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Congratulations are in order for the 40-year old Intensive English as a Second Language Program at the Middlebury Institute after it recently received formal accreditation through the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). “It gives us an objective basis not just to believe, but to know that we have a top-notch program,” says assistant director Katie Dutcher. “Personally, it feels amazing to have played a part in taking this next step in the 40-year history of the program.”

The meticulous accreditation process took close to two years and involved examination of all aspects of the program, from activities and services available to students, to finances and staff qualifications, Katie shares. “Of course, as we went through this process of self-assessment, we identified areas of strengths and weakness and worked to improve the program in significant ways.” The full-time instructors, Jennifer Grode and Adrienne Stacy, led an overhaul of the curriculum and assessment, and Katie says they also worked on improving administrative procedures and documentation.

A review team representing CEA visited in February after all self-assessment documents had been submitted. The review team interviewed numerous people on campus and submitted their own report that was reviewed by the commission at their meeting in April. On May 1, the decision to formally accredit the program was announced. The effects of the strenuous, reflective and developmental process have been very positive according to Katie, who says that, regardless of the accreditation decision, she is prouder than ever to be a part of this team because of the significant improvements they have made in a short period of time.

Longtime Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages professor Kathi Bailey knows the CEA accreditation process well as the former president of the International TESOL Organization: “It has incredibly high standards and a rigorous review program staffed by well-recognized professionals in English language education. For the MIIS Intensive English Program to have been accredited is both a great honor and a testament to the hard work, creativity, and organization of the ESL teachers and administrators.”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir