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[Special Academic Programs]
The University of Alabama provides a wide variety of international education programs and services at the Capstone International Center, housed on the first floor of B. B. Comer Hall. Known simply as Capstone International, the Capstone International Center takes its name from its historical pre-eminence in the state as a provider of international education. A combination of several recently integrated units, the Capstone International Center has multiple complementary yet diverse functions, ranging from intensive English language instruction in the English Language Institute (ELI) to U.S. immigration compliance, Fulbright programs, and overseas study. Capstone International is a multipurpose center designed to inform, assist, and educate both international and domestic students, faculty, and staff members, as well as members of the local civic, education, and corporate communities. Capstone International annually welcomes almost 1,000 internationals to campus and makes possible the participation of UA faculty, students, and staff in a multitude of internationally focused degree, research, and outreach programs.
Outreach is an important function within Capstone International as evidenced by its monthly Capstone International newsletter, the Tuscaloosa Saturday School (for school-age children from Japan), the German Supplementary School (for school-age children from Germany), the Japan Culture and Information Center (a resource for both the local and academic communities), and the English Language Institute (on-site corporate programs and tailored courses for usage by children and spouses of the workers). A wide variety of international student activities are coordinated in conjunction with the Rotary International Club of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa's International Friends (TIF), the Children's Hands-on Museum (CHOM), University Place Montessori School, and the Tuscaloosa Club of Altrusa International.
The University is a member of national organizations providing Congressional support, professional training, and annual conferences to promote international education at member universities, namely the NAFSA: Association for International Educators, the Institute for International Education (IIE), and the Council for International Education Exchange (CIEE).
Capstone International has three functional focal points known as Programs, Services, and English Language Institute. Collectively they provide courses and activities available to the constituents of Capstone International.
- Fulbright Programs
German Supplementary School
International Exchange Programs
Japan Culture and Information Center
Study Abroad Programs
Study Abroad Resource Center
Tuscaloosa Saturday School
- International Scholar Events
International Student and Scholar Services
International Student Programming
Multicultural Guidance and Counseling
U.S. Immigration Compliance
English Language Institute
- Internal Program
External Group Programs
International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP)
Academic Support Program
Fulbright programs. Capstone International encourages and facilitates active participation in all Fulbright programs. Since the founding of the Fulbright programs in 1948, more than 100 UA students, faculty, and professional staff members have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright award. Their appointments have ranged virtually from Austria to Zimbabwe. More information is available from the UA Fulbright representative, Dr. Marilyn B. Emplaincourt, 135 B. B. Comer Hall, (205) 348-5312, or fax (205) 348-5298.
German Supplementary School. Established by The University of Alabama in 1995 in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc., the German Supplementary School provides supplementary education in German to children ages six to 16 who will return to a German-speaking educational system after living in Alabama for several years. In addition to providing education to German-speaking children, the GSS provides University of Alabama students who have an interest and proficiency in German language and culture the opportunity to work with GSS in a variety of ways. More information about possibilities is available from the director, Dr. Marilyn B. Emplaincourt, 135 B. B. Comer Hall, (205) 348-5312 or fax (205) 348-5298.
International exchange programs. The University of Alabama offers a number of international exchange programs that allow students to act as visiting scholars at overseas universities. Each program gives students opportunities to learn in a foreign country where they obtain firsthand knowledge of another people, language, and culture in addition to gaining course credits. In some cases, a working knowledge of the language of the host country is a prerequisite. In others, the language can be studied for the first time in the host country; sometimes, no language requirement is necessary (e.g., England and Australia). Students pay University of Alabama tuition based on Capstone International credits and are assisted in arranging transfer of credits through appropriate departments and divisions prior to departure.
- Australia: Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane), Monash University (Melbourne)
Short-term group overseas study. In addition to its longer-term international exchange programs, The University of Alabama conducts many overseas study programs lasting from two to six weeks, most often during the summer and Interim sessions. Scholarships and financial aid are available to students participating in these programs. Programs and fields of study in recent years include the following:
- Alabama at Oxford: English, history, political science
Capstone International issues international identification cards made available through CIEE for students wishing to take advantage of travel insurance and discount rates for transportation, as well as educational and cultural programs, during their sojourns overseas.
Additional information about international exchanges and short-term overseas study programs may be obtained from 135 B. B. Comer Hall or by writing The University of Alabama, Capstone International, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254; (205) 348-5256. If The University of Alabama is unable to meet the overseas study needs of a student, Capstone International provides information about additional international education opportunities that are available through study abroad at other institutions and organizations. A library of materials describing these programs is available in the Overseas Study Resource Center, open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., 135 B. B. Comer Hall; (205) 348-5256.
