We are pleased to announce the co-recipients of the 2024 TIRF James E. Alatis Prize for Research on Language Planning and Policy in Educational Contexts. Dr. Kate Mahoney, Dr. Karen E. Lillie, Dr. Kellie Rolstad, Dr. Jeff MacSwan, Ms. Natalie DuBois, and Dr. Tom Haladyna have been selected as this year’s co-recipients of TIRF’s Alatis Prize. Their article is entitled “Castañeda’s Third Prong Redux: The Achievement of Arizona’s English Language Learners after Proposition 203” (2022, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Taylor & Francis/Routledge).

Individuals interested in downloading and reading the Alatis Prize-winning article may do so by clicking here. TIRF extends its sincere appreciation to colleagues at Taylor & Francis/Routledge for their collegial support in making the article accessible free of charge to the public. Access will remain open until March 31, 2024.

Asked about what receiving the TIRF Alatis Prize means to the team of authors, they responded, “We are deeply honored to receive the TIRF James E. Alatis Prize for Research in Language Policy and Planning in Educational Contexts. This is a great recognition of our hard work and dedication to our inquiry into how restricting home languages impacts academic achievement. After bilingual programming was outlawed in the state of Arizona in 2001, the original research team was formed and the challenge of studying these effects on a large scale began. The original research was conducted as part of Proyecto Derechos Civiles (The Civil Rights Project) at UCLA to study the effects of restricting home languages in schools. The current study being honored by the Alatis Prize added to the original one, forming a 13-year overview of how the restrictive language policies in Arizona are impacting ELs [English learners] over time. These data were very difficult to secure because they comprise the entire population of the state of Arizona, and we needed special permission to obtain them. Many obstacles were put in our way during this long study, which makes this award even more special, due to the recognition of our perseverance and dedication to the topic. The study challenges the legality of restrictive practices in states like Arizona. The award will draw much needed attention to the inadequate policies for multilingual students in Arizona, and the need for Arizona, the only remaining state in the US to practice anti-bilingual education policies, to change.”

Biographical information for each of the co-recipients follows here:

  • Dr. Kate Mahoney is a professor of TESOL at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. Mahoney’s research addresses the validity of using test scores for multilingual students (MLs), language program effectiveness, and evaluating policies and practices concerning MLs in Arizona and nationally. Mahoney taught 4th grade in Kingsville, Texas and high school mathematics in Belmopan, Belize, where student’s home languages included Creole, Spanish, and Garifuna. Previously, she worked as a field specialist for one of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) state systemic initiatives for math and science for 18 schools in Northwest New Mexico, including work with students having Zuni, Navajo, and Laguna/Acoma as home languages. She was awarded a Title VII Bilingual Education Fellowship (1998), an AERA Dissertation Award (2000), sponsored jointly by NSF, NCES, and OERI, the William T. Hagan Young Scholar Award (2011), and the SUNY Online Educator Award (2022). Mahoney published research findings in the International Journal of Language Studies, International Journal of Testing, Journal of Educational Research and Policy Studies, Bilingual Research Journal, Educational Policy, andthe International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. She published a book on assessment for multilingual students with Multilingual Matters in 2017; the second edition is forthcoming in 2024.
  • Dr. Karen E. Lillie holds a PhD in applied linguistics and a JD. This background provides the foundation for Dr. Lillie’s work in the areas of language policy and forensic linguistics. More specifically, she focuses on examining (restrictive) language policy, language reclamation, and language rights (particularly in educational contexts), and other intersections cutting across language and the law. Her work has appeared in the Buffalo Law Review, Teachers College Record, the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, as well as other edited collections and works. Dr. Lillie is an Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia. She recently graduated cum laude from the University at Buffalo School of Law where she was the Executive Editor for the Buffalo Law Review and President of the American Constitution Society, winning two national awards for her leadership and for the chapter’s contribution under her guidance. Dr. Lillie serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, is a reviewer for many other journals and series,andis on the Advisory Committee for the Language Policy Research Network (LPREN), an international group of recognized scholars who serve the field of language policy.
  • Dr. Kellie Rolstad is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Education at the University of Maryland, where she works on documenting the harmful effects of language prejudice and on showing the role of linguistics in promoting socially-just education. Professor Rolstad earned her PhD in Education at UCLA, where she also earned degrees in Linguistics (BA) and Applied Linguistics (MA). Before becoming a professor, she was a bilingual kindergarten teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District. Her research interests include the language of schooling, language variation, plurilingualism, alternative learning, and democratic education. Her work has appeared in TESOL Quarterly, Journal of Language and Identity, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Bilingual Research Journal, Bilingual Review, Teachers College Record, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Educational Policy, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, International Journal of Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood, and in major edited collections. She is an Associate Editor of the International Multilingual Research Journal.
  • Dr. Jeff MacSwan is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Education at the University of Maryland. He is also Professor of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and affiliate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and the Maryland Language Science Center. Dr. MacSwan’s research program focuses on the linguistic study of bilingualism and codeswitching (or language alternation), and its implications for theories about the role of language in educational settings for multilingual students. He is the editor of the International Multilingual Research Journal, and serves on several editorial boards. Examples of his published work appear in American Educational Research Journal, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Lingua, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Teachers College Record, and in edited collections and handbooks. MacSwan a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and of the National Education Policy Center. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from AERA’s Bilingual Education Research SIG and the Leadership through Scholarship Award from AERA’s Second Language Research SIG, both in 2021.
  • Ms. Natalie DuBois is a teacher of English as a foreign language and mathematics at Sekundarschule Saale-Elster-Auen Schkopau, a secondary school in Schkopau, Germany. There, she fosters an appreciation for learning in both English and German through student-centered practices and immersive language instruction. At Sekundarschule Schkopau, DuBois is also the English Club advisor, where she supports her students in their mission of infusing intercultural practices from English-speaking countries into the school’s culture and provides increased opportunities for practical language use in preparation for state and national competitions. In addition to her work as a teacher, DuBois volunteers teaching English to senior citizens in Halle, Germany and is currently working towards her permanent German teaching certification. The TIRF Alatis Prize is her first academic award.

