Just last week, TIRF Trustees gathered in Tampa at the TESOL Convention, which took place there March 21-23. There were a number of activities that resulted in our Board feeling energized about the direction of the Foundation.

TIRF Trustees held their all-day Board meeting on March 20th. Several new Trustees were introduced to their Board colleagues. Another previously seated Trustee (Evelina Galaczi) was attending her first meeting in person, and yet another (Richard Boyum) was attending his last TIRF meeting. Richard’s numerous contributions to TIRF over more than 10 years of his service as a Trustee were highlighted with his peers. He was recognized with a standing ovation from his colleagues both in the room and those attending via Zoom.

One major highlight from the Board meeting was planning for the future of TIRF. Board members worked through a number of strategic planning areas – a process that will culminate later this year. We will share information with our supporters as the plans develop.

TIRF Trustees in Tampa Attending Spring 2024 Board Meeting

The second major TIRF activity in Tampa was our colleague session, which focused on the topic of genAI in language education. The panel presentation, moderated by TIRF President Jun Liu, featured colleagues from several TIRF partners, including Cindy Berger (Duolingo), Joyce Kling (TESOL International Association), Kara McBride (World Learning), Evelina Galaczi (Cambridge), Mina Patel (British Council), and Spiros Papageorgiou (ETS). After the panelists provided brief presentations on genAI, there was interaction with attendees. A slidecast of the session will be shared with TIRF supporters once available. TIRF is now working on a policy statement and resources for educators and organizations that will help guide discussions and actions on issues related to genAi in our field.

TIRF Colleague Session Presenters (Left to Right): Cindy Berger, Mina Patel, Jun Liu, Kara McBride, Evelina Galaczi, Joyce Kling, and Spiros Papgeorgiou.

The final TIRF activity to share with supporters is the 25th-anniversary celebration of the Foundation. With the generous support of an anonymous donor and sponsorship assistance from National Geographic Learning, TIRF hosted 70 of its long-time supporters, donors, partners, external reviewers, and other Foundation friends for a tour of the Tampa harbor. TIRF President Jun Liu served as the master of ceremony during a short program in which TIRFers were recognized, including two of the 2024 Alatis Prize recipients (Kellie Rolstad and Jeff MacSwan), for their support and accomplishments. The event served both as a grand celebration of TIRF’s accomplishments over the last 25 years, as well as an opportunity for Board members to extend their appreciation to some of the people who have given so much to the Foundation over the years.

Here’s to the next 25 years of TIRF and its supporters making a difference in the field of language education!