Intensive English as a Second Language Secures Five-Year Initial Accreditation

After undergoing a rigorous three-year process of measuring its performance against the 44 standards of the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), Michigan Tech’s Intensive English as a Second Language (IESL) program has secured a five-year initial CEA accreditation (August 2015-August 2020). CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting body for English language programs and institutions. The Commission leads the field of language teaching and learning via rigorous standards and processes of transparent and accountable peer review.

Tech’s IESL program was established to help improve the English language proficiency of international students who meet all of the university’s academic admissions requirements. This accreditation review, the first external evaluation of the program since its inception in 2000, culminated in a three-day site visit last spring.  Tech’s was one of twelve programs seeking initial accreditation, and was one of only five programs granted the full five-year accreditation.

According to Bruce Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, the visiting accreditation team was extremely complimentary about Tech’s program.  To a significant extent, that positive stance stemmed from the efforts of Beatrice Smith, director of the program and professor of Humanities, and the IESL faculty, who have revamped and significantly improved the IESL curriculum and content in recent years.  As a result, the visitors stated they would recommend that Beatrice’s report become a model for other schools.  “Beatrice worked incredibly hard to insure that the Tech program met the CEA accreditation standards and this outcome is a tribute to the dedication and commitment exhibited by her and the IESL faculty. They did a superb job, and we deeply appreciate their efforts.”

With accreditation, IESL agrees to uphold CEA standards for language programs and institutions.  The letter granting accreditation states, “In reviewing a program or institution, the Commission seeks to determine that mission and educational objectives are being communicated and met; that performance with respect to student achievement is being realized; that the program or institution is organized so that its mission and educational objectives are supported by adequate human and fiscal resources…and that the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and institutions are being met. The Commission had determined that the IESL Program meets these requirements and commends the program for its achievements”.

With this accreditation, IESL also joins EnglishUSA—the American Association of Intensive English Programs—a group that promotes quality and advocates for English language programs.

(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)