The class, which began in January, meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Four faculty from ELI volunteered to teach the class on a rotating basis, and about nine facilities staffers, all of whom speak English as a second language, have stuck with the course. The final class of the semester is Friday, April 25.
Both the ELI and Facilities Services saw a need for this type of class, but neither knew where to begin.
Jim Hamrick, director of ELI, recalls a custodian in his building who wanted to improve her English-speaking skills by enrolling in one of the institute’s intensive classes. But according to Hamrick, the class—which meets daily and costs more than $1,000 for a semester—wouldn’t have been appropriate for her needs or her budget.
“I talked this over with our faculty, and they agreed that this might be an area in which ELI could make a contribution to UT,” Hamrick said.
Meanwhile, Abby Aberdeen, training specialist in Facilities Services, was supervising a group of facilities workers—nearly half of which spoke English as a second language.
“It was tough, but, we communicated and built a good working relationship,” Aberdeen said. “But I knew there had to be a way for us as a university to assist these people who wanted to learn English.”
The like-minded pair met in August 2013 and developed a class that would meet the workers’ desires to improve their English speaking, listening, and reading skills at minimal cost and at a time they could manage.
The ELI hopes to continue the course as long as it has participants willing to learn.
Established in 1978, the ELI provides non-native English speakers with the academic abilities, language and study skills, and cultural understanding essential for academic, professional, or personal success. For more information, visit the institute’s website.
C O N T A C T :
Jim Hamrick (865-974-3404, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Christine Copelan (865-974-2225, email@example.com)