Higher Ed: CEA Coming to the Fall Workshop

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My name is Stephanie Martinez I came into this field as an undergraduate student in TESOL classes at Southern Illinois University. This led me to pursue a Master’s degree in Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I have been teaching English for the past three years at university-based programs in Chicago and I’m now pleased to continue my professional development at ITBE. I’d like to take this opportunity to express that I am very happy to be the new higher education SIG chair and am pleased to volunteer my time and energy to ITBE. As the new Higher Education Special Interest Group Chair, I plan to focus on ways to help adjuncts and full-time faculty in this field connect and learn from one another. I believe it’s important for there to be a formal and relevant platform for people who are teaching in higher education because the nature of the field, in my experience, is isolated and so fast paced so we miss out on a lot of the team building that other grade levels in this field get to enjoy. As a newer adjunct instructor in this field, I also hope to offer fresh perspectives on issues directly affecting current ESL teachers in higher education by reaching out to those in our field and encouraging as well as nurturing interest in ITBE events.

We have a couple of bits of exciting news from the Higher Education SIG group. The first bit of news is that we have a new Higher Ed. SIG chair as of last month! Her name is Stephanie Martinez. 

The second piece of exciting news is that we have organized a speaker from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) to come and speak to us at our Fall Workshop on Oct 25 at Concordia University. Her name is Mary Reeves, and she is the Executive Director of CEA. Mary served on the original 1994 TESOL task force which led to the creation of CEA, and was a Commissioner and Commission chair before serving on the CEA staff.  She'll provide a brief overview of CEA's accreditation process and standards, share some interesting trends, provide an update on a standards revision project that is underway, and then answer questions from attendees. 
According to Mary, “CEA has tripled in size in the last 3 years, thanks to the Accreditation Act, which has also resulted in CEA being seen as more of a regulatory agency than before. However, we haven't lost our commitment to our roots; CEA  grew from a collaboration among the professional organizations in the field - TESOL, EnglishUSA (formerly AAIEP), UCIEP, NAFSA - and that history continues to underpin CEA's approach to quality assurance, accreditation, and standards as continuous improvement for our field.  CEA standards and processes are designed to support sites as they undergo self-study, identify strengths, resolve weaknesses, and then continue to develop after accreditation.  We continue to hear from sites which are using the CEA standards to guide program development even if accreditation is not the goal (yet!) as well as from those in the accreditation process.  So, we hope the ITBE session will be useful to attendees of all types, not just those accredited or thinking about it.”  
For those who want to learn more about CEA before Mary's session, the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions is available for download from http://www.cea-accredit.org.‚Äč  Also, a set of seven orientation units of PowerPoint with voiceover is available which describe CEA's mission, history, scope, and other introductory topics; these units are designed for applicants who are starting the CEA accreditation process by attending a workshop and focus on that event, but the units are nonetheless useful for others who want to know more about CEA (http://cea-accredit.org/accreditation-workshop).
Do you have experience with the accreditation process? Is this a future possibility in your program? Share your thoughts and ideas with our readers: 


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ITBE Link - Fall 2014 - Volume 42 Number 3