Language Institute Supports Mason as a Global University

Posted: November 14, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Michelle Nery

The English Language Institute (ELI) is celebrating its 20th anniversary today with a reception at George’s restaurant in the Johnson Center from 4-5:30 p.m. for current ELI students, faculty, and staff as well as ELI alumni and other members of the university community. ELI founder France Pruitt will attend along with President Alan Merten, Provost Peter Stearns, and Vice President of University Life Karen Rosenblum.

Founded in 1981, ELI initially served both as an office of international students and English as a second language instructional center. The current director of the institute, Kathryn Trump, began teaching in ELI as a graduate student during the institute’s first semester at George Mason. “When I started teaching, we had about 40 international students and now we have 160 students. Because of George Mason’s location, we cannot be anything other than a global university and with that brings international students who require extra services,” says Trump.

“ELI has grown in numbers of students, faculty, and staff, and also in the range of programs we offer,” says Melissa Allen, ELI instructor of 17 years and support services coordinator. In addition to the traditional curriculum, ELI also offers conversation programs, workshops, tutoring, field trips, and activities, and stocks a language development center with software, books, and videos. The institute provides support services that continue to help students even after they’ve transitioned into academic classes, and works with immigrant students who need assistance producing English that’s acceptable to professors and employers.

“It’s been exciting to see a sense of community develop among faculty and staff at the ELI,” says Allen. “You have to have that kind of community to develop creative ideas and a cohesive but flexible program.”

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