December 2021 News from CEA

2021 End of Year Message from Connie Lee, 2021 Commission Chair

As 2021 comes to a close, I’m pleased to report on the work of the Commission throughout this past year. In early December, the Commission held its first in-person meeting in two years during a narrow window of safe travel and in-person gatherings. The in-person December meeting was especially meaningful not only for the opportunity to see our Commission colleagues in person, but also given that many long-term projects were able to be concluded with formal approvals taking place at this meeting. 

Throughout 2021, the Commission reviewed and revised CEA’s mission statement, developed a 4-year strategic plan, approved the Distance Education Task Force to continue its work to guide CEA’s future accreditation activities, and voted to adopt certain changes to the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions in addition to its regular work of making accreditation decisions, reviewing compliance reports and holding professional development sessions at each meeting. At the December meeting, we also had the opportunity to review and ratify the work of the Nominating Committee and the Policies and Procedures Committee. 

As my year as Chair of the Commission comes to an end, I would like to thank my Commission colleagues for their commitment to serving CEA and providing important non-profit governance duties as well as being the accreditation decision-making body. I would also like to extend special thanks to the competent and capable CEA staff, specialized contractors, and the cadre of volunteer peer reviewers who have stepped up to conduct both in-person and hybrid site visits throughout 2021. All of these individuals’ work and dedication allow CEA to operate as a high-functioning specialized accreditor.

On a personal note, as one of the two elected commissioners who has had the privilege of serving two consecutive terms to ensure continuity during CEA’s executive director transition, I am grateful to have worked closely with CEA’s former and current executive directors, Mary Reeves and Heidi Vellenga. Both are adept at responding flexibly to unanticipated circumstances and have consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership with a calm, balanced and methodical approach. Under such great leadership and with the strong support from the staff, specialized contractors, volunteers, and the Constituent Council members, I’m confident that CEA will continue to promote excellence in the field of English language education.

It’s been a great honor to lead the Commission this year; I am truly humbled by the experience and I am looking forward to serving my final year on the Commission under of the leadership of Ian Collins, 2022 Commission Chair. Having served as a peer reviewer and a commissioner, I have experienced tremendous growth as a professional. I strongly encourage all interested ESL faculty and administrators to stay engaged with CEA and consider applying to serve either as a peer reviewer or on the Commission. I guarantee that it will be one of the most rewarding professional development opportunities that will not only enrich individuals, but also serve their institutions and the field well.

Connie Lee
2021 Commission Chair

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