English Language Institute

Center for International Education

ELI Teaching Associate Anthony Schmidt Awarded Grant

Anthony Schimdt is the recipient of the 2017 University of Pittsburgh Travel Award for IEP Instructors.

The award is used for expenses associated with attending the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Seattle, Washington, USA on 21-24 March 2017. He will be recognized at the keynote session at the Convention and an Awards Reception. At the TESOL Convention, Anthony will be giving a presentation entitled: “Off Course: A Comparison of EAP Writing Coursebooks and University Writing Tasks.”

Proyecta Students Visit Cades Cove

On November 26, the students from Proyecta visited the beautiful Cades Cove located in Sevier County Tennessee to enjoy the natural beauty of the Smokey Mountains.  They were able to see the majestic mountains in their beautiful autumn colors and see some wildlife during the drive.  Although it was cold, the trip allowed the students to see new landscapes during their time here in the United States.

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Welcome to our New Home!

The English Language Institute moved from its home for the past 30 years on Mountcastle Street to new facilities in the UT Conference Center on Henley Street. Here’s a look at our brand new home!

ELI Hosts Proyecta Students from Mexico in July

Proyecta photo 7 16-001ELI is hosting a group of 24 university students from Mexico. The group arrived on July 4 and will study at the Institute through July 29. The students are participating in a scholarship program called Proyecta 100,000. The group is funded by AMEXCID (Agencia Mexicana de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo) —  Mexico’s agency for international cooperation and development. Mexico is endeavoring to send thousands of students and teachers to the U.S. for short-term English language instruction as a part of the Proyecta 100,000 initiative.

Anthony Schmidt of ELI’s faculty has been pleased to have several of the Proyecta students in his classes: “They quickly integrated into class and into the academic life of the Institute.  They are focused language learners and intense in their learning style.”

Em Chitty, ELI Senior Teaching Associate, said that “the Proyecta group has been outstanding. They are eager to learn and all are good language learners.”

The students have a range of English abilities – but all are highly motivated and have enthusiastically engaged in activities, such as a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a tour of Neyland Stadium.

The students will return to Mexico at the end of July. All of the students are enrolled at universities in and around Mexico City.

ELI Welcomes Students from Shanghai University of Sport

ELI and UTK’s Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies (KRSS) are teaming up for the fifth consecutive year to offer a summer program to undergraduates from Shanghai University of Sport (SUS). This summer’s group arrived in Knoxville on July 25 and will depart July 29.

This year’s cohort includes 14 students and two faculty/staff advisors from SUS – China’s premier higher education institution for physical education and sports.

The Summer Language, Culture, and Sports Studies Program offers daily English language instruction with a focus on experiential language use in the community, particularly through sports and recreational activities. Those activities included stand-up paddle boarding and a visit to UTK’s climbing wall. The program includes a series of KRSS seminars and tours such as tours to the Exercise Physiology Lab, and Neyland Stadium.

Students participated in a home-stay experience the weekend of July 8.

Lauren Wood, who coordinates ELI’s efforts for the group, commented on the group’s reliability and enthusiasm for classroom activities: “Our SUS students have been involved in class and are really positive about applying what they are learning in English classes to outside activities. They’ve been great to work with.”

Rob Hardin, who leads KRSS’ programming with the group, said “It’s always great to host students from SUS and introduce them to the American sporting culture. The group this year was able experience everything from Ijams Nature Center to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame to the Biomechanics Lab. Most of these things are totally new to them and it is great to see the look on their face when they experience something for the first time. It also a great learning experience for the students in our department as they lead many of the seminars.”

SUS 2016 group photo-001

Suzanne Meyer Moving to Pennsylvania

suzanneSuzanne Meyer, ELI Assistant Director, will leave the Institute this summer. She and her family are moving to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

Ms. Meyer joined ELI in 2006 as a term instructor. She became a Senior Teaching Associate in 2010. She has served the Institute as Assistant Director since October.

