English Language Studies joins Comparative Media Studies/Writing | MIT News

English Language Studies (ELS), the MIT unit responsible for meeting the language needs of the Institute’s large bilingual and international populations, has officially moved under the umbrella of Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W). With this addition, all of MIT’s institute-wide writing and communication courses are now under one academic roof.

Professor Eric Klopfer, Head of Comparative Media Studies/Writing, said he was “delighted to welcome the ELS program”, adding: “I see this as a useful extension of our program, which helps consolidate these related programs in one place. .

Established over 40 years ago and until now part of the Global languages section of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, ELS has been instrumental in the success of undergraduate and graduate students whose first language is not English. Rather than the typical university model of simply providing tutors to students who are still developing their college-level English, ELS is integrated more broadly into MIT education. it offers credit subjects target skills such as explanatory writing, public speaking, pronunciation, and subject-specific communication, and students taking three of these or related subjects can develop a HASS concentration. It administers the English Assessment Test, a pre-semester assessment of approximately 300 incoming international graduate students, to assess their written and spoken English and recommend suitable ELS subjects.

Similarly, ELS plays a role in CMS/W First year essay assessment, which places new MIT undergraduates in communication-intensive writing courses, including ELS 21G.222 (Expository Writing for Bilingual Students).

The integration of language teaching into MIT teaching in general – and ELS in CMS/W in particular – is quite unique: unlike most college approaches, ELS courses are offered under form of credits alongside, rather than as prerequisites, major courses and CMS/W facilitates this by overseeing the communication requirement. Global Languages ​​has recently refocused on non-English language teaching and overseas travel, making it the perfect time for English-focused ELS work to change its home. .

Speaker Eric Grunwald is the acting director of ELS. “It’s an exciting decision for us,” he said. “We will miss the camaraderie and constant pedagogical pollination we have shared with the other Global Languages ​​language groups, but as CMS/W we care about communication, especially academic and professional English and we help students deploy them well, so it’s a great fit in this way.We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

Grunwald developed a STEM background as an undergraduate student and later lived in Germany. In addition to his interests in academic and second-language writing and reading, he has a keen interest in creative writing and has worked as editor of the prestigious Boston-based literary magazine. AGNI. A published author of short stories and translations, Grunwald developed the topic ELS 21G.240 (Imagining English: Creative Writing for Bilingual Students).

The other speaker moving from Global Languages ​​to CMS/W is AC Kemp, who focuses on academic and professional writing, teacher training, academic integrity, and vocabulary acquisition. She has written over 300 articles on slang and colloquialism for the slang city since 2002 and in 2008 published a humorous book on obscure vocabulary, “The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion: Lady Snark’s Guide to Common Discourtesy”. Kemp agreed with Grunwald, saying, “It’s a great fit for us. We and CMS/W have a lot of common interests, especially with the Center for Writing and Communication and professional writing, speaking and communication.

the Writing and Communication Center Kemp mentions is a CMS/W unit led by Elena Kallestinova that hosts one-on-one consultations, workshops, and online resources for members of the MIT community. Kallestinova says incorporating ELS into CMS/W means they can “learn from each other, share effective strategies and resources, and come up with joint initiatives to engage the vast multilingual and international community of students and teachers.” ‘mit scholars’.

ELS already has a long-standing collaboration with another CMS/W group: Writing, rhetoric and professional communication (WRAP), which teaches MIT’s foundational writing subjects and partners with MIT faculty and departments to teach written, spoken, and visual communication. Like Kallestinova, WRAP Director Suzanne Lane is excited to be able to work more closely with ELS colleagues. “WRAP and the ELS program have a long history of working together and learning from each other. ELS plays a role in first-year essay assessment, administered by WRAP, and both programs offer communication-intensive humanities and writing topics. We have therefore often collaborated on pedagogy as well. We hope to find other ways to work together to enrich the communication education we provide to MIT students at all levels. »

Even beyond its departmental spaces, Grunwald and Kemp found ways to connect ELS to other parts of MIT. They worked with the International Scholars Office and OpenCourseWare (with Kemp’s course RES.21G-001(The friendly classroom), and ELS supported teacher training capabilities, such as Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science in MIT’s Office of Engineers outreach programs.