Dr. Sara Kangas Selected as 2018 TIRF Alatis Prize Recipient

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2018 TIRF James E. Alatis Prize for Research on Language Planning and Policy in Educational Contexts. Dr. Sara Kangas, Assistant Professor at Lehigh University, has been named as this year’s recipient of TIRF’s Alatis Prize. Her article is entitled, “’That’s Where the Rubber Meets the Road’: The Intersection of Special Education and Bilingual Education” (Teachers College Records, Volume 119, Issue 7).

Dr. Kangas is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Lehigh University. As an applied linguist, she examines an under-researched second language learning population in K-12 schools—English learners (ELs) with disabilities. In her research, Dr. Kangas draws upon ethnographic methods to examine structural, political, and ideological factors that shape the educational experiences and opportunities of ELs with disabilities. She is currently investigating how macro policies influence whether ELs with disabilities are able to exit second language programs. When she is not conducting research, Dr. Kangas enjoys teaching and learning from the pre- and in-service educators in her ESL education courses. She earned her doctorate in Education with a concentration in Applied Linguistics from Temple University.

Upon being notified about receiving TIRF’s Alatis Prize, Dr. Kangas shared the following comment: “I am honored to receive the James E. Alatis Prize. I deeply appreciate the Foundation’s recognition of my research, especially as there are many pioneering scholars conducting meaningful work in critical areas of language education policy research. I am grateful that this award will draw attention to language policies and plans that systemically disadvantage second language learners with disabilities. Receiving this award encourages me personally to keep pursuing social justice in language education for marginalized language learners.”

The Alatis Prize was established in 2014 to honor James E. Alatis, a TIRF founder and long-standing trustee of the Foundation. TIRF Trustees decided to recognize an outstanding article or chapter in the field of language planning and policy in educational contexts in Dr. Alatis’ name, because he committed a great deal of his career working in the field of language educational policy.

For the 2018 award, nominations of articles published in 2016 or 2017 were solicited. The Foundation’s team of reviewers, who are scholars in the field of language planning and policy, adjudicated the nominations. TIRF Trustees Donna Christian, Jodi Crandall, Joe Lo Bianco, and Dick Tucker helped to shape many of the competition’s details. The result of this process was the choice of Dr. Kangas’ excellent article.

Dr. Kangas will be honored with the award and a check for US $500 at TIRF’s presentation during the 2018 TESOL Convention in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The session will be hosted on Wednesday, March 28th from 1:00pm to 2:30pm in Room 253D at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center East. A group of TIRF Trustees and TIRF grantees will participate in a panel presentation, entitled “TIRF-Sponsored Research on Language Education Policies: Contexts and Realities.”

TIRF is committed to developing knowledge about English language learning and teaching in various settings through a coherent program of research, dissemination, and networking. The offering of the Alatis Prize is consistent with the following aspect of the Foundation’s mission: to influence the formation and implementation of appropriate language education policies, recognizing the importance of indigenous languages and cultures worldwide, and of English as an international language. TIRF’s Board of Trustees, which serves on a voluntary basis, is drawn from academia, publishing, business, and government. To date, TIRF has awarded monies to fund 140 research projects involving 167 researchers from more than 20 countries.