Throughout the month of February, TIRF is spreading the love for researchers around the world! Show your appreciation for a mentor, scholar, colleague, or even an organization by submitting a text- or video-based tribute that shares how that person’s (or organization’s) research affected your life. Scroll down to see the tributes submitted by others.

If you would like to submit your own tribute, please click here. Tributes may be submitted until February 28, 2023.

Please note that the TIRF Researcher Tribute program serves as a fundraiser for TIRF, in order to help the Foundation further its mission. Your tribute will be shared via TIRF’s website once your donation has been received by the Foundation, and will remain on TIRF’s website until at least December 31, 2023. Currently enrolled students are asked to donate US $25 to have their tributes shared by TIRF; the non-student rate requires a US $50 donation to TIRF. Donations may be made at

Note that TIRF reserves the right to reject tributes deemed inappropriate. TIRF will not edit videos submitted; however, TIRF may revise text-based tributes to correct issues such as typos, spelling errors, and so on. An asterisk (*) below denotes the individual is a TIRF awardee.


Professor Kathi Bailey’s (MIIS) Tribute of Professor Leo van Lier (MIIS; Pictured Left)

In this tribute, I am pleased to share these memories of Professor Leo van Lier – an amazing scholar, prolific author, dedicated colleague, and dear friend. Leo was also a polyglot, speaking (at least) English, Spanish, German, French, and I believe some Quechua. He loved language learning and even studied Japanese for a time, because he was going on a lecture tour to Japan, and because he found languages so fascinating. Leo’s office at MIIS was right next to mine, so it was easy to share greetings, books, and ideas. I would often hear him talking with students as he answered their questions, guided their research, and encouraged them. We worked together on many projects (and had many friendly debates) between 1986, when he joined our faculty, and his untimely death in 2012. Leo’s publications have influenced many issues in applied linguistics. In addition to his own writing, he was the editor of the Modern Language Journal and was one of the founders of the Association for Language Awareness. He served on the Editorial Board of the Language Awareness journal from its inception until a month before he died. His family and friends started the Leo van Lier lecture Series to honor his memory. Valentine’s Day and spring in general are times for expressing our love for one another. With this tribute, my heart goes out to Leo’s wife, Aida Walqui, and his sons, Jantje and Marcus, with many fond memories of them and of this brilliant and gentle man.

Jun Liu’s (Rector, City University of Macau) and Suzanne Panferov Reese’s (Faculty, University of Arizona) Tribute of Keiko Samimy (Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University; Pictured Right)

(Photo credit: The Ohio State University)

Faculty take on many roles in their professional careers. With this tribute, we honor the many roles of research scholar, Dr. Keiko Samimy. What is remarkable for us beyond Keiko’s scholarly work in L2 learners’ affective variables, communicative language teaching (CLT) in ESL/EFL settings, and the empowerment of non-native speakers, was how she chaired both of our dissertation committees and mentored and inspired both of us decades ago.

Jun Liu: Keiko was my academic advisor when I pursued my doctorate in Second and Foreign Language Education Program at The Ohio State University. I considered her as my role model. Keiko inspired me to be self-confident as a non-native English-speaking professional as well as a leader in co-founding the Caucus of Non-native English-Speaking Professionals in TESOL in the mid-90s. When I delivered my Presidential plenary as the first non-native English-Speaking President of TESOL in 2007, she sat in the audience cheering me on and later she told me, “Jun, I think you will one day become a President of a university,” which became true two years ago. Her mentorship has meant a lot to me throughout my career.

Suzanne Panferov Reese: When I embarked on my graduate studies in a program then called Foreign and Second Language Education at The Ohio State University, Keiko was teaching on the faculty. The topics of her courses that most impressed me related to affective variables and empowerment. She was the first to encourage me to get involved with TESOL and even roped me into helping her format a newsletter for the Caucus of Non-native English-Speaking Professionals. As one of her many advisees, I was honored to collaborate on a variety of research projects with her. Most of all, though, Keiko impacted me as a mentor and role model for both my career and life.

Thank you, Keiko, for inspiring us and opening up new worlds of possibility to us!

Jun Liu’s (Rector, City University of Macau) and Suzanne Panferov Reese’s (Faculty, University of Arizona) Tribute of Diane Belcher (Professor of Applied Linguistics and ESL, Georgia State University; Pictured Left)

(Photo credit: Georgia State University)

There are researchers whom we honor for the groundbreaking work they have created. There are those who personally touch and change our lives. With this tribute, we honor Dr. Diane Belcher, who has done both. Diane is an outstanding scholar whose work has changed the field of second language writing. But Diane is also an outstanding mentor, who changed the course of both of our lives. It was only when we paused to write this tribute, nearly three decades later, did we realize just how she helped us both launch our professional careers.

Jun Liu: As a non-native English-speaking doctoral student back in the early 90s, I was only qualified to teach Chinese as my native language in the East Asian Department at The Ohio State University (OSU). But it was Diane, then Director of ESL Composition at OSU, who entrusted me to teach ESL Composition to international students. That marked the beginning of my professional career in the US. Diane and I have worked together on a number of research projects, including as co-editors of the Michigan series Teaching Multilingual Writers. As luck would have it, Diane and I became colleagues again at Georgia State University. Diane’s professionalism, dedication to work, and powerful writing have inspired me to become a better writer, researcher, and professor.

Suzanne Panferov Reese: As a young graduate student in a traditional language department, I learned about a gateway course on teaching ESL writing that might possibly open the door to a graduate teaching assistantship. Diane was, of course, the instructor of that course. Her course unlocked the field of applied linguistics for me and eventually, thankfully, even a position teaching ESL composition to international and generation 1.5 students. This opportunity completely pivoted the focus of my studies and led me to complete both an MA and a PhD in Foreign and Second Language Education (years after Jun). Diane would serve on my dissertation committee and as my supervisor, but more importantly she would serve as a mentor in life.

Diane, we thank you, for how you, without even knowing it, completely changed the course of the professional lives of two young graduate students. Thank you! May we all aspire to impact and mentor our students in such remarkable ways!