| by Kathi Bailey


Professor Kathi Bailey knew she wanted leaders in the field to help with her L2 education seminar. Fortunately, she didn’t have to look much further than the alumni of her program to find exactly what she needed. 

Bailey’s seminar on leadership in L2 education is notable for helping participants gain a sense of community, both within the seminar and the broader field. To that end, she has each of her students interview a leader in language education. She helped students in a recent seminar make these vital connections by introducing them to Institute alumni in professional leadership roles whose career paths matched the students’ aspirations.

“I am so grateful to our graduates, who graciously spent time with the course participants,” she said. “Each person who was interviewed and/or visited our class as a guest speaker shared their experiences and reflected on their pathways to leadership.”

Following are some of the alumni professional leaders who participated in the seminar: 

Dr. Jeff Watson MATFL Russian ’99. Jeff is the chair of linguistics and language acquisition in the Center for Languages, Cultures, and Regional Studies at the U.S. Military Academy West Point. Based on her interview with Watson, student Kari Naumova, who is working on her MATFL in Russian, coauthored (with Dr. Andy Curtis) a piece for the forthcoming newsletter of the TESOL Program Administration Interest Section.

Naomi Fujishima MATESOL ’90 is a professor at Okayama University in Japan. She has been active in the Japan Association of Language Teachers and organized a JALT conference. Chairing conferences is a very important leadership function that many language professionals take on at some point in their careers.

Elisabeth Ampthor, a MATESOL candidate who has family in Denmark and hopes to teach there someday, interviewed Dr. Joyce Kling MATESOL ’88, the current president of TESOL. As an added benefit, Elisabeth was able to meet Joyce face-to-face in Denmark during the semester break. Joyce now teaches at Lund University in Sweden.

Joyce also served as a guest speaker in the seminar, as did Dr. Patricia Szasz MATESOL + LPA’06. Patricia, who is now the Dean of Academic Innovation at MIIS, had coauthored a chapter that the students read.

Caleb Powers MATFL French + LPA Specialization ’21 was also a guest speaker. Cal answered the students’ questions about a survey he has been conducting on how foreign language teachers in the U.S. become leaders in language education. Course participants read a draft of his paper.

Other guest speakers included Dr. Andy Curtis Middlebury College ’84, a former TESOL President, and Dr. Okon Effiong, a former president of TESOL Africa.

“It was supposedly Benjamin Franklin who said that ‘if you need something done, you should ask a busy person,’” said Kathi Bailey. “These colleagues certainly exemplify that remark. I am so grateful to these leaders—all of whom stepped up and helped my students and me achieve the course goal about developing a sense of community with other leaders in language education.”