UCIEP GUIDELINES (2023)
Members of the consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP) are dedicated to providing high quality academic English language instruction and cultural orientation to international students studying at higher education institutions in the United States. Consortium member programs are located on a variety of college and university campuses throughout the United States. The guidelines below set professional standards for the management of UCIEP programs, for the preparation and conduct of those who administer and staff those programs, and for the activities undertaken by UCIEP programs in the context of higher education. See UCIEP Bylaws for additional program membership requirements.
An English language program is any program that offers English language training to support the mission of their home university or college. Members must have a core English language program that meets the equivalent of full-time status, by offering the minimum full-time equivalent of 9 or 12 credit hours, or 18 contact hours, as well as meeting remaining UCIEP guidelines, including the categories: Program staff, appointments, professional development, program and curriculum, and student recruitment. Institutions may define programs in different ways. For instance, English Language Programs include but are not limited to Intensive English programs, foundation or pathway programs, or courses/programs for matriculated students.
The Core Program receives adequate support from its institution, which at a minimum would include provision for suitable staff, and office and classroom facilities. Although no single administrative pattern is required, the English language program (ELP) should be sufficiently independent to permit the smooth functioning of all its activities. UCIEP membership is not open to ELPs that are managed or controlled either fully or in part by for profit enterprises, including “joint venture” enterprises with one or more parties being for-profit. A UCIEP ELP may be managed through a non-profit university research foundation.
The role of the ELP in the international education program of the university or college must be explicitly recognized by the institution's administration.
Each program, including the Core Program, should have clearly established goals for the language education program it provides. In general, these goals should provide adequate and appropriate education to meet the student's and the institution's language objectives.
- The ELP has a program director who is defined in UCIEP Bylaws as the program’s chief administrator with decision-making authority.
- The program administrator has the preferred qualifications in the following two areas minimally:
- A master's degree in TESL/TEFL, and preferably a doctorate; and
- University administrative experience and training that may include such areas as budgetary planning and personnel management.
In addition to a substantial prior ESL/EFL credential which ideally includes teaching experience, the administrator has administrative experience or training, or is provided with such training. Administrative experience and training is understood to include such areas as teacher supervision, curriculum development, budgetary planning, and personnel management.
In the case where expertise is lacking in TESL/TEFL, the program administrator must have at least a Masters degree and supervise direct reports who are professionals responsible for the following areas according to the structural needs of the program:
- English for Academic Purposes and understanding of English language skill demands for university student success
- Structures of English language (phonology, grammar/syntax, lexicon/vocabulary)
- Student Assessment (testing, placement of students, progression of students)
- Adult Second-Language-Acquisition Theory, Teaching Methods, Materials/technologies
- Faculty Supervision and Assessment
- Professional Development
- Teaching Evaluation
- Teacher Supervision
In the case where expertise is lacking in administration, the program administrator must supervise direct reports or have direct support of university experts who are professionals responsible for the following areas according to the structural needs of the program:
- Strategic Planning
- Personnel Management
- Promotions and Marketing, Recruiting
- University and/or Program Liaising both internally and externally
- Events planning
The evidence for this background is to be provided by the program in the Self Study and initial program application, verified by documents such as CVs, transcripts, and organizational charts.
- Core Faculty are full time ELP faculty members who teach the majority of courses of the member program. A continuing core faculty is necessary to provide programmatic stability and continuity. It is recommended that at least 51% of the faculty over a 12-month period are Core Faculty as defined in B (2). At a minimum, the UCIEP school must demonstrate at least 51% of the instructional hours are provided by personnel who meet the professional requirements described in B (2). Instructional hours are those classes that form the regular class offerings of the program and do not include one-on-one tutoring by qualified teachers.
If Core Faculty do not teach 51% of instructional hours, then at the time of the self-study, a written explanation must be provided along with a plan to reach 51% within a reasonable time period. A reasonable time period will be determined by the Board of UCIEP.
- The Core Faculty meet these qualifications in the following areas:
- Core Faculty have prior ESL/EFL teaching experience; hold at least a master's degree in TESL/TEFL, or a master's degree in a related field with documented coursework for credit in the areas of linguistics, culture and society, educational foundations, second language pedagogy, second-language assessment, and language teaching practicum.
