University Business February 2018 - 18

Beyond the News
STUDENT SUCCESS

Community colleges offer more than language
training for ESL learners
For non-native speakers, learning English represents just a part of acclimating to American culture. Community
colleges are creating developmental
tracks, services and on-campus groups to
better serve English as second language
students and community members.
Anne Arundel Community College
reaches prospective non-English speaking students with traditional methods
such as registration fairs and flyers. In
a new approach, the Maryland college
now promotes its ESL courses and adult
services jointly, as they often appeal
to the same demographic, says John
Dayton, manager of Anne Arundel's
ESL programs. The two get marketed
together at community agencies, on its
Facebook page and in radio ads.
Anne Arundel offers two ESL tracks:
1. English Basic Skills-a free, grantfunded program-goes beyond reading
and writing to trains students in conversational English and how to function
socially in the community.
2. The English for Academic Purposes track charges for non-credit classes
that prepare students to take for-credit,
college-level courses.
It is particularly important to identify
non-native speaking students before they
enroll in credit-bearing courses, as they

DATA POINTS

625

Ranked colleges and
universities reporting
to U.S. News that they
offer an ESL program
TEACHER AND LEARNER-A Borough
of Manhattan Community College
student reads to a child in the
college's Early Childhood Center.

can no longer take developmental classes
after that, says Dayton.
Integrating ESL students into the
campus community can go well beyond
the syllabus. Developmental reading
students at Borough of Manhattan
Community College read to children in
the school's day care, for example.
Anne Arundel's ESL department
intends to strengthen its relationship
with the school's International Student
Group. "We hope to bridge cultural
gaps, and help students realize there are
peers to relate to, though they may face
different challenges," says Dayton.
-Stefanie Botelho

Getting faculty involved
A culture of inclusion and empowerment for all students increases the chances
faculty will support a school's ESL population:
* Anne Arundel employs several ESL faculty-especially in the STEM fields-who
serve as role models and empathetic listeners for students. This mission extends
to the curriculum, in the form of the college's ESL teaching certificate.
* Borough of Manhattan Community College hosts a workshop series for faculty
on how to better support their ESL students, says Katherine Figueroa, the
academic literacy department chair.

18 | February 2018

92

Colleges that submitted data
regarding the proportion of
2016 graduating seniors who
had participated in ESL

2.4%

Average portion of 2016
graduating seniors who
had participated in ESL

14%

2016 graduating seniors
participating in ESL at the
University at Buffalo (SUNY),
the highest percentage
among U.S. News-ranked
colleges and universities
Source: U.S. News Short List survey

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