NFMLTA Awards and Grants Programs 2017–2018

As part of its outreach activities, the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations (NFMLTA), the governing organization of the MLJ,  in cooperation with other professional organizations, particularly ACTFL and the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), supports a number of award and grant opportunities. Please familiarize yourself with these opportunities and submit your applications and inquiries to the organizations and contact persons handling the competition.
For the upcoming year, 2017–2018, the following opportunities are available.

The ACTFL/NFMLTA/MLJ Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education

Nominations made by journal editors by May 28, 2017
The Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education was created in 1977 in response to the initiative of an anonymous donor as a memorial to Paul Pimsleur. Among the most prestigious awards in language studies, it is awarded to the author(s) of an outstanding research study in foreign or second language education published during the previous calendar year.
The award recognizes Pimsleur’s contribution to the profession as an outstanding teacher, researcher, and expert on test creation and interpretation, work that lives on through the internationally established Pimsleur Aptitude Tests and the materials for independent language learning that he created.
Since 1989 recipients have received a $500.– cash award, provided by the NFMLTA/MLJ.
Please note that there is no application process for this award; rather, ACTFL, which coordinates the award, solicits nominations from editors of scholarly journals in second and foreign language learning and teaching. Further information is available at

The ACTFL/NFMLTA/MLJ Emma Marie Birkmaier Award for Doctoral Dissertation Research in Foreign Language Education

Application deadline: July 7, 2017
Established in 1980, the Emma Marie Birkmaier Award recognizes the author of a doctoral dissertation in foreign language education that contribues significantly to the advancement of the profession.
The award honors ACTFL’s first president, a person who worked tirelessly in the creation of the association and its new programs, including the ACTFL Annual Bibliography of Books and Articles on Pedagogy in Foreign Languages and the ACTFL Review of Foreign Language Education (now known as the ACTFL Foreign Language Education Series). She was an outstanding teacher educator at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis–St. Paul, and her career influenced countless foreign language education students at that institution and practicing teachers across the nation.
Since 1989, the recipient has been awarded a $500.– cash award, provided by the NFMLTA and the MLJ.
This competition is handled through ACTFL. Criteria for selection and details on the application process are available at

NFMLTA/MLJ Dissertation Support Grants

Application deadline: September 15, 2017; notification of awards: November 1, 2017
Instituted in 2013 by the NFMLTA and the MLJ, this award helps support graduate students in the fields of applied linguistics and language education at the dissertation writing stage. These grants can provide resources at any stage of dissertation writing, e.g., data gathering, data transcription, data analysis, or write-up of the findings.
For 2017, seven awards in the amount of $2,500 each will be made.


By the application deadline, applicants must have completed all requirements for the Ph.D./Ed.D., except the dissertation.
Applicants must have an approved dissertation proposal with, if applicable, an approved IRB.
Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program at an institution of higher education in the United States; they need not be citizens or permanent residents.
A complete application includes:
Applicant contact information: Name, physical address, e-mail address, name of applicant’s institution of higher education
Brief statement signed by the dissertation advisor/dissertation committee chair stating that the applicant has: successfully defended his/her dissertation proposal; the IRB process has been cleared (if appropriate to the study); the applicant has successfully completed all but the dissertation writing at the time of application for this grant.
Proposed dissertation title and a description of the proposed research. The description should include: purpose of the study, theoretical framework(s), research questions, methodology, importance of the study, limitations, use of funding (maximum two pages, single spaced, Times New Roman 12)

NFMLTA/MLJ Travel Support Grants for Foreign Language Professionals (Including Graduate Students)

Application deadline: October 15, 2017; notification of awards: Nov. 15, 2017
Instituted in 2017 by the NFMLTA and the MLJ, this grant is intended to help defray the costs of conference attendance by foreign language professionals during the academic year 2017–2018. A maximum of 10 awards with a limit of $1,000 of reimbursable expenses per awardee will be made. Earlier submissions are encouraged, as conference acceptances and cost information becomes available to applicants.
Application information:
The application includes a brief narrative (250–300 words) that provides information on the applicant’s educational background and position, contextualizes the topic of the presentation in the applicant’s career, and indicates need for support in relation to other possible sources of support;
Applicants must provide proof of acceptance of a conference presentation at a national, language-specific, or regional language conference during the academic year 2017–2018;
The presentation should be related to the professional/scholarly work of the applicant;
Preference will be given to applicants who are attending a conference for the first time or are younger members of the profession, including graduate students.
Reimbursement, against original receipts, is limited to $1,000 per award recipient and should be requested within 30 days after the conference. Reimbursable expenses include conference registration, transportation (air, train, bus, cab, subway systems), and lodging, but not meal expenses.

