Mark Algren to retire as executive director of CELL

Aug. 14, 2020

After more than 40 years of teaching and administration in English as a second or foreign language programs, Mark Algren will retire as executive director of the MU Center for English Language Learning on Monday, Aug. 31. Lily Sorenson, associate director of CELL, will serve as interim director.

Algren joined the MU Center for English Language Learning in 2014 after serving as a teacher, administrator and director at the University of Kansas Applied English Center from 1993 to 2014. He also spent 14 years teaching and directing intensive English programs in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and taught for a year in Hong Kong. He has been an active member of the TESOL International Association: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, serving as president in 2009–2010. He was awarded the 2017 James E. Alatis Award for Service to TESOL for his outstanding and extended service to the association. At the celebration of the association’s 50th anniversary in 2016, Algren was recognized as one of 50 at 50: one of the 50 most influential people in the field in its first 50 years.

Under Algren’s leadership, CELL became a member of the prestigious Consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs in 2016, recognizing the center’s commitment to providing students with the highest quality intensive English language instruction from trained, professional teachers. In 2018, CELL’s Intensive English Program received accreditation from the Commission on English Language Accreditation. This respected agency recognizes institutions both nationally and internationally for excellence in the field of English language teaching and administration.

“It was a great honor to direct the center, stepping into the large shoes of founding directors Larry Francis and Irene Juzkiw,” Algren said. “The students, faculty and staff have been great to work with, as has everyone at Mizzou. We wove the center into the fabric of MU, strengthening relationships and helping hundreds of students develop the language skills they need for success as Tigers.”

During his time at MU, Algren has served International Programs more broadly as a member of the IMOU Review Committee and the MU Internationalization Strategic Plan Committee. He has also worked closely with colleagues in International Admissions to assist with MU’s recruitment efforts abroad.

“Mark’s contributions to international education at Mizzou have been far reaching thanks to his vast knowledge of our field,” said Mary Stegmaier, interim vice provost for International Programs. “He’s a go-to source for information on world-wide university rankings, new strategies for international recruitment and ideas on improving student support. His collaborative approach to advancing MU’s global engagement will have a lasting impact on the work we do.”

Lily Sorenson joined the Center for English Language Learning in 2014 and has served as director of the Intensive English Program for the past five years. She has been actively involved in the field for 25 years, and has teaching and administrative experience from a number of university English as a second language programs, including at Boston University, Brigham Young University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Indiana University and Northeastern University. She also taught for a semester in Wuhan, China.

“I love working here at MU and with all of my colleagues present and past,” Sorenson said. “I appreciate the strong foundation that has been built by those before me. I look forward to continuing to build on that foundation with colleagues across campus as the center continues to support international students by providing them with the English language skills needed to truly succeed.”