Strengthening English Language Program
The purpose of the English Language Project (ELP) is to address the challenges facing SUA’s English Language and Communications Skills Program. It both strengthens the foundation of English teaching and learning at SUA and employs innovative strategies to make SUA a more supportive learning environment for English language. The structure of the project was defined based on a needs assessment produced by The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute in 2013 and a search for best practices conducted in 2014. The result of these activities is a comprehensive plan, which was adopted by SUA administration in late 2014, to revise the English curriculum and establish a revenue-generating centre for English language services. The plan includes five activities:
a. Revising the curriculum, learning objectives and syllabi
b. Providing training for staff to effectively implement the new curriculum
c. Creating an innovative English Language Resource Centre (ELRC)
d. Establishing an English Proficiency Program
e. Establishing a Writing Program
Implementation of these activities began in early 2015. The curriculum review is currently in process, and an English Language Specialist from the U.S. Department of State arrived in early May to support the writing of the new curriculum. SUA administration has allocated a room for the ELRC and renovation is underway. The Centre, including the Proficiency Program and Writing Program, are expected to be in operation by the end of 2015.
Key Actors at SUA
The Department of Social Sciences in the Faculty of Science, which provides English language instruction to all SUA students. Department Head Dr. Sotco Komba, ELRC Coordinator Mr. Onesmo Nyinondi, and ELRC Assistant Coordinator Mr. Abdulkarim Mhandeni spearhead the efforts of the department and faculty.
Program Support Manager
Start date of the first
‘Conversation that Matters’:
Stage 1 – Conversations That Matter
The Head of SUA’s Department of Social Sciences initiated the conversation by submitting a proposal to iAGRI to improve the resources at SUA for teaching English. Based on a series of conversations, iAGRI and the Department agreed to conduct a study tour to get new ideas and learn about best practices which would be incorporated into a revised proposal. The Department of Social Sciences, with support from iAGRI and a consultant from Virginia Tech, put together a plan for the study tour that identified the objectives and steps for implementing the tour.
Stage 2 – Ways That Work
The study tour team documented procedures for the study tour, including objectives, locations to visit, and data collection tools. The study tour was completed in June 2014, and afterwards the study tour team engaged in detailed discussion regarding the findings of the tour and what recommendations to make to SUA. A final report was submitted to SUA administration in September, 2014. Based on SUA administration’s acceptance of the report and recommendations, the study tour team engaged in a participatory planning process to identify what should be done at SUA. The result was a revised proposal to iAGRI, which was submitted in November 2014. The proposal was approved by iAGRI, and the team agreed to submit the proposal to SUA through Senate so it could be adopted by the formal system.
Stage 3 -Changes That Sustain
The revised proposal for the English Language Program, which contained performance standards, was presented to Senate and accepted in early 2015. As part of implementing the proposal, a Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator for the English Language program were named. SUA administration has agreed to hire new staff for the Writing Program and Proficiency Program using iAGRI funds initially. The Department of Social Sciences is currently implementing the proposal.