Wright State’s LEAP Intensive English Program earns highest accreditation

LEAP students

The LEAP Intensive English Program provides full-time English instruction and helps non-native speakers develop the linguistic, academic and social skills students need to be successful in an American university.

Wright State’s intensive English program, which provides international students with the language skills to be successful, has received the highest level of accreditation from the nation’s accrediting agency.

“Being accredited by the Commission of English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) shows that we meet the rigorous guidelines for intensive English program set forth by the CEA,” said Jeannette Horwitz, director of LEAP (Learning English for Academic and Professional Purposes). “It makes us more attractive to potential students who are looking for a top-notch program.”

The LEAP Intensive English Program provides full-time English instruction and helps non-native speakers develop the linguistic, academic and social skills students need to be successful in an American university, said Horwitz.

International students seeking admission to Wright State have to submit an English language test score such as TOEFL or IELTS or successfully complete the LEAP program.

LEAP also includes many cultural and social activities to familiarize students with American culture, said Horwitz.

“I think the LEAP program is worthy of the highest accreditation,” said Xin “Apple” Zhou, a LEAP student from China who intends to study electrical engineering.

One LEAP graduate student said he benefited from learning about American culture and education.

“I did not have any background about American society, students and culture. When I found that LEAP contains all this, I decided to become involved in this program,” said Aghiad Alkhiamy, a LEAP graduate from Syria who will study biomedical engineering at Wright State.

Horwitz said that in 1999 the LEAP program only had 15 to 20 students and only two levels. Three more levels were added to accommodate the dramatic increase in students.

During the spring semester, 150 students were enrolled in the program. The program typically offers 50 sections in five course levels.

The program also offers individual tutoring in the LEAP Learning Center and multiple workshops on a variety of topics, including how to write effective emails in English, how to write a statement of purpose for graduate school and classroom etiquette.

Retirees and a student talking

LEAP’s Conversation Partners program matches retirees with international students who want to improve their English. From left, retired Wright State professor Abe Bassett, Saudi student Ali Alshehri, Lorraine Wagley and retired professor Robert Wagley participated in a recent conversation.

“Before being happy for LEAP reaping the highest accreditation award, I am proud that I am part of the output of the LEAP program,” said Khalid Alsahli, a former LEAP student from Saudi Arabia who graduated this spring with a master’s degree in cyber security. “When I compare what I have learned during my studies in LEAP with some colleagues who came from other institutes … I believe that the award went to the right place.”

Alsahli said LEAP faculty and staff members treat the students as family.

“They invited us to their homes, where we met their families. We also dined together and became friends on social media. I think this is the primary reason why the program is an attractive environment for most of our students,” Alsahli said.

A LEAP student from Iraq agreed that the LEAP faculty display dedication and friendliness.

“The faculty of LEAP are extremely helpful, supportive, encouraging, motivating, kind and respectful. They put a lot of effort in understanding the abilities of each student, and they work on improving these abilities. I am very grateful to them for developing my English,” said Mariam M. Saleh, a LEAP student from Iraq who plans on earning her Ph.D. in information engineering.

Students not in the LEAP program are encouraged to engage with the international students through the program by becoming a language or conversation partner.

For more information about the LEAP program or to get involved, visit wright.edu/leap.

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