The NFMLTA/NCOLCTL Graduate Students Research Support Award

Application deadline: February 1, 2018:  Notification of award: March 1, 2018
Instituted in 2014 by the NFMLTA and the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), this award supports graduate student research in the fields of applied linguistics and language education with small grants focused on the teaching and learning of less commonly taught languages (all languages except English, Spanish, French, and German). The grants provide resources at any stage of dissertation writing, e.g., data gathering, data transcription, data analysis, or write-up of the findings.
For 2018, five awards in the amount of $2,500 each will be made. Awardees are expected to be members of NCOLCTL. The awards will be given at the Awards Ceremony during the annual NCOLCTL conference, April 19–22, 2018. Awardees are strongly encouraged to attend this event. A complete application includes:
A two-page (500-word) application letter detailing the research and how the award will be used towards the research
A two-page (500-word) curriculum vitae attachment
Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Purpose of the study
Theoretical framework(s)
Research questions
Research methodology
Importance of the study
Use of funding
(Maximum two pages, single spaced, Times New Roman 12)

For further information about opportunities focused on the less commonly taught languages, please see the web site of NCOLCTL, http://conference.ncolctl.org/awards/nfmlta-ncolctl-research-award.


NFMLTA/MLJ Roundtable Conference Grants

Application deadline: September 1, 2017; notification of award: October 1, 2017
The NFMLTA/MLJ invites proposals worldwide for funding small conferences or symposia/colloquia. The chosen theme should be of significant current theoretical or practical interest in the field of language teaching and learning. For 2017–2018, one award in the amount of up to $10,000 will be made.
The NFMLTA/MLJ Roundtables are open across a range of topical areas. However, they should align with the mission of the journal, to link cutting-edge research with applications/implications for teaching and learning in diverse educational settings, to diverse student groups, and with diverse languages. Preference will be given to events that include a focus on non-English language teaching and learning. Intended as stand-alone events, the roundtables can take a variety of formats, among them meetings of a group of researchers to chart future research and practice in a particular field; small conferences that are open to the public. As stand-alone events, outside the regular conference program, they may be held in conjunction with existing conferences.
The proposed event should lead to a paper or set of papers to be published in a scholarly venue, including, potentially, articles, a guest edited issue, or the Perspective columns in the MLJ. Also, after its conclusion, Roundtable organizers are expected to submit a summary of the event of approximately 1,000 words.
Proposals are to be submitted by a principal organizer, who will assume responsibility for the conference and for subsequent publication of the results. Proposals should include the following materials:
Title of the event
Description of and rationale for the proposed conference, including likely audience and possible outreach beyond the language studies field
Short narrative that situates the topic of the conference within the relevant literature
Location, timing, length, and format of the event, including, where applicable, names of presenters and topics/titles of presentations; submission of presenters’ names, assuming that they have been contacted and would commit to the event upon funding availability.
This information should be presented in a document about 1,000–1,500 words in length.
Names and short (2-page) curricula vitae of the organizer(s)
Budget table and brief narrative
Decision-making criteria include timeliness and likely impact of the proposed conference and topic, the likely contribution of participants, and potential interest for the MLJ readership and broader communities of applied linguists and language educators.
Note that funds are intended to be spent on participant travel, accommodation, meals, and incidental expenses associated with hosting the conference; the NFMLTA/MLJ does not pay indirect or administrative costs to institutions. Funds should be spent by no later than the end of the calendar year 2018. Also, grants will not be made to individuals; instead, they go to hosting institutions. Applicants are responsible for determining the institution’s requirements to ensure that it is prepared to administer the funds if the grant is awarded.
After notification of the award, transfer of the funds to the proposer’s institution will be arranged in a timely manner.




2016 Awardees

The ACTFL/NFMLTA/MLJ Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education
Tara w. fortune and diane j. tedick, University of Minnesota. “Oral proficiency assessment of English-proficient K–8 Spanish immersion students” Modern Language Journal, 99, 4, 637–655 (2016)
The ACTFL/NFMLTA/MLJ Emma Marie Birkmaier Award for Doctoral Dissertation Research in Foreign Language Education
Sarah young, Ph.D., Georgetown University (American University). “Reframing metalinguistic awareness for low literate L2 learners: Four case studies”
NFMLTA/MLJ Dissertation Support Grants
Laura Hamman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI. "Bilingualism for all?: Interrogating language and equity in dual language education"
Hyung-Jo Yoon, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. "Investigating the interactions among genre, task complexity, and proficiency in L2 writing: A comprehensive text analysis and study of learner perceptions"
Ju Seong Lee, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. "Informal, digital learning of English: The case of Korean university students"
The NFMLTA/NCOLCTL Graduate Students Research Support Award
Myriam Abdel-Malek, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. "A genre-based approach to teaching writing in Arabic: A mixed method investigation"
Miaochun Wei (魏妙純), George Washington University, Washington, DC. "The practice of placement procedures of less commonly taught languages at U.S. postsecondary Institutions: In the Chinese case"
Xin Zhang, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. “Using literary language in spoken discourse: Native speaker perceptions and pedagogical insights for advanced level Chinese language learner”
Renot hendryanti, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. "The impact of an intensive professional development institute on Chinese teachers' transfer of training into their U.S. classrooms" 
Shinsuke Tsuchiya, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. "The construct and effects of the native speaker fallacy in a U.S. university Japanese language program"