version of which is available at <>. An earlier version of the Bylaws, that revised and ratified in 1996, is archived at <>.)

Other committee chairs and committee members have also been busy at work during the spring and summer following the March 2001 issue of the CLTA Newsletter. The Nominating Committee, chaired by Professor Martha Gallagher, solicited nominations for a slate for the Vice President, and for the incoming Board of Directors. Ballots were sent out from CLTA Headquarters at the University of Hawaii, accompanied by a return envelope. Results of the votes will be posted in early October at the CLTA website at <>. Our thanks go to all those who graciously agreed to be placed on the ballot.

Our Program Committee Chair, Professor Zheng-sheng Zhang, has been busy throughout the year with preparing the program for CLTA’s 2001 annual meeting, to be held in Washington, DC on 15-18 November 2001. A copy of the program can be found in this Newsletter, and at our CLTA website. The URL to link to the program webpage, and to the homepage of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)-for hotel reservations and registration to attend the CLTA annual meeting and ACTFL activities-is: <>.

CLTA is officially affiliated with ACTFL: CLTA pays annual dues to ACTFL, and organizes its annual meeting in November, in conjunction with ACTFL and with the ACTFL co-operating organizations. CLTA is also a dues-paying member of two other national-level foreign-language organizations, namely, the National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) and the Joint National Committee for Languages-National Council for Languages & International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS); you will find in this issue a report by Professor Claudia Ross on JNCL-NCLIS. CLTA is also currently a (non-dues-paying) affiliate of a fourth organization, the Association for Asian Studies (AAS). CLTA’s affiliation with AAS is maintained as long as ten percent or more of our members are concurrently AAS members. Professor Jane Parish Yang, for two years in a row, has organized a CLTA-sponsored panel at AAS, one that took place in March 2001 and one for the coming spring. Online information concerning our affiliated associations can be found at <>.

As noted in the March issue of the Newsletter, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the CLTA Newsletter. Our Newsletter Editor, Professor Tao-chung Yao, will be reporting on its history in December; if you have any interesting tidbits of information on the Newsletter’s earlier history, please email him at <>, so that in his report he might share them with all of us. Professor Yao is also soliciting pre-June 1988, back-issues of the CLTA Newsletter so that CLTA Headquarters will have one full, archived set. Especially needed are issues published before June 1988. CLTA Headquarters is drawing up a list of those issues currently in hand; to avoid any duplication, members are advised, before sending anything, first to contact our Executive Director, Professor Cynthia Ning <>, to determine which back-issues CLTA might still need to complete a set.

As to the Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, we are very fortunate in being able to pull together two complete sets, thanks to the generous donation this spring of personal sets, one each from Professors John DeFrancis and John Young. As suggested by Cyndy Ning — in recognition of the fact that Professor DeFrancis, Professor Young, and CLTA Headquarters have all at one time or another found a home at the University of Hawaii — one set will reside permanently at the UH’s Center for Chinese Studies, with the second set travelling to wherever the current CLTA Headquarters might be located.

We are also pleased that our Journal is now back on schedule: both the February and the May issues have been published and sent out to members and institutional subscribers. JCLTA Editor, Professor Shou-hsin Teng, informs us that the review by Professor Xiaohong Wen, omitted from the May issue, will be published in the October 2001 issue. We thank CLTA members and institutional subscribers for their patience during this year of transition to the National East Asian Languages Resource Center’s Foreign Language Publications & Services at The Ohio State University (URL: <>); OSU FLPubs will be managing services related to printing the Journal and to the sale and distribution of back-issues.).

The next major JCLTA project will be the digitizing of back-issues-a task that first requires obtaining a full set of back-issues that can be set aside expressly for that digitizing project-I am also hoping (1) that we will have a complete set of back-issues in PDF format which then can be searched in both English and Chinese, and (2) that a CD ROM set can be produced to celebrate the CLTA’s upcoming 40th anniversary. Details remain to be worked out between the CLTA and the OSU FLPubs, but … once digitizing is done, requests can then be made for individual back-issues in hardcopy or in PDF format. Stay tuned!

Moving the CLTA Headquarters to the University of Hawaii, as of 1 January 2001, has gone smoothly overall, with the basic financial and legal documents needed to “set up shop” at UH having been received during the transition period; i.e., December 2000 and into the new year, although other CLTA records (viz., financial and accounting), have yet to be received. Shipments of various back-issues of JCLTA and the CLTA Newsletter were received in spring, with some back-issues of JCLTA also received at the OSU FLPubs.

Since her appointment as our CLTA Executive Director, Professor Ning has been swamped with setting up the new headquarters at University of Hawaii and performing a zillion tasks such as building up a membership database, sending out the ballots for Bylaws revision and the election, and coordinating with ACTFL, with the Board of Directors and especially — in preparing for the annual meeting in November — with our Program Chair, Professor Zhang. Thanks, Cyndy, from all of us!

We look forward to seeing you all at the 2001 CLTA annual meeting in Washington, DC!

Marjorie K.M. Chan
30 August 2001

1The population figures are higher still if Asian Americans with multiracial backgrounds are included. For instance, Genaro C. Armas of the Associated Press wrote, on 12 March 2001 when the national-level population figures were released, that “the Hispanic population surged 57.9 percent since 1990, from 22.3 million in 1990 to 35.3 million in 2000 … while the non-Hispanic Asian population grew by as much as 74.3 percent to 11.5 million.” (See <>.)
2Similarly, in Canada, while statistics from the 2001 census are not yet available, the 1996 census at Statistics Canada (<>) indicates that the Chinese Canadian population is the largest among the Asian ethnic community; of the 2.07 million Asians in Canada, 0.86 million (41.5%) are Chinese. Residing primarily in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, in 1996 they constitute 3.02% of the country’s total population of 28.5 million.