Dear TIRF Colleagues and Friends:
I was gratified to see so many TIRF Trustees during our Board meeting in Portland last week during the TESOL Convention.
Our first post-pandemic face-to-face Board meeting was extremely energized and productive. As the result of our engaging discussion, we came away with four meaningful initiatives, namely, TIRF Products, TIRF Services, TIRF Partnerships, and TIRF Doctoral Dissertation Grants (DDG) Fellows Program.
TIRF has developed a few signature publications over the years. The TIRF Routledge series, Global Research on Teaching and Learning English, will soon publish its 10th volume. TIRF Insights, co-published by TIRF & National Geographic Learning, has gained attention among English language professionals. The TIRF reference list collection, which consists of more than 240 topics, is a valuable resource for researchers and practitioners around the world. But how we can expand our products and how we can make our products more accessible and more beneficial to our supporters becomes a focal point of discussion.
As far as TIRF Services are concerned, we have done a great job in offering “Program Reviews” to the Center for Language Education at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), in China, as an example. We successfully conducted our first review five years ago, and we were invited to do a follow-up review last year. But how can we identify more programs in need and do more reviews in other parts of the world?
Through “TIRF Talks,” we provide speakers and/or facilitators to speak on given topics and facilitate discussions. But how can we build a speaker pool in each sub-area to make a TIRF Speakers Bureau so that TIRF will become better known through an increased number of speakers for various conferences in the field outsourced by TIRF?
TIRF is known to have its sustainable partnerships with British Council, Cambridge, and ETS, among others. These partners have provided great resources to fund TIRF projects, such as the DDG program. But how can we reach out to more partners to create win-win situations?
At the TESOL Convention in Portland last week, we networked with TESOL International Association to discuss further collaborations based on the successful joint Presidential Plenary on collaborative research between teachers and researchers. We also had numerous meetings, including those with World Learning, Ellii, Michigan Language Assessment, the British Council, and the U.S. Department of State, among others. As the result of our discussions, we have agreed to collaborate on a number of projects, such as writing grant proposals, providing training and language assessment, sharing resources to empower teachers, hosting joint events, and co-publishing.
Our DDG program has been perhaps TIRF’s most sustainable, signature program over the years. Thus far, we have had more than 180 recipients over the last two decades and many of these recipients are now mainstays in their respective institutions or corporations. What excites me most is to take advantage of this immense resource and brainstorm ways they can help TIRF to continue its efforts and diversity its revenue streams to fulfill our mission. The synergies from our Board meeting discussions led to a plan to organize a gala to showcase the DDG Fellows program in Tampa Florida next year during the TESOL Convention. The event will also serve as an opportunity to celebrate the 25th anniversary of TIRF – please stay tuned!
We have much to do in the months to come, but we cannot do it alone. We must have your continued support, participation, and contributions. If you have any ideas or thoughts to help TIRF further the above-mentioned initiatives, please let us know.
Jun Liu, Ph.D.