Editor’s note: TIRF Trustees travel at no expense to the Foundation.

TIRF leaders conducted a site visit for the SUSTech (Southern University of Science and Technology) Center for Language Education (CLE) in Shenzhen, China on 18-19 September 2017. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the current status of the SUSTech CLE relative to the vision and mission of the university, in order to ensure that SUSTech students will be equipped with high levels of communicative competence, both oral and written, when completing their studies.

The TIRF delegates sent to SUSTech were Dr. Jun Liu (TIRF Vice President) and Dr. David Nunan (TIRF Executive Committee Member). During their two-day visit, the TIRF delegates met with senior SUSTech officials, including Dr. Chen Shiyi (President), Prof. Lu Chun (Vice President of International Affairs), Dr. Li Yuan (Associate Director of Teaching Affairs), and Dr. Brian Butler (CLE Associate Director).

The TIRF delegates also worked with a number of other SUSTech faculty, staff, and students. As for staff, the TIRF representatives met with both of the secretaries employed by the CLE. A total of 10 faculty members, which included local and foreign teachers, met with TIRF delegates in focus group discussions, and a total of 17 faculty members were observed teaching their classes. Approximately 30 students at various English proficiency levels met with the TIRF delegates during focus group discussions.

One of the CLE faculty members the TIRF delegates was able to meet with was a former Doctoral Dissertation Grant recipient. Dr. Li Zhuo received her award from TIRF in 2009. Since that time, she graduated from her doctoral program at the University of Florida and is now a faculty member at SUSTech.

After the site visit, the TIRF delegates met together to discuss the observations they had made during their fieldwork. The TIRF team produced a comprehensive report and executive summary for CLE leaders to utilize in their future work.