May 7, 2004

Intensive English Program Closes its Doors

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After August 6, the 28-year old Intensive English Program at Cornell will close its doors, according to an e-mail sent out by Jeanette Mancusi, the director of the program.

The program, which was open to high-school graduates over 17 who had some English training, emphasized English speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar, according to the program’s website.

Last summer, some of the program’s events included Cornell tours, bowling at Helen Newman and at least 20 hours of class time plus homework and individual student-teacher meetings.

“We were advised of Provost Martin’s decision this morning in a meeting with Vice Provosts Cohen and Kramnick, who stated that the mission and services of the Intensive English Program do not warrant University support,” Mancusi’s e-mail stated.

“We have not yet resolved all the issues,” said Provost Biddy Martin, in response to questions about the program. She referred further questions to Isaac Kramnick, vice provost for undergraduate education, and Walter Cohen, vice provost.

Kramnick referred questions to Jane Pederson, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Cohen and Pederson could not be reached for comment.

“Our students came for many reasons,” said Tamara Lovell, who worked with the program. “Some had been admitted to Cornell on the condition that they first improve their English, some were visiting scholars, a number were spouses or adult children of students or scholars who wanted an academic approach to English, some were sent by their businesses to upgrade their language skills and many used our program as a year ‘abroad’ in the middle of their studies in their own country.”

She said that over 5,900 individuals from over 40 countries had participated in the program.

Until the Asian economic crisis in 1998, Lovell said, the program had brought in additional revenue to the College of Arts and Sciences. The program later suffered an additional drop in enrollment after post-Sept. 11 Visa regulations took effect.

“We find ourselves operating at a loss during this temporary drop in enrollment, and are unable to continue without some short-term financial assistance from the University,” Lovell said. “During the academic year, anyone who wishes to study English full-time in Ithaca will have no option closer than Syracuse University. This can only have a negative impact on Cornell’s goal of strengthening its ‘transnational’ mission. The closing of the IEP will be a big loss for the international community at Cornell.”

Kate Howell ’04, who was involved with the program last spring semester, said it was “a great learning experience.”

“I’m very sad to learn that it is closing, it will be a great loss to the campus.”

Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Senior Writer