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New graduate program to be added next fall

October 19, 2007

UW-River Falls will soon be adding a new master’s program to the curriculum.

The program is called Teachers of English Speaking to Other Languages (TESOL). The most distinctive part of the program is that UWRF has made arrangements for TESOL students to study abroad at Pusan and Tamna Universities in South Korea. TESOL graduate students will complete 12 credits in South Korea, then finish in River Falls. UWRF decided to develop this program because of the increasing number of people that have moved into the area that do not speak English as a primary language. The populations of students that are Limited English Proficient (LEP) have grown by more than 132 percent in Wisconsin and 210 percent in Minnesota from 1992-2002, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

“There is a great demand for teaching English as a second language,” Douglas Johnson, the interim associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and director of graduate studies at UWRF, said.

There is already an undergraduate program on campus but the University saw a need for a graduate program.

The graduate program will require 36 credits to be completed. Courses include research, pedagogy and linguistics classes.

The current undergraduate TESOL program is small.

“I like knowing the nitty-gritty details about where and how language originated and how it being changed and used today,” TESOL student Kati Matuseski said in an e-mail. “For example, breaking words apart into their root meanings, prefixes and suffixes (morphology), knowing the correct grammatic[al] usages for the English language, syntax, word origination, etc.”

TESOL students can work in a variety of careers after graduation.

“Immediately after graduation I plan to join the Language Corps, which is an international foundation that provides ESL/TESOL graduates with the hands on experience that they need right away,” Amanda Leuer said in an e-mail.

“After that who knows? I may end up in Guatemala, or Peru, or Taiwan. That is what I love about this program; it’s extremely open-ended.”

Having the TESOL graduate program will help UWRF reach it’s goal of offering a global perspective on learning which fits into the Strategic Plan that the university has set in place.

“The [TESOL] program will positively affect the University … better opportunity for professional growth, it will meet the demand for TESOL and attract international students,” English professor Vladimir Pavlov said.

Pavlov will accompany Johnson to Pusan University in November.

TESOL students will have a new opportunity to study abroad in Korea and the Ukraine this summer.

The courses are currently being approved by the UW-System. The curriculum plan has been sent out to other UW campuses for comment.

UWRF hopes to have the TESOL graduate program approved and ready for enrollment next fall.