Keep ESL master’s degree

Betsy Parrish, Professor/Coordinator, TEFL/Adult ESL at the Hamline School of Education

I am confused and disturbed by the news that College of Liberal Arts Dean James Parente has closed admissions to the masterâÄôs degree in English as a second language, a program with a reputation for excellence nationally and internationally.

With internationalization of the curriculum as a priority, it doesnâÄôt make sense to close the only graduate program in the state that focuses specifically on educating postsecondary immigrant and international students, teachers and scholars.

In a state that is increasingly diverse with more and more residents requiring ESL support in pursuing educational and vocational goals in postsecondary settings, we need more ESL teachers for this context and more ESL teacher educators, not the opposite.

 Other graduate-level programs in the state focus on preparing K-12 teachers. Not only has the program here at the University of Minnesota prepared teachers for postsecondary ESL instruction, it also has a stellar record of graduates who have become teacher educators at higher education institutions.

Graduates are also known to become Fulbright teacher trainers, program coordinators in intensive English programs and adult education programs in the state, throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Those graduates serve as ambassadors of the University.

Parente should reconsider this decision or work with leadership to find a home at the University for this important work.