  • Dr. Tom Haladyna is Professor Emeritus in Educational Psychology at Arizona State University. Dr. Haladyna was previously an elementary school teacher, a faculty member at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and Arizona State University, a Research Professor at the Oregon State System of Higher Education, and Director of Health Programs at the American College Testing Program. Dr. Haladyna’s has authored and edited many books, including Developing and Validating Test Items and the Handbook of Test Development (1st and 2nd editions). Dr. Haladyna has consulted for many organizations on testing issues including the U.S. Army, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Microsoft Corporation, Arizona Attorney General, American Dental Association, among many others. The nature of these activities includes technical committee work, evaluations, technical reports, opinions, white papers, seminars, and conference presentations. Dr. Haladyna was a visiting fellow at the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center and a National Assessment of Educational Progress Fellow at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton. Following his retirement from Arizona State University, he remains professionally active. And he plays pickleball, as well.

The 2024 co-recipients of the Alatis Prize have decided to forward the $500 award monies they were awarded to a bilingual 1st-grade teacher at an urban and economically limited school. The teacher’s Spanish-speaking students are between the ages of five and seven. The money will be used to make a bilingual library in her classroom. Although the students are pre-literate, the teacher emphasizes the importance of instilling value and pride in their identities through bilingual books.

Please join the TIRF community in congratulating Dr. Mahoney, Dr. Lillie, Dr. Rolstad, Dr. MacSwan, Ms. DuBois, and Dr. Haladyna on their wonderful accomplishment!

About TIRF and the TIRF Alatis Prize

The TIRF Alatis Prize was established in 2014 to honor James E. Alatis, a TIRF founder and long-serving 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 education policy.

For the 2024 Prize, nominations of articles published in 2022 or 2023 were solicited. The Foundation’s team of reviewers, who are scholars in the field of language planning and policy, adjudicated the nominations. TIRF Trustees Joan Kang Shin and Polina Vinogradova (Co-Chairs of TIRF’s Alatis Prize Committee) along with Trustees Donna Christian and Jodi Crandall, helped to shape many of the competition’s details. The result of this process was the selection of the Mahoney et al. (2022) article highlighted above.

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 TIRF 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. Members of TIRF’s Board of Trustees, all of whom serve on a voluntary basis, are drawn from academia, publishing, business, and government. To date, TIRF has awarded monies to fund 237 research projects involving 269 researchers from nearly 30 countries. To learn more about TIRF, click here, or write to Ryan Damerow, Chief Operating Officer at TIRF, at [email protected].