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K-State Today

March 17, 2014

Education faculty establish English language center in Ecuador

Submitted by Patrice Scott

A group of educators from the College of Education's Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy, or CIMA, just arrived in Ecuador and will spend a total of three years establishing an English Language Center at the country’s newest university.

Eight K-State instructors and one director will implement a research-based, innovative curriculum and program model to teach English to entering, first-year Yachay University students. The goal is to prepare these students with the English literacy skills and content language proficiency to take science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, courses in both languages. The three-year contract is worth $1.2 million.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, sees multiple benefits from this partnership.

"This program advances many of the university's and the college's shared goals related to K-State 2025," Mercer said. "By focusing on internationalization and creating innovating programming, the college is bringing much deserved attention to a variety of experts at K-State. This may lead to more student opportunities and perhaps even new relationships with additional countries and organizations."

Socorro Herrera, CIMA director, believes her organization is in a strong position to lead efforts to train English as a second or other language, or ESOL, teachers both nationally and internationally.

"The fact that K-State was selected from proposals received from around the world to lead the first language institute gives us international visibility," Herrera said. "This opportunity opens the doors for many more projects in the future including student exchanges, opportunities for our students to study aboard, and research and collaboration with STEM faculty from all over of the world."

The partnership between CIMA and the Ecuadorian government grew from the Go Teacher program, a bold effort on the government's part to train 3,000 English as second or other language teachers. The K-State College of Education was named the lead institution in the Go Teacher program and created partnerships with other universities to help train the teachers.

The program was so successful, K-State has now developed its own program model, Global Teacher, so it can provide similar services for organizations around the world.