It is with great excitement that the JALT Executive Board announces the appointment of Joël Laurier as our Regional Professional Activities Chair (RPAC). This is a presidential appointment with a 2-year mandate. The RPAC is a member of the Program Committee, reports to the Director of Program, and is charged with facilitating the planning, organizing, and funding of JALT events in collaboration with chapters and SIGs.
Under our current operational model, JALT has been able to rely on our yearly international conference and membership dues to finance research and language teaching activities. This includes the issuing of grants and the financial support of national and international events. This model has served the NPO well in the past, but the dependence on these two forms of income exposes the organization to a great deal of risk during economic downturns. At the same time, the increasing number of JALT and non-JALT events throughout Japan have resulted in regional events that are competing with each other. The appointment of the RPAC demonstrates JALT’s commitment to address these two issues in order to help the association grow.
By creating the position of Regional Professional Activities Chair, the JALT Executive Board is sending out the message that it wants to support smaller events throughout Japan to better meet the needs of each specific region. It aims to do so with heightened collaboration between chapters and SIGs. This will be the challenge we are giving to Joël.
Joël joins the Program Committee equipped with the experience of working with JALT Special Interest Groups (SIGs), chapters, and publications. He is a member of the Programs team of the Learner Development SIG, co-program chair of the Gunma Chapter, and co-editor of The Language Teacher’s SIG Focus column. Outside of JALT, he is co-president of the Teachers College Columbia University Japan Alumni Association. We expect this varied experience will benefit him in his new role. Welcome Joël!
It is a great honour to be appointed as the first Regional Professional Activities Chair. I look forward to working closely with the SIG and chapter programming committees to help coordinate their respective needs and help them maintain a healthy level of sustainability. Over the last few years, in my capacity as Programs Committee member with the Learner Development SIG and the Gunma Chapter, I have seen an increase in the number of events that are co-hosted or co-sponsored by SIGs and chapters. My mandate is to further promote these events by aiding in their effective and strategic planning and scheduling in whatever manner the SIGs and chapters deem works best for them. In my role of facilitator and liaison, I hope to help JALT groups form partnerships and assist them in their search for funds if required. If you are a Program Chair for a JALT group or one of our many Associate Members looking for help to promote an event, please contact me at <email@example.com>, and let’s cooperate and make some magic!