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President’s Message

A message from Dr. Joowon Suh

 

Dear Members of AATK,

Warmest greetings to everyone! Hope you and your family are all healthy and safe in this time of uncertainty. We are now looking forward to a restful summer after an unusually challenging academic year.

This year, due to the global COVID-19 situation, instead of welcoming everyone in New York City, I will be meeting you virtually at the 2020 Annual Meeting on June 19th and 20th. On behalf of the Korean language faculty at Columbia University, I want to emphasize how sorely disappointed and saddened we are that we cannot welcome you in person on the Columbia campus after two years of diligent preparations of the meeting. At the same time, I am excited about this unexpected opportunity to take full advantage of technological resources and advances available to us at Columbia and the collective experience that we gained through our online teaching during the last half of the spring semester. I understand that all presenters, attendees, and organizers may have to make substantial adjustments. However unusual the situation might be, following the great success we achieved at the University of Minnesota last year, I have no doubt that we will continue our meaningful intellectual exchanges and accomplish another success in our annual gathering this year. The registration for the conference will continue through June 19th with no registration fee. Considering that more than 100 people have already registered to participate in our online meeting, we expect to broaden the audience beyond our familiar group of colleagues. Furthermore, all of us will not only gain valuable insights into our academic and professional endeavors but also learn new ways to interact with one another through these experiences.

This year’s workshops and conferences owe greatly to the local organizing committee at Columbia University, all of whom are responsible and resourceful for this collective endeavor, and Dr. Mee-jeong Park, the Program Chair, who have put incredible amount of work and energy into making this meeting possible. Dr. Bumyong Choi, the AATK Treasurer, and Dr. Kyung-Eun Yoon, the AATK Webmaster & Newsletter Editor, also deserve our special appreciations for their due diligence and commitment to maintain all aspects of conference planning and organizational business of the AATK. I also would like to thank the Executive Board, particularly the three departing members, Drs. Hee Ju, Mijeong Mimi Kim, and Sang-Seok Yoon, for their dedicated services for the organization and its membership. Please join me in thanking them for their invaluable services to the AATK.

On behalf of all AATK members, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Korea Foundation for its generous funds, which have made our annual meetings financially possible and stabilized over the years. I specially thank Director Hyeon Seon Choi for her sincere interest in and continuous support for the future of the AATK. This is her last year as Director in Los Angeles Office, and she will be greatly missed. I also want to thank Columbia University for their generous financial and precious moral support. Without it, this year’s meeting would not have been possible under such a tight schedule of converting the conference entirely online. Our very special thanks go to Professor Emeritus Ho-min Sohn at the Korean Language Education & Research Center (KLEAR) for the generous contribution to the AATK.

At the opportune time of our first-ever virtual annual meeting, the new AATK website is to be launched on June 1st. This long-overdue project, which has gone on for more than a year and a half since November 2018, is surely one of the most ambitious and challenging projects that the current AATK leadership has to tackle. Along with the newly designed look, the new website accommodates new technology and user profiles more effectively and makes almost all AATK business and projects operate online. For instance, we will conduct this year’s board member election online from recommending candidates to voting. In addition, we reinforced online functions that manage membership, annual meeting websites, conference registration, program chair tasks, and developed the online procedures for Korean Honor Society and specifically designed space for our future virtual meetings. With the updated website, I expect that we will build an even stronger and more dynamic community together. This was all made possible with the full financial support of the Korea Foundation. I thank Director Choi for her guidance to secure the funding. For this new website project, the AATK Officers, led by Dr. Kyung-Eun Yoon, worked tirelessly – reviewing our needs, updating contents, streamlining the process, and collecting market information to locate a company for this project. My deepest gratitude goes to Dr. Yoon for her dedication, perseverance, and thoroughness throughout this long and arduous process. Without her commendable effort, and more than 200 correspondences that she had to manage, this complex project would not been possible at all.

Following the achievements in previous years, the three main AATK projects and activities have continued their successes: the Korean Language in America, the Korean Honor Society, and the Korean Special Interest Group at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The Korean Language in America, the official journal of the AATK, continues to flourish under the editorship of Dr. Hae-Young Kim. Since our last meeting in 2019, two volumes, 23.1 and 23.2, were published to include several informative, substantial, and stimulating research articles, forum pieces, and book reviews. The KLA is truly the intellectual core of the AATK. I strongly encourage all members to strive for more submissions to the future KLA volumes. The Korean Honor Society continues to grow at high schools in various regions in the U.S. thanks to the selfless work of the KHS committee, led by Dr. Meejeong Kim, and K-12 teachers. The AATK representation at the ACTFL and collaboration with the Korean-SIG in the field of foreign language education has become strengthened with the general support of the Korea Foundation. Under the new leadership, Dr. Angela Lee-Smith as the Chair and Ms. Sandra Song as the Vice Chair, I anticipate that many more AATK members will actively participate in the 2020 ACTFL World Language Convention & Expo in San Antonio, Texas on November 20th through 22nd. Please refer to more detailed reports of these projects and activities in this newsletter.

The AATK has now been firmly established as the sole organization that represents Korean language educators in North America. Encouraged by all the developments and expansions in the field recent years, we should continue to collaborate to adjust and improve ourselves in order to grow further to embrace diversifying group of members, to better position the Korean language education within the field of foreign language education, and to prepare ourselves for the future generation of the field. I urge you to join in these endeavors and to continue your interest in and support for the AATK.

Enjoy our first remote AATK Annual Meeting hosted by Columbia University! I sincerely hope to see you all, in person, next year at Cornell University for our 26th Anniversary Meeting!

Best wishes,

Joowon Suh

For more information regarding this website and news posting, please contact Dr. Kyung-Eun Yoon, webmaster, aatk@aatk.org
American Association of Teachers of Korean, AATK
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