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Husson, EMCC join forces to offer English to foreign students

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Eastern Maine Community College instructor Bruce Williamson teaches an English language learning class at the college on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2011. Husson University and Eastern Maine Community College have reached an agreement to allow Husson students needing English language classes to attend EMCC's Integrative English program.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Two local institutions will join forces Friday to increase the number of foreign students studying in the Queen City.

The presidents of Husson University and Eastern Maine Community College are scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding to begin a reciprocal agreement at Husson.

Through this partnership, international students recruited by Husson who need to improve their English language skills would be placed in the Integrative English Training program at EMCC before beginning their studies at Husson, according to a joint press release issued by the two schools.

Husson anticipates admitting 10-15 students next fall, the first year of the program, according to Julie Green, spokeswoman for Husson.

“In 2008, EMCC initiated the [Integrative English Training] program offering unique and practical English training,” EMCC President Lawrence Barrett said. “Under the leadership of program director Changsu Lee, 50 students have successfully completed the [Integrative English Training program], earning college credits and/or an Associate Degree in their respective areas of study.

“Program participants have come to EMCC from South Korea, China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Brazil, Egypt and Peru,” he said. “We believe the signing of this memorandum is a first for Maine between a community college and a university. Through this collaborative partnership, EMCC and Husson University will meet the needs of international students for years to come.”

EMCC’s language program is based on a hybrid model of instruction in which international students receive intensive English language instruction within English Language Learners, or ELL, courses and integrate with other students in for-credit college courses at Husson and EMCC, according to the press release. The full program involves two semesters of studying ELL courses and will incorporate students within the classrooms of both institutions as they begin to earn credits toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree at Husson.

Both institutions have made a commitment to keep ELL class size at no more than 15 students so individual attention can be provided to students to accelerate learning.

“We deeply value the partnership we have established with Eastern Maine Community College,” Husson President Robert Clark said. “This is an especially valuable partnership that will lay the foundation for a revitalized international recruitment program for Husson, as we work to diversify our campus and provide a global perspective to the education we provide our students.”

In the late 1990s, Husson had 150 foreign students, Green said Thursday. After 9/11, recruitment foundered but Clark has made the recruitment of foreign students a priority, she said.

Clark was vice president for strategic initiatives and the director for the Institute for Global Enterprise at the University of Evansville in Indiana two years ago when he was tapped to be president of Husson. He also was the Schroeder Family Dean and a professor of finance and international business at the university’s Schroeder Family School of Business Administration.

A Maine native, Clark, 56, earned his Ph.D. in finance with a minor in econometrics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He earned a master’s degree in business and undergraduate degrees in business and Spanish from the University of Maine.

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