Japan Program. The Japan Program, as part of the Capstone International Center, administers academic and cultural programs and activities designed to increase understanding between the peoples of the United States and Japan. Through linkages with universities and other educational or cultural agencies in Japan, the program enables UA students and faculty members to study, conduct research, and teach in Japan.
Reciprocal student exchange programs with Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Hiroshima University, and Chiba University enable qualified undergraduate students to study Japanese in Japan while undertaking Asian studies, humanities, social science, and science courses taught in English. Generous AIE-J scholarships providing round-trip transportation and a monthly stipend are available on a competitive basis to UA students, as well as Gilman and Freeman-ASIA scholarships for students on financial aid. Examples of courses offered at partner institutions include Japanese-Style Management, Japanese Economic Development, Sociology of Everyday Life in Japan, Survey of Modern Japanese History, Japanese Culture and Education, Seminar in Geography, Agriculture and Agricultural Sciences in Japan, and Introduction to Deep-Sea Biology. For students who have already earned undergraduate degrees, the Nagoya Institute of Technology and Chiba University offer prestigious Monbusho (Ministry of Education) research scholarships for 18 months of study. The Monbusho scholarship provides round-trip transportation and monthly stipends to cover living costs.
The Japan Program conducts a variety of outreach and academic enrichment programs in its Japan Culture and Information Center (see below) and the Tuscaloosa Saturday School (supplementary education in Japanese for children from Japan ages six to 16). A founding and active member of the Tuscaloosa Sister-Cities Commission as well as the Japan-America Society of Alabama, the Japan Program also organizes the annual spring Sakura Festival and Haiku contest for the state of Alabama.
Japan Culture and Information Center. Established by The University of Alabama as part of the Japan Program in 1990, the Japan Culture and Information Center (JCIC) serves as a meeting place and clearinghouse for information about Japan and its culture. Located at 410 Campus Drive, the center is designed to facilitate research, to complement classroom instruction, and to respond to requests for information about either Japan or the U.S., thereby increasing communication and understanding about both countries. Japanese language classes and other UA classes in business, nutrition, history, and art with units about Japan are regularly conducted at JCIC. Bilingual staff members greet students, faculty, staff, and visitors and assist them in utilizing the video and print library, viewing live broadcasts from Japan on the wide-screen television, and participating in a variety of cultural and educational activities, including those of the UA Japan Club and the Japan Student Association. The six tatami mats provide the perfect setting for tea ceremony classes and Japanese dining for small groups. Non-credit Japanese language courses and "Survival English" are also offered upon request. The monthly calendar of events includes classes in origami, calligraphy, kimono appreciation, cooking, yoga, and "Japan Units" or mini-seminars on Japanese culture. The Center annually attracts thousands of UA students and faculty members as well as members of the Tuscaloosa community, schoolchildren, and local teachers.
Additional information about programs at the Japan Culture and Information Center may be obtained from the Programs Coordinator, Mrs. Satoko Seale, 410 Campus Drive; (205) 348-5311 or fax (205) 348-2439.
Tuscaloosa Saturday School. Established by The University of Alabama in 1986 in cooperation with Japanese industries and the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta, the Tuscaloosa Saturday School provides supplementary education in Japanese to children ages six to 16 who will return to the Japanese educational system after living in Alabama for several years. In addition to providing education to Japanese-speaking children, the TSS provides University of Alabama students who have an interest and proficiency in Japanese language and culture the opportunity to work with TSS in a variety of ways. More information about possibilities is available from the director, Dr. Marilyn B. Emplaincourt, 135 B. B. Comer Hall, (205) 348-5312 or fax (205) 348-5298.
International Services, located within the Capstone International Center of The University of Alabama, provides specialized services for international students, professors, research scholars, visitors, and their families. International Services conducts intensive orientation programs and provides vital information regarding U.S. Immigration compliance as well as multicultural guidance and counseling. These are ongoing services that monitor individual progress according to federal regulations.
Great emphasis is placed on international student programming. International Services coordinates a wide variety of student activities such as a weekly international coffee hour, an annual international week, and an annual "Welcome" reception for international students at the President's Mansion.
Professional staff members advise and assist the International Student Association, which represents all international students and the many nationality organizations on campus. Professional staff work closely with community groups such as the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, which sponsors the Rotary International Student Center, an on-campus residence for male students and a gathering place that fosters international friendships; and Tuscaloosa's International Friends (TIF), which sponsors a friendship family program for international students.
