Dear members of the AATK,
It was really wonderful to have most of you here in beautiful Monterey in June, when we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of AATK. I hope you all enjoyed the great conference as well as the natural beauty of Monterey even for such a short time. On behalf of the colleagues here in Monterey and as the local chair of this year's conference, I want to let you know how much we enjoyed serving you all and having your active participation in sharing well-thought papers and teaching materials. And I must add that I am very much humbled and honored to be the next president of the AATK for the next three years.
The theme of this year’s 20th annual conference and professional workshop was "Building Strong Language Programs in the next 20 years." And the fact that the meeting was well attended by almost 200 participants, the largest number of participants in the 20 years of AATK history, reflects the 20 years of significant growth of the conference in the quality and the quantity. While looking forward to the next 20 years’ growth, we were very fortunate to have inaugural president of AATK, Professor Homin Sohn, as the keynote speaker. He gave a very momentous presentation on the overview of Korean Language Education in the U.S.A. for the last 70 years and gave various insights to the next generation reflected on the legacy of the great tradition of Korean education in the States. Also invited presentations by the distinguished scholars, Professor John Lie and Professors Richard Kern, as well as a good number of contributed papers and presentations were very inspiring and promising. It is noteworthy that twenty-some reviewers assessed abstracts and proposals anonymously and rigorously, and the acceptance Rates in the 20th meeting was most competitive so far with the total acceptance rate at 39.9% (57/143): Workshop, 8/18 (44%); Teaching Materials, 10/28 (36%); Papers, 39/97 (40%). During the conference, the final report for the project of standards-based college curriculum development was given and is expected to be printed end of this year. Thanks to the dedications and efforts of previous presidents, officers, board members and all local chairs, it is obvious that AATK's annual meetings became more strengthened every year.
During this year's general meeting, the new officers were announced and a couple of new board members were elected. Please see the list of the officers and board members who will be representing each and every one of you for the next three years. As Modern Language Association’s recent foreign language enrollment studies reported, the enrollment in Korean language classes in higher education has the highest enrollment increase rate for the last few years with 44.7% while most of other major language enrollment decreased by 6.7%. ( https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/02/11/mla-report-shows-declines-enrollment-most-foreign-languages ) Yet, the number of Korean enrollment in 2013 is still far lower than other leading language enrollments, so AATK should take a significant role to strengthen the competitive power of Korean programs nationwide when Korean enrollments are still growing steadily. Hence, I would like to urge members of AATK to take proactive steps to promote Korean language and culture education in the United States. In doing so, I would like to emphasize that the officers and board members value each and every member's voices and involvement, so we could reflect them in planning and implementing of any projects and activities of AATK, so eventually advancing Korean language education in general.
Under the new leadership in the next three years, AATK is envisioning to take part in leading roles in the field of foreign language education in the U.S.A. as follows: 1) by getting involved in national level advocacy of Korean language education with ACTFL through Korean SIG, 2) by exploring the networking with additional National organizations such as JNCL(Joint National Committee for Languages), NCLIS (National Council for Languages and International Studies), etc. and other International level foreign language related organizations to promote the status of Korean language education and AATK globally, 3) by supporting and collaborating with Korean language educators outside the States with AATK’s expertise and experiences, 4) by continuing and expanding the standard curriculum project into the implementation and into the development of a common assessment tool, 5) by continuing strengthening Korean Honor Society in High Schools and exploring the ways involving Korean language learners through events like national level Korean essay contest, 6) by advancing our journal, The Korean Language in America, which is the only English language journal specializing in Korean as a Second Language and is published by Penn State University Press under Dr. Susan Strauss’ editorship, to the internationally recognized and respected one.
Of course, I would like to mention that the AATK’s annual meetings have been possible thanks to the generous funds provided by Korea Foundation for the last two decades. We are more grateful for that Korea Foundation also supports Korean Special Interest Group's participation in the annual ACTFL convention which has over 12,000 memberships of language educators, researchers and administrators in the United States and worldwide. I hope to see more AATK members' participation in ACTFL World Languagge Convention and Expo in November 18-20 this year in San Diego Convention Center for augmented Korean representation. Note that ACTFL recently has updated and revised its National Standards into "World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages," and AATK along with Korean SIG had joined the efforts for the revision with over 17 other language associations this year. (http://www.actfl.org/publications/all/world-readiness-standards-learning-languages)
I would like to ask your continued support to AATK and hope you all have a wonderful and fruitful academic year. See you soon in San Diego.