From the President’s desk - March 2011

Kevin Cleary, NPO JALT President


Speaking on behalf of my colleagues on the Board of Directors, I can assure you that we are all very grateful for your support in the 2010 election, mindful of our responsibilities, and greatly looking forward to serving you. In this column I would like to let you know a bit about how things have been going since we took office and some of our plans for the coming two years.

First of all, I am very glad to report that the outgoing and incoming Directors had a very productive transition meeting the weekend following JALT2010. It was a great sign that everyone was willing to meet up so soon after the conference, which is in many ways the pinnacle of JALT activity. Since almost all of us are either new to the Board or are serving JALT in a new position, there was much to discuss with our predecessors and many agenda items that merited our attention. The weekend flew by and it appears that we have already coalesced into a team, one that has diverse perspectives but also a unifying sense of purpose. Our ongoing discussions—in person, by email, and via teleconferencing—have helped us define and set new goals for each of us individually and as a Board. A few examples: (1) Have the conference chairs, theme, and site decided three years in advance (our Director of Program has already almost achieved this goal!); (2) Hold workshops for officers before Executive Board Meetings; (3) Set up formalized training, including videoconference sessions, for treasurers and examiners. I urge you to help us identify and define goals too. Please use <> as a virtual suggestion box. We look forward to hearing your ideas, observations, suggestions, and concerns.

Towards JALT 2020

The Board is also considering how to identify, define, and move toward long-term goals for JALT, a process that we have named JALT 2020. As the name suggests, we want to have a clear vision of where we are now and also concrete goals for what JALT will look like in the year 2020. Again, your input will be greatly appreciated. Please send your JALT 2020 ideas to <>. Although my BoD colleagues and I have many ideas for our areas of responsibility and for JALT as a whole, we want to foster a bottom-up approach to the very important process of making a set of long-term goals that reflect the needs and desires of the membership, that are in accord with each other, and which move us toward a future that is, as much as possible, one of our own making. With your support, JALT 2020 will help us fulfill these aspirations.

Volunteering for JALT

Finally, let me ask you to consider volunteering for JALT if you are not already doing so. Before becoming a JALT volunteer, a reasonable person might wonder, “What is so wonderful about working for JALT?” Furthermore, it seems that everyone is getting busier year after year. Another question could be, “Why should I invest my time in JALT?” However, after working with a great team and completing a project, the answer to these questions becomes very clear: volunteering makes a difference. Yes, creating publications, organizing conferences, planning or holding events, and managing chapter or SIG business takes a lot of time and energy. However, the rewards of working with other dedicated volunteers make it all worthwhile. Besides the priceless opportunities for collaboration, professional development, and skill building provided by participation in JALT, we have found that working together in this great organization leads to lasting friendships and personal development as we get to know each other and help each other reach our individual potentials.

Again, we on the Board greatly appreciate your support, and look forward to working diligently for you and future members of JALT. We hope that you too will find that volunteering for JALT affords job satisfaction, opportunities for development, and friendships that stand the tests of time and distance. Thank you again, and best wishes for the upcoming school year!

Kevin Cleary

NPO JALT President