Intensive English Program at West Virginia University Provides a Wide Variety of Options
by Helen Huntley


Now in its twentieth year of operation, the Intensive English Program in the Department of Foreign Languages at West Virginia University has become a well-established program for international students needing to improve their English proficiency prior to entering an academic course of study. In its early days, Japanese students formed the core of the program. Now, however, the IEP has a much broader base of countries from which it draws students. In the fall semester, 1998, for example, there were students from 15 different countries, of which approximately one third were from the Middle East, one third from South America, and one third from Asia.


The skills-based curriculum in the IEP is designed to improve the proficiency of the students for both general and academic purposes. Students at all levels of the program (one elementary, two intermediate, and four advanced levels) follow a core curriculum of Communication Skills, Reading/Writing, Grammar, Vocabulary, and American Culture courses, for a minimum of 21 hours per week. In addition, students may attend optional courses in Individualized Learning, TOEFL Preparation, Reading Workshop, and Business English.

ESL Credit Courses

In addition to the non-credit IEP courses, the IEP is also responsible for teaching four ESL credit courses for students who are already admitted into the University. Two of the courses are Academic English courses focusing on Reading, Writing, and Research at the Intermediate and Advanced levels. The other two courses are Oral Fluency courses for International Teaching Assistants who must satisfy a SPEAK test requirement (score of 50 on the revised test) set by the University.


IEP courses are taught by both teaching assistants and part-time faculty, including the Co-Directors (Helen Huntley and Dara Shaw) and the CALL Lab Director (Tracy Dingess), who each teach two courses per semester. There are currently 16 part-time teachers with Masters degrees or previous teaching experience in TESOL and 18 Graduate Teaching Assistants who are studying for Masters degrees in TESOL. Each Teaching Assistant is fully responsible for teaching two courses persemester, and is supported by regular in-service training sessions and observation visits by the Co-Directors.

In addition to the academic English program, the IEP has hosted a growing number of special and short-term programs in recent years, developed and coordinated by Dara Shaw, Director of Special Programs. These include the following:

  • English Program for Executives and Professionals
  • Korean Teachers' Program
  • Thai Scholars Program
  • Aichi Shukutoku (Japan) Summer Program
  • Middle-Eastern Women's English Proficiency Program
  • Chinese Business English Program

Helen Huntley, Director of Academic Programs

IEP, West Virginia University

Return to Table of Contents
WVTESOL Newsletter Editor: Linda Yoder

Salem-Teikyo University

Copyright 1999 by

Permission is granted to freely copy the most up-to-date version of this document, unmodified from

in electronic form or in print for personal use only. On the WWW, however, you must link to the above URL rather than putting this up as your own page.

This page was last updated on 28 March 1999.