The closing of the CSUF American Language Program could affect Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages concentration

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(Gabe Gandara / Daily Titan)

The closure of the 32-year-old American Language Program, ALP, could have an effect on other programs at Cal State Fullerton.

TESOL, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, is a concentration in the Master of Science in Education program and requires its students to complete a teaching practicum, where students take over the class for a period of time to experience hands-on teaching.

ALP faculty member Mark Herbst said the ALP has been the “go-to” for graduate students to fulfill the requirement.

“We’re training people to get master’s degrees in this field at this college, and the university is saying there’s no value to it,” Herbst said.

Bruce Rubin, another ALP faculty member, said the ALP has employed many TESOL students after they’ve finished their degree.

In the past, TESOL graduate students have been able to teach an ALP class under supervision of an ALP faculty member, said Carolyn Dupaquier, ALP faculty member.

“Often, those students would end up teaching part time in our department and become full time. Those students will no longer have any vehicle on campus for that,” Dupaquier said.

Several faculty members in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, where TESOL is housed, have expressed their concern with the program’s closure through a petition urging CSUF President Fram Virjee to keep the ALP from closing.

“This short-sighted decision will hurt Cal State Fullerton,” said Nathan Carr, a TESOL professor on the petition. “We will find ourselves in a few years needing to create a new program just like it.”

The university administration decided to end the ALP after deeming it to be financially unsustainable. As a self-support program, the ALP is self-funded through its revenue.

“With the ALP gone, we are certain this will affect the quality of the CSUF TESOL program graduates, who both depend on real classrooms for their research and service, but also for their future employment,” wrote TESOL professor Janet Eyring in a comment on the petition.

Fourteen faculty members were officially notified on March 23 that the program would be closing and they would be laid off at the end of the spring semester. ALP students were notified on April 2.

“Most schools have an ALP type program on campus that feeds into their university, and it helps to bring more international students over. By not having that, that does send a message that we are not as accommodating as we should be,” said Daniel Rueckert, a CSUF TESOL lecturer.

Rueckert, who also signed the petition, said other institutions have been more accommodating to bring in international students through extensive English programs.

“It’s kind of disheartening on my side to see that we are going in the opposite direction by cutting these types of services,” Rueckert said.

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