History of the Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference


Established in 1951, The Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference (MIFLC) (www.miflc.com) is an organization of teachers, scholars, and graduate students dedicated to the advancement of literary, linguistic, and pedagogical scholarship in foreign languages. It provides participants with a forum in which to exchange ideas and to advance the cause of teaching and research in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Today, its annual convention draws between 200 and 250 academic professionals from the United States and abroad for a three-day program featuring nearly 70 sessions as well as other events, including workshops, plenary sessions, social gatherings, a banquet and book displays.

                    The first meeting of the MIFLC took place on 29-30 September 1951 in Pikeville College, Kentucky. At its inception, the Conference included the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. By 1969, the Conference, which had started with a membership of about forty, had grown to 110 members with thirty-five universities and colleges represented. In 1971, Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, hosted the Conference for the first time and the state of South Carolina was added to the original five states approved by the Constitution. Thirty universities and colleges were represented among the 93 paid registrants. In 1974, with Dr. Gastón Fernández presiding, the Conference took place in Clemson, SC.   At this time, the Conference reached more than 100 members.  There were 200 participants registered, coming from seventy different colleges and universities.  The main focus of the three-day program was the reading of over one hundred papers on a variety of topics relating to literature, language and teaching techniques in the field of foreign languages, both ancient and modern.  In 1976, the Conference reached a new peak with the presidency of Dr. Justo C. Ulloa of Virginia Tech. This 26th annual meeting was held at the Continuing Education Center on the campus of Virginia Tech.  Almost 300 official registrants were in attendance, representing approximately 100 colleges and universities in the United States and several universities abroad.  The program consisted chiefly of the reading of 175 papers on subjects of a literary, linguistic and pedagogical nature.  One of the highlights of the Conference was, in addition to the delightful banquet, the music presented by W. James Glazebrook, violinist, and Kent A. Holliday, pianist. Dr. Emir Rodriguez Monegal, Yale University Professor, spoke on the subject “Metamorphoses of Calibán.” At this meeting, Dr. Gastón Fernández Cárdenas was named Secretary-Treasurer of the organization. In 1977, during the presidency of Dr. Manuel L. Suárez, the Conference, held on the campus of East Tennessee University, reached new peaks with 335 official registrants, 237 papers read, and 45 working sessions. During the business meeting at this annual gathering, the need to reorganize the programs and procedures for selection of future sites for the Conference was discussed.  From this year on, the Conference garnered continued success and the numbers of annual registrants became stable. 

                    In 1990, during the presidency of Dr. Leonor A. Ulloa, of Radford University, the Executive Committee approved Dr. L. Ulloa’s proposal to establish, develop and publish a scholarly journal that would become the primary tool of diffusion of the best presentations during the annual meetings of the MIFLC. Today, MIFLC Review publishes critical studies on the modern languages and literatures as well as interdisciplinary, comparative, linguistic, and pedagogical studies based on works read at the Conference.  MIFLC Review is indexed on the MLA International Bibliography and is a member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. In 1993, Dr. Leonor Ulloa designed the logo for the Conference, which would become the official logo for all future annual Conference programs.  It was also determined at the 1993 business meeting that beginning with the 1994 annual conference, programs should be standardized, including an index with participants’ names in alphabetical order, names of institutions, and inclusion of e-mail addresses.  In 1996, during the 46th meeting of MIFLC in Wilmington, NC, Dr. Justo Ulloa was named Assistant Secretary Treasurer. In 1997, Dr. Terry Mount of UNC-Wilmington proposed to investigate the possibility of modifying the Constitution and Bylaws in order to include the states of Georgia and Alabama as official states represented by the Conference; MIFLC had grown since its inception and many participants to the annual conference were increasingly from these states.  The proposal was accepted. 

                    In 2005, at the 55th Annual Meeting, presided by Dr. M. Stanley Whitley and hosted by Wake Forest University, NC, Dr. Leonor A. Ulloa presented during the business meeting a project to amend and update the MIFLC Constitution and Bylaws. An Ad-hoc committee was nominated and approved with Dr. M. Stanley Whitley, Dr. Gastón Fernández, and Dr. Leonor A. Ulloa as members in charge to revise and have a final version of the Constitutions and Bylaws ready for the 2006 MIFLC business annual meeting. The revised Constitution and Bylaws were approved during the MIFLC business meetings held in 2006 and 2007 at James Madison University, VA, and Virginia Tech, respectively. In 2009, at the 59th Annual Business Meeting of the Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference, held at Furman University in Greenville, SC, after many years of dedicated service, Gastón Fernández declined the nomination to continue as Secretary-Treasurer of MIFLC.  At this meeting, Dr. Justo C. Ulloa was elected Secretary Treasurer and Dr. Leonor A. Ulloa, Assistant Secretary Treasurer. In 2015, Dr. Ronald Friis of Furman University was named Secretary-Treasurer, and in 2016 Dr. Jeremy Cass of Furman University was named Editor of the MIFLC Review, and Marianne Bessy of the same institution was named Assistant Secretary Treasurer.




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