Ms. Meyer has led the Institute’s curriculum development activities, both as an instructor and as Assistant Director. It is fair to say that the ELI curriculum is what it is today because of her tireless efforts. She has presented widely at professional conferences and has had professional service roles with CEA. ELI Students and colleagues alike will miss her keen intellect and enthusiasm for encouraging students to learn.

Linda Rahbar Retiring This Summer

lindaLinda Rahbar is retiring from ELI at the end of the Summer term. She has served as an instructor at ELI since 1981. Prior to joining ELI, she taught at and owned a language school in Iran. She says the best part of her job is that ELI allowed her great professional and personal flexibility.

After more than 30 years of teaching, Mrs. Rahbar has observed many changes to ELI and the ESOL profession. She says that teaching is much more professional and structured than when she began. She has also learned that anyone can learn English – in some cases it just takes a lot of time. She reached this conclusion by interacting with students who didn’t seem to progress a lot in ELI class — then she met them a few years after their time at ELI and noticed how their proficiency had improved.

After retiring, Mrs. Rahbar plans on taking care of her baby granddaughter and getting her house organized.

Barry Clark Leaving for Carson-Newman University

Barry ClarkBarry Clark, Flex Instructor, will leave ELI at the end of the Summer 2016 term. He will become the Director of the English Language Institute at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Mr. Clark has been teaching English since 2013 and has experience in a variety of places, including Turkmenistan, Turkey, and ETSU. Mr. Clark’s has been noted for his steady commitment to his students and thorough preparation in his teaching. Throughout his time at ELI, he has eagerly assisted with administrative and student service tasks.

A Warm Welcome to ELI’s New Assistant Director, Suzanne Meyer

suzanneMeet the new Assistant Director at the ELI, Suzanne Meyer. 

Ms. Meyer has worked at the University of Tennessee since 2006.  In addition to teaching at the ELI, she has worked extensively on curriculum development.

Ms. Meyer has experience in a variety of contexts in the US and abroad.  Her TESOL career began by teaching in the Republic of the Marshall Islands as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  She gained language school experience when interning at the Centro Cultural in San Salvador, El Salvador during her graduate studies and at Four Seasons Language School in Hamamatsu, Japan.  She has taught in university-level programs at Nanzan Junior College and Chukyo University in Nagoya, Japan, Indiana University in South Bend (IUSB), and at UTK.  Her administrative experience includes Coordinating Teacher at the Four Seasons Language School, ESL Program Director at IUSB, and Director of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Center at IUSB in addition to her current work.

Ms. Meyer earned a MATESOL degree from the School for International Training in 1995, having graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois in 1991.  She remains professionally active, with the following presentations scheduled in 2016:  “Considerations in “Split-Level” Placement:  Proficiencies vs. Practicalities” at the EnglishUSA Professional Development Conference and “Developing Critical Thinking:  Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions” at the TESOL International Conference.  She also serves a site review for the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation.

Ms. Meyer looks forward to working further with ELI students, faculty, and staff in her new position.

Jan Hitt Retiring

Jan HittJan Hitt, ELI’s long-time Assistant Director, will retire on September 30. She first came to the Institute in 1982 from UT Martin to serve as ELI’s Academic Coordinator. She was ELI’s Acting Director in 2002.

During her tenure at ELI, she has at times been responsible for virtually every administrative and instructional role at the Institute, including teaching, managing budget and payroll, hiring staff, ordering textbooks, recruiting students, and budget oversight. As ELI’s Assistant Director she was involved in the implementation of new technologies, including personal computing, E-mail, SEVIS, and many other tech developments. She has expertise in marketing, desktop publishing, event management, catering, and gardening.

Ms. Hitt holds a Bachelor’s degree from UT-Martin and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from UTK.  Her retirement plans include gardening, kayaking, assisting people in need through various local ministries, traveling, and serving her local church and denomination.



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