Center for Expansion of Language and Thinking

CELT, founded in 1972, is a nonprofit educational corporation, international in scope, whose members believe in the principles of education for democracy with a focus on natural language learning and inquiry.  These principles are supported by beliefs in learners and learning, teachers and teaching, and language and curriculum.  The members of CELT are dedicated to the improvement of education through a greater understanding of the relationship between language, thought, and learning.

  CELT includes a rich diversity of people who share similar beliefs about language and learning but have widely varied background experiences.  CELT members are university educators, independent consultants, school administrators, and teachers.

A letter to members

August 26, 2013

Dear CELT members:

                  As the new academic year begins, I’d like to take a moment to update you about recent developments in CELT, particularly as related to the board meeting at the Rejuvenation Conference in July.  As these are mostly announcements, I’ll bullet the list to keep your reading time to a minimum.  However, please read carefully as there is important content here.

NEW MEMBERS We welcome 7 new members to CELT! Thank you to the membership committee for their work.  All individuals recommended by the committee were voted into membership.  The following lists the new member, his or her institution, and the CELT member who will serve as the new member’s mentor. 

Amy Barnhill, University of Houston-Victoria - Steve Trowbridge

Keri-Ann Croce, Towson University - Bess Altwerger

Deborah MacPhee, Illinois State University - Prisca Martens

Sue Seay, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Maryann Manning

Scott Ritchie, Kennesaw State University - Paul Crowley

Sarah Vander Zanden, University of Northern Iowa - Vivian Vasquez

Guofang Wan, Virginia Commonwealth University - Michael Shaw

ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP Given that we are welcoming new members, I want to take time to remind existing members of our commitment when we accepted the invitation to join CELT. Here are the commitments we made – what will you put on your fall “to do” list to meet them?

Once an individual has accepted membership in CELT, the member is expected to remain an active member of the organization. Our by-laws do not provide for members who wish to belong, but not to be active. Activities that meet the criteria for active membership include the following:

1. Attendance at CELT meetings as often as possible.

2. Participation in CELT workshops, writing projects, research, and other group sponsored activities.

3. Development of activities, conferences, and proposals that involve CELT or CELT members.

4. At least occasionally, when working with non-CELT members or by oneself, identify CELT as the organization to which fees should be paid.  These funds support each member’s research and conference activities. Ten percent supports CELT general expenses.

5. Identify oneself as an active member of CELT where appropriate.

6. Payment of annual dues. These dues were initiated to help share the cost of CELT overhead expenses.  Such dues may be paid from the fees that have

been paid to CELT on the member’s behalf (#4).

COMMUNICATION – Significant recent accomplishments to improve membership communication have included moving the listserv to the University of Louisville where it is working well, Alan Flurkey’s development of the CELT website, which is run through Square Space, and increased activity on the Facebook page.  Vivian Vasquez, Lori Norton-Meier, and Kathy Whitmore have administrative access to the Facebook page, but anyone may post to the page.  Please check out the website for recent additions and remember you can update your own personal information on the website, which was one of our major goals. And please “like” our Facebook page and contribute to it to keep it active.

DUES – At the last board meeting we voted unanimously to increase the annual dues to $75.00 (a $25.00 increase).  As with other organizations, our costs continue to increase and yet our dues have not increased for years.  This means if you have an individual lifetime membership (previously $500.00 in your account), you need to increase your individual balance to $750.00.  In addition, the board agreed to create a “hardship fund” that will be designated for members who are facing short term or longer difficulties keeping up with dues.  If you would like to make an additional $5.00 contribution to the hardship fund, please include it with your dues when Jerry Harste requests them.  Members will be notified that if they are in hardship they should inform the treasurer who will access those funds to help.

Related to active membership, one way we generate funds in CELT is to indicate that CELT (rather than an individual CELT member) is the recipient of a grant, consulting pay, or other contracts.  The overhead from these contracts increases our organizational account, saves the member income taxes, and can cover lifetime membership dues.

BY-LAWS – Thanks to the legal expertise and great attention to detail of Ann Alexander, the board discussed important updates to the CELT by-laws. Ann will bring the changes to the next board meeting for approval at NCTE, at which time they will be posted on the website for members’ reading.  The changes will bring the by-laws into alignment with our current practices.

CELEBRATIONS – There are many reasons to celebrate the successes of individuals and all of CELT as a collective.  Many individuals will be honored and many others will take on significant responsibilities as officers and leaders at the next NCTE Conference in Boston in November.  The next collaboratively authored CELT book will be available at NCTE (Reclaiming Writing: Composing Spaces for Identities, Relationships and Actions, Routledge, 2014), which includes numerous members as authors.

When I began this term as President of CELT 3 years ago, I encouraged us to look to our work and to each other with a sense of JOY.  I have a little sign under my desktop monitor (a gift from Nita Schmidt) that reminds me every day in my office of the joy that I feel when I recognize the privilege that I have as a faculty member.  Yes, the meetings are endless, the changes and limits imposed on us are infuriating, and the national (and international) momentum is not pointed in the direction we would like…and yet, especially this week as we remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s words and the spirit of his and others’ fight for equal rights, there is positive energy to be found and hope to keep alive. 

As you begin this new academic year, I wish for you the time and opportunity to listen for and recognize the joy in the learning that you witness and the relationships you build with children and adults.

See you in Boston!

Kathy Whitmore

President, CELT


CELT home page watercolor by Jerry Harste