The Plight of the ESL Program Director

Are you a frustrated ESL program manager?

I presented a paper a few years ago at the University of Prince Edward Island called The Plight of the ESL Program Director.  It reveals findings of a research study I did about English as a Second Language program directors and managers at the university level.

Here are the two main highlights:

  • Many English as a Second Language (ESL) program managers, are charged with the responsibility of marketing their programs and recruiting students internationally, often with little or no training (Eaton, 2005).
  • Not only are they set forth ill-prepared, the repercussions for insufficient revenue generation may be harsh, including having to fire instructors or having their programs may be closed by the very institutions they serve (Mickelson, 1997; Soppelsa, 1997; Staczek, 1997), many of which regard such programs as lucrative (Rubin, 1997).

Building on the work that has been done in this field to date, this research adds in the voices of three language program directors that I interviewed for this study. All of them directed different ESL programs, housed in different academic units at the same university. They offer commentary and insight into matters of importance for ESL administrators.

At the end of the paper, I offer some recommendations on how things may be improved for the future.

The full-text paper in .pdf format is available free of charge through the ERIC database.


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


One Response to The Plight of the ESL Program Director

  1. ESL Program says:

    It sounds good, outsource is good for me.

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