Leo van Lier Lecture Series

Remembering TESOL Professor Leo van Lier.

The annual Leo van Lier Lecture Series was established in 2013 to honor the memory of long-time Institute professor, Leo van Lier, who passed away on December 23, 2012.

The Leo van Lier Lecture Series brings pre-eminent scholars in the fields of applied and educational linguistics to campus to address faculty and graduate students regarding current topics and issues in applied and educational linguistics and in language education. 

Past and upcoming speakers include:

  • Elana Shohamy
  • Aida Walqui-Van Lier
  • George Bunch
  • Susan Conrad
  • Bev Derewianka
  • Shirley Brice Heath
  • Marc Kaiser
  • B. Kumaravadivelu
  • Bonnie Norton
  • Lourdes Ortega
  • Matt Poehner
  • Maricel Santos
  • Barbara Sawhill
  • Steve Thorne
  • Eve Zyzik

You may honor Leo's memory by making a donation to the Leo van Lier Lecture Series Fund. Give online or mail your checks to: MIIS Institutional Advancement Office 460 Pierce St. Monterey, CA 93940.

A professor of educational linguistics, Leo joined the Institute faculty in 1986.

“We all loved him for his wit, insightfulness and kindness and we marveled at his immense knowledge and exquisite vision,” shares Professor Peter Shaw. Leo authored several notable books in the field of language learning, served as editor-in-chief of The Modern Language Journal and on the editorial boards of a number of different journals. Before joining the Institute in 1986, Leo taught at the University of Northern Iowa and in Britain, Peru, Mexico, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

“Leo was one of the most creative thinkers in our profession in recent years,” says Professor Kathleen (Kathi) Bailey. “His research and writing influenced language teaching worldwide. In particular, his ideas about second language acquisition, oral proficiency interviewing, action research, chaos theory, ecological linguistics influenced the ways in which the profession has developed since the publication of his first book in 1988.”

Leo is remembered as “a great human being” and for his “unique combination of intellectual brilliance and empathetic compassion.” In the words of Kathi Bailey: “I liked to think of Leo as our resident “modelologist,” since he so often thought by drawing figures that represented concepts. Often in a TESOL-TFL faculty meeting when we were trying to hash out a complex issue, Leo would sit quietly and listen to the discussion while he sketched. Then he would show us what he had drawn and how the relationship among the issues we were debating could be better understood. He was a great scholar and a wonderful friend, and I miss him.”