I’ve been appointed to chair a task force for the TESOL International Association to look at how Interest Sections work within the association. I’ve often thought that these special interest groups are part of the heart and soul of how we work as an organization. But there are issues and challenges as well. Some ISs are much more robust and active than others. They may sponsor webinars or internet chats. They work out exchanges with other groups. But much of what ISs do is confined to the conference. Which is great if you can make it to the convention, but only about 25–35% of TESOL members make it to the conference in a given year.
As a task force we’ll be looking at models of how other associations organize their smaller groups. We’ll also examine the association literature about such groups and review the work of TESOL’s Governance Review Task force as it relates to ISs.
If you have any thoughts or ideas about how TESOL’s Interest Sections could operate more effectively, please let me know.