by Erica Jones
The University of Missouri’s Intensive English Program, which is a part of the Center for English Language Learning, recently received accreditation from the Commission on English Language Accreditation. The respected accrediting agency recognizes institutions both nationally and internationally for excellence in the field of English language teaching and administration.
The Intensive English Program, or IEP, offers high quality English language instruction to non-native speakers and provides individuals with the skills necessary to earn a degree from a college or university. Through specialized sessions, each student receives careful and individualized attention to advance in English proficiency.
“Each student is different and requires their own kind of attention and focus to grow their English skills,” said Irene Juzkiw, senior associate director of the Center for English Language. “It also depends on the student’s commitment to learning in order to meet their goals.”
The journey to gain accreditation began late December 2014 for the program’s faculty and staff who worked continuously over the last four years to exceed accreditation requirements. In August, MU’s program received an initial accreditation of 5 years with no reporting requirements, indicating the program met exemplary standards.
“This is a mission-driven, thoughtful and programmatic agency that seeks to help intensive English programs like ours make significant improvements,” said Mark Algren, executive director of the Center for English Language Learning. “Our program has been acknowledged as one deserving of higher recognition, which keeps doors open for us and tells prospective international students that we have a highly regarded program.”
MU’s Intensive English Program curriculum covers grammar, writing, reading, speaking, pronunciation, listening, and vocabulary. Additionally, the program introduces students to the culture and expectations of U.S. higher education. Each student is placed in one of the five levels of proficiency, which is determined by a placement test at the beginning of instruction. The IEP’s classes average 12 students, allowing for individual focus. The program currently serves approximately 50 students per semester in their academic and language goals.
As part of the accreditation process, faculty and administration analyzed what could be improved to better serve international students in the future. Detailed observations and documentation were performed in order to gain insight into classroom environment and teaching techniques. This allowed program leaders to more clearly define levels of language proficiency, which gives students a direct pathway to studying at an institution.
“Ultimately this accreditation will make MU’s program more noteworthy when being considered by international students,” said Lily Sorenson, associate director of the Center for English Language Learning and director of IEP. “We give students a direct path to success and meet them at the skill level they’re at, most often beginning with little to no English.”
A ceremony with campus leaders was held in honor of the accreditation and the 40th anniversary of IEP on Nov. 9.