- Preferably, Core Faculty also have knowledge of or previous formal study of a second language.
- Core Faculty teaching assignments are consonant with institutional goals that permit time for university and professional growth and scholarship. The maximum average number of classroom contact hours per week for Core Faculty is 20 hours. The preferred teaching load is no more than 15 hours per week.
- Part-time or adjunct faculty
- UCIEP recommends that part-time or adjunct faculty have:
- Some prior ESL/EFL teaching experience;
- A master's degree in a related field with documented coursework for credit in the areas of linguistics, culture and society, educational foundations, second-language pedagogy, second-language assessment, and language teaching practicum. In exceptional cases, part-time or adjunct faculty who lack these qualifications may be hired but are closely supervised in their ELP teaching assignments either by the program administrator or by the designated members of the Core Faculty, and are provided with ongoing professional training either within or outside the program. Continued employment of such faculty is contingent upon their working toward meeting the minimum requirements and shall be documented in the Self-Study. If this is not the case, a written explanation should be submitted with the program’s Self-Study.
- Part-time faculty or Teaching Assistants who do not meet the standard in B2 for core faculty do not count towards the 51% recommended instructional hours taught by qualified teachers.
- The maximum average number of classroom contact hours per week for part-time adjunct faculty is 20 hours. The preferred teaching load is no more than 15 hours per week. Parttime or adjunct faculty should not be employed on a full-time continual basis (20 hours per week) for an extended period of time without access to the benefits provided to full-time faculty.
- UCIEP recommends that part-time or adjunct faculty have:
- Teaching Assistants are taking or have taken graduate work in TESL/TEFL. Those lacking substantial teaching experience should have at least one semester of graduate coursework in the discipline prior to hiring.
- A comprehensive pre-service orientation and training period is provided for Teaching Assistants.
- Teaching Assistants are observed in their classroom teaching and meet with a faculty course coordinator or other supervisor on a regular basis to review their performance. Their teaching is evaluated using criteria consistent with those used in evaluating regular faculty.
- The degree of responsibility assigned to Teaching Assistants is proportional to their degree of experience and teaching skill.
- The maximum average number of classroom contact hours per week for Teaching Assistants is 20 hours or less if so mandated by the institution. The preferred teaching load is no more than 15 hours per week.
- The program administrator holds a full-time faculty or administrative appointment in the university or college which administers the program and receives a formal written agreement of employment on at least an annual or academic-year basis. Appointments are renewable and provide eligibility for the institution's benefits program.
- The core faculty members receive a formal written agreement of employment on at least an annual or academic-year basis. Core faculty are offered full-time appointments but may choose part-time status. Appointments are renewable and provide eligibility for the institution's benefits program.
- The program administrator and faculty are evaluated according to the evaluation procedures at their institution.
- The intensive English Core Program provides the equivalent of a full course of studies, consisting of sufficient hours to meet student visa requirements (i.e., at least 18 hours of instruction per week, not including language laboratory hours or online/distance courses for IEPs, 12 hours for undergraduate degree programs, and 9 for graduate programs).
- The Core Program intensive English program should have the capacity to provide leveled instruction each session. Appropriate class size can range between 5 and 25 students. Overall average program size should not average less than 30 students per session in one year.
- Classes at appropriate levels are structured in such a way as to recognize that language learning is an interrelated, interdependent, sequential process in which all language skill areas are addressed.
- To ensure that students pursuing an academic program are adequately prepared, the curriculum includes instruction in the skills of listening, reading, speaking, and expository writing, as well as academic and cultural orientation to enable students to perform effectively at the college or university level. The curriculum is reviewed regularly.
- Testing and placement procedures carried out by the intensive English Core Program meet accepted professional standards. Testing instruments must be valid and reliable and should be reviewed regularly.
- Recruiting procedures are in accordance with those endorsed by NAFSA Association of International Educators.
- UCIEP member programs do not intentionally or actively recruit students away from other institutions without the permission of the campus ELP Director.
- UCIEP members who use educational consultants/agents should use a contract that specifies the terms and conditions of the recruiting agreement and should monitor them on an ongoing basis.