College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

CATESOL Los Angeles Regional Conference comes to CPP


Three Generations of Teachers: Dr. Marianne Celce-Murcia  (2nd from L) was the teacher trainer of Dean Sharon Hilles  (3rd from L) who was the teacher trainer of CPP Alums and current Rio Hondo College professors Angela Rhodes (far L) and Tyler Okamoto  (far R)

Cal Poly Pomona recently hosted the 2016 CATESOL Los Angeles Regional Conference, “Think Globally, Teach Locally.” California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL) is a professional organization that represents ESOL teachers throughout California and Nevada, promoting excellence in education and providing high-quality professional development. “You get to see what others are doing,” said Karen Russikoff, conference chair and CPP Professor of English and Foreign Languages. “It’s nice to get the best of the best.” The CATESOL Conference Committee, which was comprised of 35 graduate students and faculty members, had worked on planning this event for over a year.


The conference drew a crowd of over 600 attendees and more than 60 undergraduate and graduate student volunteers. “I was able to see how much work went into making sure the conference ran smoothly,” said CATESOL volunteer and TESOL graduate student, Valerie Osegueda. “It made me so proud to see just how amazing, hardworking, and passionate CPP students are about TESOL.” Among the 600 attendees were many returning CPP alumni who have found success after graduation. “What was fun is lots of people came back,” said Russikoff. “It was kind of like homecoming. Numerous EFL TESOL graduates have landed tenure track positions at colleges such as Pasadena City College, Citrus College and Chaffey College.”

Dr. Marianne Celce-Murcia and Dr. Karen Russikoff

The conference consisted of 60 presentations, exhibits, mentor sessions, teacher talks, and CATESOL Board Representative sessions.  Featured as Plenary Speaker was Dr. Marianne Celce-Murcia, UCLA Professor Emerita of Applied Linguistics, who is a prominent researcher and scholar, and author and editor of numerous books and articles used in TESOL classrooms around the world. She has been described as a “rock star” in the profession, and it definitely showed when her presentation packed Ursa Major at 3 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. In the audience, were Sharon Hilles, Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, who gave opening remarks, and Associate Professor of EFL, Olga Griswold, who introduced Celce-Murcia. Both are former students of Celce-Murcia’s. In what she said would be her last conference presentation, the world-renowned language teaching expert and grammar scholar gave an historical overview of language teaching since the Greeks.  She argued that even though language teaching has changed dramatically over time, present day teachers can learn a great deal if they think about their discipline from a global perspective: What changed and what remained the same? What became fashionable and what fell out of favor and why? What worked and what didn’t and how do we know? Failures as well as shifting metrics can be very informative to the present-day language teacher. After her talk Celce-Murcia signed autographs and posed for pictures and with students and faculty from numerous schools and colleges.

To learn more about CPP’s TESOL program, please visit the Department of English and Foreign Languages webpage.

We have pictures from the conference!






Plenary Speaker Marianne Celce-Murcia speaks to a full room.