International Services may be contacted by telephone at (205) 348-5402, by fax at (205) 348-5406, and by mail at The University of Alabama, International Services, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254, USA. Offices are located in 112-D and 135 B. B. Comer Hall.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTITUTE
For the non-native speaker of English, The University of Alabama English Language Institute (ELI), a part of Capstone International, offers two types of year-round English-language programs: the Intensive English Program is designed for individuals who are seeking intensive English study, while External Programs are designed for groups who desire highly specialized curricula. In addition, the ELI has two programs for matriculated students at The University of Alabama: the International Teaching Assistant Program, which trains and evaluates international graduate teaching assistants, and the Academic Support Program, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students who may want or need additional English-language instruction.
Intensive English Program
The ELI Intensive English Program (IEP) is designed for individuals who need to learn English as a second language. The focus of the program is on preparing students for academic success, both in of English-language proficiency and cultural awareness, in undergraduate and graduate study at The University of Alabama.
Six levels of study, from beginning to advanced, are available. Each level consists of 20 hours of core classes per week; additional optional classes are also available for students who wish to take them. Each level of study lasts approximately eight weeks and is available six times per year with sessions beginning in August, October, January, March, May, and June. Students may begin their English study at the beginning of any one of these sessions.
An ELI student wishing to enter an undergraduate degree program at The University of Alabama may meet UA's English proficiency requirements either by obtaining the required TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score or by completing Levels 4 and 5 with a GPA of 3.0. Undergraduates who meet certain conditions (minimum TOEFL score and GPA) become eligible to enroll in one or two undergraduate courses while completing their ELI program of study. Students pursuing graduate study must complete Levels 4, 5, and 6 with a GPA of 3.5. In certain cases, the Graduate School, the ELI, and the student's academic department may together grant permission for a student who has completed Level 4 or higher with a minimum GPA of 3.5 to enroll in one graduate course per semester while completing the ELI program of study. The specific course must be approved by the instructor and department prior to enrollment.
Students who apply for admission to UA and meet the academic and financial qualifications to enter the University but do not have TOEFL scores available or do not meet the TOEFL score requirement may be given the institutional version of the TOEFL examination upon arrival. Students who do not obtain the required minimum score on the institutionally administered version of the TOEFL will not be eligible to begin an academic program and will be required to register for full-time study in the ELI until they meet the TOEFL requirement or satisfactorily complete the ELI program as outlined above.
ELI Intensive English Program Courses
Structure: Levels One to Six. ELI structure courses provide students with the basic grammatical structures they will need to communicate effectively in English in four language skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Each structure course emphasizes communication—both comprehension (listening and reading) and production (speaking and writing). Structure courses meet five hours per week.
Speaking/Listening: Levels One to Six. ELI courses in spoken English provide students with the opportunity to improve their listening and speaking skills and to gain confidence in using English to communicate orally. Students practice appropriate conversation management skills, receive instruction on problem areas of pronunciation, and learn useful vocabulary. These activities are carried on through a variety of classroom exercises that focus on the everyday situations students are likely to encounter while adjusting to life in the United States. Spoken English courses meet five hours per week.
Reading/Writing: Levels One to Six. The ELI reading/writing curriculum is designed to provide students with skills needed to comprehend written discourse at the college level as well as produce written English in a variety of forms. Reading skills include understanding the main idea of a passage, understanding an author's purpose, distinguishing fact from opinion, reading quickly, using the resources of a collegiate dictionary, and discussing written discourse in a relatively sophisticated manner. Writing exercises are designed to stimulate self-expression and personal involvement in writing. With attention to each step of the writing process—thinking, writing, and rewriting—teachers guide students toward communicating their ideas with increasing clarity and depth. Reading/Writing courses meet ten hours per week.
Oral Communication. Oral Communication (OC) is designed to help students improve their skills and proficiency in both speaking and understanding oral English. The focus of the class is on "real world English" rather than academic English. Students' oral proficiency in English will improve as a result of a variety of classroom tasks and activities. In addition, instructional activities will occasionally take place outside of the classroom in order to take advantage of opportunities in community settings. Oral Communication is divided into two separate eight-week sessions—OC I and OC II—each of which meets for ten hours per week.
Optional Classes. The ELI offers several choices of optional courses. Some examples of optional courses are TOEFL Preparation, Pronunciation, American Culture, Current Events, Business English, English Through Current Events, English Through Music, and Web Page Design. Optional classes typically meet two or three hours per week.
