English Language Institute at UM Celebrates 20 Years
MISSOULA – The English Language Institute of the Office of International Programs at the University of Montana recently celebrated of 20 years on campus. The program, which currently serves 250 students from more than 40 countries each year, had humble beginnings in UM’s Linguistics Department in 1993, helping one student for two weeks.
Veteran ELI Instructor Lee Ann Millar recalls that she returned from Japan in April 1993 and spent some time with her family in California. Former ELI Director Robert Hausmann called Millar, to ask if she could be “in Missoula by Monday.”
When she arrived, Millar began working with student Yoko Nishioka from Japan. They met for a few hours a day in the living room of Hausmann’s home, across the street from campus.
“We soon were joined by a Turkish student, Mahmut Aydin,” Millar said. “By the summer of 1993, we were able to run a full class – complete with classroom – 15 hours a week on campus.”
ELI enrollment continued to grow, eventually moving to the International Center and the Office of International Programs as a nonacademic unit.
The institute currently boasts seven full-time and two part-time instructors, a director, program coordinator and program assistant. In addition to regular English language and academic instruction courses, ELI offers year-round programs for teachers, high school students and professional groups.
Many ELI graduates stay at UM for undergraduate or graduate degrees and contribute immensely to the cultural and linguistic diversity on campus.
“I’m proud of the positive contributions the English Language Institute continues to make to internationalizing our University,” said ELI Director Sandra Janusch.
Expansion and development continue at ELI, as the program hopes to offer certificate courses for international graduate teaching assistants, a pre-master’s bridge program and innovative short-term courses in English for international professionals.
This winter, ELI was one of only two university programs in the country awarded a grant to host the Hubert H. Humphrey Long-term English Program, offered by the Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
“UM is such a kind and friendly place for learning English,” said Chieh-ling Tseng, a former ELI student from Taiwan. “Not only the staff at ELI, but the other students are very patient with other international students. UM has served for 20 years as an excellent place for international students from all over the world to develop their English language skills, learn about American culture and prepare themselves for academic studies at UM and elsewhere in the U.S.”
Photo cutline: UM Office of Foreign Student and Scholar Services Director Effie Koehn, left, and Director for Study Abroad and Student Exchange Marja Unkari-Chaudhry, right, dance during the English Language Institute’s 20th anniversary celebration in early May.