By Shira Kipnees, Staff Writer

Beginning this Fall, the College’s Office of International Programs launched a pilot program to offer English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to students on campus with strong academic credentials who, as non-native speakers, would benefit from additional language support and instruction.

The new program, run by highly trained ESL instructors recently hired by the Office of International Programs, consists of weekly one-hour workshops and individual tutoring sessions. Eighteen first-year students are participating in the program this semester.

According to Julia Ferrante, spokesperson for the College, F&M decided to start offering ESL programming due to the growing interest in the subject; the Class of 2017 features the largest class of international students in the College’s history. This is the first semester in recent memory that the College has offered structured language assistance to non-native speakers.

“We have, in recent years, identified a growing interest in this resource, which enhances our curriculum and provides a support network for students for whom English is not the first language,” Ferrante said.

According to Ferrante, the Office of International Programs manages the ESL pilot program because most non-native speakers on campus are international students. Ferrante also explained that this program, ideally, would help give non-native English speakers the ability to contribute even more to the F&M community.

“Our non-native speakers are strong contributors to our campus community, and we want to provide them with tools that will enhance their ability to take full advantage of the wonderful opportunities at F&M,” Ferrante said.

“This applies to academics in the classroom, or even just increasing students’ confidence in interacting socially with other students of diverse backgrounds in the type of out-of-class learning that is a key part of the residential college experience,” she continued.

Junior Shira Kipnees is a staff writer. Her email is