In post-secondary education, English language programs (ELPs) have the potential to make important contributions to their institutions’ academic and strategic goals. This potential is particularly strong in goals related to internationalization, intercultural learning, interdisciplinary connections, academic integration, and teaching excellence. ELPs also support goals related to recruitment and revenue generation. To be fully realized, ELP potential must be affirmed and developed by leaders at all levels – professors, coordinators, chairs, and senior leaders. In this paper we share leadership insights, strategies, and initiatives gleaned from interviews with ELP leaders at 10 Ontario colleges. The paper focuses on identifying ELP strengths and broad strategies that can enhance ELP contributions and institutional leadership. The workshop examines specific successful initiatives, and it explores how participants might adapt these initiatives for implementation in their own contexts.
Leadership initiatives and strategies for English language educators in post-secondary education
English language programs (ELPs) make important contributions to their institutions of higher education, and English language teachers (ELTs) have considerable academic and leadership potential to offer. However, ELPs and ELTs often experience marginalization within their institutions (Eaton, 2017; MacDonald, 2016; Pennington & Hoekje, 2010). ELPs struggle to find a place or good fit within traditional departmental and administrative structures in post-secondary institutions (Pennington & Hoekje, 2010). Because ELPs can play a valuable role in recruitment and revenue generation, they are often administered differently and separately from other programs (Eaton, 2017). Randolph and his colleagues (2014) interviewed ELP program leaders and identified common problems and frustrations, which included:
lack of awareness of the ELP within the institution,
lack of respect for language teaching,
blaming of ELTs for the perceived deficits of English language learners,
lack of permanent teachers,
lack of integration between ELP and non-ELP students, and
problems fitting into the larger organizational structure.