MU’s Intensive English Program receives 10-year reaccreditation

March 13, 2024

International Flags Outside McReynolds Hall for IEP 40th Anniversary Celebration
International flags outside McReynolds Hall for IEP’s 40 anniversary celebration

The University of Missouri’s Intensive English Program recently received reaccreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) to last 10 years. This program is a part of MU’s Center for English Language Learning.  

This reaccreditation will continue the university’s visibility to future international students, including Fulbright students, scholars and the institutions who help those students and scholars get to the U.S.  

“[This reaccreditation] ensures that our program is offering high quality instruction for our students,” said Lily Sorenson, director of the Center for English Language Learning, or CELL, “CEA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and many agencies and institutions that send students to the U.S. look for the CEA logo next to the program name when deciding which students to sponsor.”  

The reaccreditation process started in April 2021, and from there a CEA workshop was attended, the application for reaccreditation was submitted and a near two-year self-study was conducted. In March 2023, the self-study was submitted and in June of the same year, the CEA site review took place on campus. The site review involved two peer reviewers and a CEA representative visiting campus and experiencing all aspects of the program for themselves.  

“They went all over campus. They look at how you recruit, what kind of student services you offer. They interviewed people in the International Student and Scholar Services Office,” Sorenson added. “It’s not just about curriculum, it’s all aspects of the program.”  

To receive reaccreditation, the program had to meet 44 standards within 11 areas and in December 2023, CELL was notified by the CEA commission that the Intensive English Program had been awarded a 10-year reaccreditation.  

The IEP provides international students coming to MU with instruction at five different levels of proficiency. The students take courses in grammar, writing, reading, and listening and speaking. As students progress through the program, the content increasingly focuses on language in higher education settings, setting students up for success on campus and in the classroom.  

In addition to the academic curriculum that the IEP instructs, CELL offers social programming and activities to students within the program. This gives students the opportunity to practice the skills they are learning in real time and gain confidence in social settings.  

IEP Students with Truman
IEP students with Truman

“Above all [the IEP] helped me to become more confident about myself,” said IEP alumna Lescarlet. She added that the activities through which she interacted with classmates and professors outside the classroom helped her gain that confidence.  

Her view on the benefits of social programming isn’t unique to her, though. Talal, an alumnus who started the program in 1981, looks back fondly on the memories he was able to make while building upon his English skills. He said, “We would have linguistic majors visit us in the IEP that we could talk with, who were sometimes studying our native languages.” The IEP still operates the conversation partner program that allows U.S. students to partner with international students to practice speaking.  

The IEP was originally accredited by CEA in August 2018. CELL is also a member of the UCIEP (Consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs) and EnglishUSA.