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ELS Language Centers joins NIU community

September 9, 2010
Deb Pierce

Deb Pierce

ELS Language Centers (ELS) is pleased to join the NIU community and to contribute to the international diversity of the region. 

Opening this month, ELS offers multiple levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) to international students from abroad. The third floor of the Student Health Services building is home to ELS with offices, classrooms and a language laboratory. ELS international students will have the opportunity to reside in NIU Residence Halls or participate in a home stay program in DeKalb while taking ESL courses. 

Students who opt for the home stay program live with nearby American families, allowing for additional opportunities to enhance their English speaking abilities, and enjoy numerous American customs. ELS is actively recruiting families for the home stay program. Contact [email protected] or (815) 753-4600 for information on hosting an international student in your home.

ELS operates continuously in four-week sessions, consisting of six classes per day, 52 weeks per year. Students participate in various classes that focus on structure and speaking practice, language studies and reading and writing. Students also may choose to take skills enhancement classes that focus on conversation, listening comprehension, American culture, public speaking and current events.

“Bringing ELS to our community is an important aspect of Global NIU,” said Deb Pierce, NIU associate provost for International Programs. “Their strong program in intensive English will make NIU more accessible to international applicants who haven’t yet developed strong English proficiency, while the outstanding promotional capacity of ELS will bring to DeKalb increasing numbers of diverse students from around the world.”

With more than 50 locations nationwide, ELS is the largest network of U.S. campus-based English language instruction centers in the world. Since opening its first center in 1961, ELS has helped more than 1 million international students from more than 140 countries learn English. Building on its many years of experience in preparing international students for university study in the United States, ELS has developed its own unique curriculum, textbooks and branded language-learning software.

Pierce described the connection between NIU and ELS as a proactive public/private partnership.

“Although ELS as an organization is separate and distinct from NIU, its location here in DeKalb will give us a great opportunity to let their students know about NIU’s academic strength and welcoming environment,” Pierce said.

When ELS students reach the required level of proficiency in English, Pierce hopes they will enroll at NIU as fully admitted graduate or undergraduate students. “Having the ELS students nearby, and eventually admitting them to our programs, will significantly add to the diversity and the global profile of our campus,” she said.

Teri Laliberte is serving as the center director for ELS/DeKalb.

Laliberte brings many years of experience to ELS and holds the M.A. in applied linguistics/TESOL from the University of Georgia. She has accumulated more than 20 years of teaching and administrative experience, having taught as a USAID Fellow in Turkey and with USAID in Poland.  In 2008 she opened the ELS center at the University of Cincinnati, which is now one of the largest centers in the ELS family.

For more information about ELS/DeKalb, or to host an international student, contact Laliberte at (815) 753-4600 or via e-mail at [email protected].