CORVALLIS, Ore. – The World Bank has awarded the English Language Institute (ELI) at Oregon State University a contract to develop higher education at four public universities in Yemen.
Faculty representatives from OSU are in Yemen now through May 27 to work with teacher trainers and to help administrators develop business models for training centers. A group of Yemeni administrators and faculty members are scheduled to visit OSU for three weeks beginning June 1.
Faculty members from the ELI, the Technology Access Center (Jon Dorbolo), and retired faculty (Don and Maxine Prickel) will help trainers in English Language Centers and Higher Education Development Centers develop specialized programs in areas such as English language reading, university teaching and research, and information technology. OSU’s English Language Institute was awarded this grant over several university consortia from North America and Europe.
According to the project’s director, Deborah Healey, these centers will then be able to offer specialized programs and courses for academic and management staff.
“We seek ‘diffusion of innovation’ across a broad number of faculty members through extended training of a cadre of trainers, rather than just providing short-term workshops for a large number of faculty members,” she said.
In addition to the academic training, the project will assist these centers in developing business models that will allow them to become self-sustaining.
In June, more than 35 administrators and trainers-in-training from Yemen will visit OSU for a conference. Conference sessions by ELI and OSU faculty will familiarize participants with approaches for managing their centers and developing programs in a collaborative setting. Trainers will remain an additional two weeks for sessions in the target areas of English teaching, content area teaching and research skills, and in computer skills. These sessions will give the Yemeni trainers a sense of what the possibilities are and offer them an opportunity to focus on training away from the demands of normal work and family life.
During the time in Oregon, additional faculty from the Writing Intensive Curriculum program, College of Science, and the Center for Teaching and Learning, among others, will be involved.
Throughout the project, the ELI will have systems of ongoing communication set up from the start, including electronic mailing lists and Voice Over IP (VOIP) options such as Skype. ELI faculty will continue to be available for consultation after the project has ended. It can also offer distance education courses, including English reading and IT skills, to further project goals in improving English language capability and enhancing teaching and research.
The English Language Institute has been part of OSU since 1965. The Intensive English Program offers academic English instruction to incoming international students. The Division of Special Programs, which began in 1967, is geared toward meeting specific educational purposes for international sponsors. The ELI is a self-supporting unit within the university with a $1.5-$2 million annual budget.
In 1985 to 1990, the ELI administered the Yemen-America Language Institute through a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. This $7 million project created an academic preparation program in which students gained the necessary skills and test scores to enter US universities. Eight OSU faculty participated over the course of the grant, plus another eight faculty who were hired overseas.