Message from the President
Dear Friends of TFF:
Overall, the year went well. This past summer we sent 40 teachers to HUST and a few others to other locations in China and Romania. As always, the July session at HUST was well-received. Despite a larger than normal drop-out rate prior to the session and an unusual number of teachers who fell ill while teaching, we were able to cover all classes and to ensure that they remained productive. Similarly, the September sessions on the Main Campus and at Tongji went well and our teachers received very high evaluations from the students and the university. Thanks to Jim Wallace at Tongji and George Kiefer on the Main Campus for their able and dedicated leadership. My conversations with the university this summer were positive and we look forward to working on programs for next year.
Two of our teachers went to Huaihua to continue the teacher training program we started last year. Originally, we had planned to send four teachers but two had to drop out because of illness.( Fortunately, these two teachers are progressing well.) Again, the university and the students were pleased and excited about the program and I expect that we will continue at Huaihua for the foreseeable future.
In July,three of our more experienced teachers went to Bucharest, Romania to start two new programs at a highly respected university in the middle of the city. Our teachers were involved with undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty. The programs were geared more towards writing for publication since, generally, the level of English was very high. Students in the programs were from all over Europe – I even had a nice conversation with a couple from Wuhan on an earlier visit to the university – and their needs are somewhat more sophisticated than our usual students in China. The programs were in July and we think that we will need to change the time of the programs to better suit the students, the climate and our teachers. We are waiting to hear from the university as to how they wish to move forward.
We continue to explore the possibility of having programs in other venues. This is a painstaking process and one which takes an inordinate amount of time and effort. However, we are firmly convinced that the TFF programs are strong and advantageous to students, faculty and universities. As I have mentioned in the past, TFF requires that any host university be invested in the process in some way- through housing, a stipend, food allowances, or the like. We are prepared to be flexible on this as we work with the university but we do insist that there be a certain “buy-in”. Of course, vetting a would-be partner is an essential part of the process and this can prove somewhat problematic for TFF as a not-for-profit organization with limited funds.
Our tours went well and I was especially delighted that my older son and two grandsons had a chance to join me on the Highlight Tour this summer. My thanks to George Kiefer and Judy Lee for their oversight of the tours as we continually look for interesting places to go. As you know, our tours are open to all current Friends of TFF, new teachers, friends, relatives and partners. In the last year or two,we have added some intriguing new stops and activities to the Highlights Tour ,so even if you do not plan to apply to teach in 2013,you may want to take a look at the tour section of the TFF website. As I found this summer, sharing the Highlights Tour with family members (or friends) who have never been to China, is a most rewarding experience.
The annual information meeting will be held on January 12th at Udall Park from 1-3 pm. I expect that the July session will begin on July 8th. I am not yet sure of when the September session will begin. As of this writing, I do not know how many teachers we will need for the various sessions. I will post that information just as soon as I hear from the university.
At our recent board meeting, we re-structured some of the duties that I have been handling for almost 11 years. Under the very able leadership of Nancy Lutz, various committees have been established to handle the day-to-day activities of TFF, including, but not limited to, the handling of applications, interviews, program training, etc. This frees me to explore other venues and to maintain our ever-growing relationships in China and elsewhere. I take this opportunity to thank Nancy and our entire board of directors for their energy, enthusiasm and hard work. As president of TFF, I remain fully committed to the TFF mission of building bridges of friendship through teaching. I look forward to working with the board as we move forward.
Please let me remind you again that TFF operates solely on the small fees paid by accepted teachers and on donated funds. The fees barely cover the costs related to the teacher training sessions, the flash drives which are given to all, the welcoming party, and the like, not to mention the costs of our efforts to expand to new locations. We need your help. If you have enjoyed your experience with TFF and would be willing to help us continue our work then I need you to send a tax-deductible donation to our Treasurer, Nancy Lutz at 2648 E. 7th Street,Tucson,AZ 85716.
I am always happy to hear from you and I hope to see many of you in the not too distant future. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all.
William A. Ingram