Conversation Partner Program. Through the Conversation Partner Program, ELI students meet regularly with American students to converse in English in relaxed surroundings. The Conversation Partner Program is a comfortable way for ELI students to form friendships with American students and to practice their English.
Culture and Language Exchange Program. The Culture and Language Exchange Program matches the ELI student's native language. Once matched, these pairs or groups of students then meet as often as they like for conversation practice in both English and in the particular foreign language.
ELI External Programs
The External Programs consist of a variety of programs designed for groups of participants with mutual goals and concerns who desire highly specialized, intensive curricula. Such programs are typically designed for international English teachers, students whose international universities have approved given curricula for credit, international graduate students preparing to enter universities throughout the U.S., and business professionals who wish to improve their overall effectiveness in English or to concentrate on specific skills such as written communication.
An organization wishing to participate in such a program should clearly define the goals of its group and keep in mind that program enrollments require a minimum of 10 participants. Financial sponsorship for the above programs may come from ministries of education, embassies, corporations, private philanthropic organizations, U.S. or other government sponsoring agencies, or the individual participants themselves. Programs may be offered at any time of the year and typically range in length from two to six weeks.
A second type of external program is the corporate short-term program for individuals from a single corporation who participate in a curriculum composed partially of courses in the ELI Intensive English Program and partially of specialized courses designed specifically for the participants. These programs are usually offered as needed throughout the year.
A third type of external program may be offered on-site at the corporation or university. As with all external programs, dates can be customized and curricula can be specially designed for the particular group.
ELI External Program Curricula
International University Undergraduate Program. This program typically offers one or two levels of instruction for the group and consists of four hours of instruction per day, five days per week. Courses offered can include Spoken English, Pronunciation, Reading/Vocabulary, Writing, Structure, Computer Skills, American Culture, and English through Music or Film.
English Teacher Training Program (ETTP). This program is designed for non-native speakers who are teachers of English. The curriculum typically consists of courses in conversational management, debate, listening and speaking, pronunciation, and public speaking, as well as a teaching workshop and series of methodology lectures. This curriculum can be adjusted to meet the needs of a particular group of English teachers. The aims of the program are to further refine the teacher's own usage and to address and evaluate current theories of methodology in light of the country's unique challenges in teaching English. These courses meet four to six hours daily.
Embassy-Sponsored Graduate Student Program. This program, typically offered during the summer, is designed for international graduate students who will be attending universities throughout the United States in the fall. Including independent study, these courses meet for four hours per day. The core classes include Written Communication: Reading, Writing, and Skills for Academic Success; Oral Communication: Listening Comprehension and Clear Speech; Oral Communication: Conversation Management and American Culture; Language Lab and Resource Center: Enhancing Computer Skills; and Independent Study.
Corporate Campus Study. Typically, this is a two-week program consisting of a combination of courses taken within the Intensive English Program along with specialized courses designed for the particular group.
Academic Support Program
The ELI Academic Support Program provides opportunities for UA undergraduate and graduate students who may want or need additional English-language instruction. At the undergraduate level, newly admitted international students, after taking the UA English Proficiency and Placement Exam (EPPE) prior to beginning their first semester at UA, may be asked to take one or two ELI courses in spoken and/or written English on a part-time basis. These students may pursue their academic studies while fulfilling their EPPE requirements. Students must pass the designated ELI Speaking/Listening or Academic Writing course(s) before enrolling in the University's required English courses for credit. At the graduate level, ESL support courses in written and spoken English are available free of charge to full-time international graduate students each fall and spring semester. In addition, for both undergraduate and graduate students, the UA Language Resource Center is available for individualized language assistance.
International Teaching Assistant Program
The University of Alabama's International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) trains and evaluates prospective UA international graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). ITAP is conducted by the English Language Institute twice each year—in the summer during a three-week period prior to the beginning of the fall semester and during the spring semester. Participation in ITAP is required of all non-native speakers of English who serve as GTAs at The University of Alabama. The summer ITAP session meets five hours daily for approximately two weeks; the spring session meets three hours weekly for 15 weeks.
To obtain more information about any of the above ELI programs, to request a brochure and application to the Intensive English Program, or to discuss the possibility of an external program for your group, contact the director, Dr. Bill Wallace, at The University of Alabama, English Language Institute, Box 870250, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0250; (205) 348-7413; fax (205) 348-9266; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Also please visit our website at http://eli.ua.edu.
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