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WKU, ESLi celebrate partnership, sign new five-year agreement

WKU and English as a Second Language International celebrated 15 years of partnership with the signing of a new five-year agreement on Tuesday (July 21).

WKU President Gary Ransdell (left) and ESLi President and Owner Gary Bartholomew shake hands after signing a new five-year agreement on July 21. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU President Gary Ransdell (left) and ESLi President and Owner Gary Bartholomew shake hands after signing a new five-year agreement on July 21. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

ESLi provides English language training to international students at WKU and maintains a corporate office on campus. ESLi President and Owner Gary Bartholomew said the impact of ESLi’s partnerships is to provide international students with opportunities they would not otherwise have.

“We’re in the business of changing lives,” he said.

WKU President Gary Ransdell said the partnership provides international students who already have good study skills in their native countries with the English language skills needed to make them successful in the United States.

“An international student has to have a good grasp of the English language before he or she can function well in our campus setting,” he said. “As we grow our international population, they are critical partners to us.”

ESLi, which started about 20 years ago, and WKU have sort of grown together, said Ryan Hall, ESLi’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “ I think since we first started on the campus 15 years ago, we’ve seen the international numbers double for both us in the ESLi program and Western Kentucky University,” he said. “I’m hoping to see even more students around the globe and see our numbers increase and see the cooperation between WKU and ESLi go even further.”

Minh Dao was recruited from Vietnam by a former ESLi director. After completing the program, she graduated from the Honors College at WKU and now works for ESLi as Student Services Liaison.

“At ESLi I not only got to learn English skills like reading, speaking, writing and listening, but also got to learn research skills,” she said. “When I get to see students succeed and achieve their goals and their dreams, it makes my life more meaningful and my job more pleasant.”

ESLi averages 150 students per semester at WKU, and the numbers have been growing, said David Kerr, ESLi’s Director of Institutional Advancement.

Contact: David Kerr, (270) 745-3937

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