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History and Mission
Officers and Board Members
A message from Dr. Hangtae Cho
July 12, 2021
By way of introduction and salutation, I am Hangtae Cho from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and I have been elected as the 10th president of the American Association of Teachers of Korean (AATK) for the upcoming three year term.
To begin, allow me to briefly introduce the officers who will be serving alongside me in various capacities. Taking on the duties and responsibilities of Executive Secretary will be Dr. Mijeong Kim at Washington University in St. Louis.
Dr. Hi-Sun Kim at Harvard University will be in charge of accounting and finances.
Also, Dr. Kyung-Eun Yoon at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County will continue her service in the role of newsletter editor and webmaster.
As you are aware, since its founding in 1994, our association has achieved remarkable growth and development due to the excellent leadership of former presidents, the sacrifice and effort of executives and board members, and the affection and interest of our members. Compared to other academic societies, our American Association of Teachers of Korean is an unrivaled group in terms of membership harmony, soundness, and faithfulness to the purpose of the association. I am very proud of our society.
As the newly minted president of the American Association of Teachers of Korean, I will try to implement the following vision.
First, I will maintain the foundation of the Association that my predecessors and board members have laid out. Our Association has achieved rapid growth and achievement over the past 30 years and as I inherit the firm foundation I will endeavor to maintain its identity and traditions.
Second, I will seek to strengthen the inherent functions of the Association. I am brought to reflect on myself and whether I am living in the present, utilizing the knowledge and teaching methods I acquired in the 1990s. I was first introduced to foreign language pedagogy while majoring in English language education as an undergraduate, and I began my career in Korean language education after obtaining a doctorate in linguistics from the University of Minnesota. The annual AATK conference and workshop have been absolutely essential to my development of expertise in Korean language education. I will support the longstanding tradition of sharing research and teaching methods by Association members.
Third, I will strengthen the communication and vision sharing among the members of the Association. It was the advice of colleagues whom I met at various conferences that helped me to build and grow a vision during the process of creating and operating Korean language programs at the University of Minnesota. Particularly in the early 2000s, when I was worried about how to deal with heritage and non-heritage learners, that collaborative network enabled me to realize the need for regional specialization, leading to the growth of our non-heritage learner-centered program at the University of Minnesota.
Fourth, I plan to increase the AATK’s academic level and intensity as well as strengthen exchanges with other disciplines. In particular, I plan to strengthen the connection with content courses that are complementary to Korean language courses and promote exchanges with other foreign languages, such as Chinese and Japanese. I intend to develop and maintain a sustainable academic system within the U.S. educational system.
Fifth, I will strive to strengthen the connection between elementary, middle and high schools and universities.
Our AATK has made remarkable progress because of the active participation and affection of all its members. Also, even a glance at human history shows that during difficult times like the current pandemic, humans have been active and capable of turning crisis into opportunity. I want to express my great respect and appreciation to those who have maintained a high level of operation of our Association during this pandemic, including President Joowon Suh and Executive Secretary Mee-Jeong Park, Dr. Bumyong Choi, who has long been in charge of accounting and finances, and Dr. Kyung-Eun Yoon, our dedicated newsletter editor and webmaster.
In the future, I will do my best with the great support of executive officers to help the American Association of Teachers of Korean take a leap forward in the Post-Covid era.
American Association of Teachers of Korean, President
American Association of Teachers of Korean, AATK
“ Special thanks to Calligrapher Byungchul Park for Hangeul logo calligraphy ”