Troy University meeting the needs in increasingly diverse urban areas

Posted: Friday, 22 August 2008

ATLANTA – Non-English speakers in the Atlanta area are finding the language easy to learn, thanks in part to a Troy University program aimed at professional and academic language skills.

The University’s Atlanta Campus pioneered the program – slated for export to other TROY Global Campus sites – that is geared specifically to non-English speakers who live in Atlanta or internationals who are directly recruited from overseas to study in the program. The program is geared to improve students’ English language skills for college study or for professional purposes.

“Writing and grammar are a great focus,” said Site Director Dr. Philip Perkins. “Listening and speaking skills are also included, as are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) preparation classes.

The program’s curriculum is based on preparing students to either enter the academic realm or professional world, Dr. Perkins said. Skill sets of reading, writing, listening and speaking are taught in 9-week terms, with students completing higher-level skills each subsequent term. Students in the Atlanta area can choose between day or night classes.

Troy University, based in Troy, Ala., operates campuses or teaching sites in 15 other states, 11 nations and the U.S. Territory of Guam. It has successfully pioneered the national model 1-2-1 Sino-American Dual Degree Program and is a recognized leader in distance learning and international education.

“We’re piloting the program in Atlanta and working out a business model with the thought of expanding English-as-a-Second Language programs into other metropolitan areas on the East Coast and central Florida,” said Dr. Earl Ingram, Vice Chancellor of TROY’s Global Campus, the arm of the University that oversees operations outside the state of Alabama.

For Ingram, the program is about meeting unmet needs in metropolitan areas like Atlanta.

“This reaches beyond academic preparation and aims for those who are engaged in American industry and business as well as in the tourism industry,” he said.

The venture is already beginning to pay off for the University in terms of recruiting international students to Atlanta. For TROY, the Atlanta campus is its first outside of Troy, Ala. to accept students who may host international students on F-1 student visas.

This term, the Atlanta campus has 78 ESL enrollments, its highest enrollment since the program began last year. Its enrollment includes students from Mexico, Vietnam, Korea, Senegal, Peru, China, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Syria and Togo.

Dr. Perkins expects to see five or six international students coming to his campus to work toward undergraduate or master’s-level programs in the next term or two.