SMWC adds intensive English program and international student office

December 3rd, 2015 | SMWC

An intensive English program not only provides high-quality language instruction to international students, but it also enables those students to adjust to the expectations of American higher education in the hopes that they will pursue a degree in the United States. Prepared to assist the needs of English as a Second Language (ESL) students, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) is proud to announce the return of the English Language Institute (ELI).

With the goal of increasing students’ competency in English to function successfully in academic, social and professional settings, the ELI offers a curriculum designed for students of all levels of English proficiency based on students' needs and interests. ESL students will have the opportunity to learn side-by-side with students from all over the world in a quality English language program staffed with expert instructors.

“This program will internationalize and provide a more diverse population to not just the College but to the area,” states Cindy Morgan, director of the English Language Institute. Students engaging in this program will be more likely to choose SMWC or a nearby institution, which will help diversify the Wabash Valley. With local programs such as Interlink and other language organizations who often have overflow of students, the ELI will be another opportunity for those students.

Highlights of the program include small class sizes that allow more one-on-one interaction with instructors, affordable and competitive costs, extracurricular activities and participation in student life, and conditional admission to SMWC upon ELI completion.

“While they’re in the ESL program, we want them to feel part of the College and that they belong,” states Morgan.

Morgan and her team are actively recruiting now, beginning with the connections that SMWC already has at its sister schools in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

“It’s been very helpful that SMWC has already established these relationships and has the ability to issue visas to students,” states Morgan.

The pilot program will begin in January 2016. Every eight weeks, new students will start. The placement test is free, and depending on the starting level of a student, the program could take anywhere from six to 18 months to complete. The ELI will offer test prep courses for TOEFL (test of English as a foreign language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded a certificate that SMWC and many other schools will accept in place of taking the TOEFL test.

The ELI program will be an enriched cultural experience for the students of the program and also for the current students at SMWC. This will present opportunities for both international and American students to learn from each other.

SMWC prides itself on embracing diversity and expanding the worldview of students through study abroad, service learning, clubs and organizations and more. This aspect of the College’s mission demonstrates the importance bringing an intensive English program back to The Woods.

“I’m very pleased to have an experienced staff member rejuvenate this program to ensure its quality and academic rigor in preparing students to be successful in American colleges and universities,” states Janet Clark, vice president for academic affairs at SMWC.

Thirty years ago, Morgan worked at SMWC in the ELI program. The program dissolved in the 1980s due to conflict in the countries where students were recruited.

Morgan went on to Indianapolis and became the ESL Program Director at Ivy Tech Community College. Since then, she has also worked as Director of International Language Services and Academic Coordinator at Internexus Indiana, gaining valuable experience and expertise which she now brings back to The Woods.

“A lot of international student-age people want to study in the U.S.,” she states. “And they need to learn English. It is still a hot market and just getting better.”