By Linh Phung, ELP Director
The English Language Program (ELP) at Chatham has seen a drop in its enrollment due to the decline of Saudi students enrolled in ESL programs nationally. However, there is a silver lining to this decline. First, it highlights the imperative need of diversifying the student population for a sustainable program. Second, it has pushed the program to seek more resources from the University to market the program. We appreciate the investment from the Office of Communication and Marketing to advertise the ELP to various markets, including Latin America. Third, with the commitment from Dr. Finegold and the administration to international education, we have seen a high level of activity in this area. In fact, thanks to Dr. Finegold’s vision and international connections, we are close to launching a new program: the Pittsburgh Pathways.
The Pittsburgh Pathways is a program of study that prepares non-native English speaking students to attend a degree program at Chatham or another university. It offers a combination of ESL courses and academic courses. Students can earn up to 36 credits towards an undergraduate degree at Chatham or another university while improving their English. The Pathways students will be housed on the Eden Hall campus and take classes on both the Shadyside and the Eden Hall campuses. We expect the first cohort of at least 30 students in fall 2017. We plan to expand each year to bring more international students to Chatham and local universities. More information can be found at www.chatham.edu/pittsburghpathways
We are also pleased to announce that an informal agreement has been reached with the Faculty of Foreign Language Studies at Kansai University in Japan, which plans to send about 15 Japanese students to Chatham for a few semesters to study English and take other academic courses, starting in February 2018. This is the result of intensive relationship building efforts from AVP International Affairs Chris Musick and the Office of International Affairs team as well as the commitment from Dr. Finegold to diversify the student body in the ELP to ensure that the ratio of Japanese students in each class is capped at 20%.
With these initiatives (together with the existing intensive English courses, the Conversation Partner Program, and the International Student Ambassador Program), we hope to continue to contribute to the University by providing high quality English instruction and services to non-degree and degree students, functioning as a pathway to degree programs for many students, and adding diversity of cultures and perspectives to the community. If you have connections and ideas that can help to make Chatham even more international, we would really love to hear from you.