Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 6, March 30, 2012

Hillary McKinley

Curtis Powell

A Word From Human Resources
English as a Second Language Program

Rensselaer has a very diverse population of faculty, staff, and students. As such,
the Division of Human Resources has decided to implement an English as a Second Language (ESL) course for new faculty, staff, research associates, and students. Launched in January in partnership with the Capital Region Language Center, the 15-week program is designed to facilitate improved communications within the campus community by providing interested participants with exposure to and practice with the four literacy skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
Twenty-one Rensselaer individuals are enrolled in the inaugural program that will end on May 17. Each lesson and the accompanying exercises focus on basic language needed for daily living, workplace, and civic competence. The four-level program provides participants with an opportunity to explore a range of topics, including using English in home, work, business, and social situations; gaining confidence with language for simple conversation; building language vocabulary, especially with idioms and phrasal verbs that can change the meaning learned in other English-speaking cultures; and learning to speak with U.S. rhythm, stress, and intonation.

Overall, the cultural diversity of the class enables current students to interact with people from diverse cultural and language backgrounds, and to develop skills that will be valuable for any career.

As an employer, we recognize that our campus community is comprised of individuals who represent diverse communities, and we will continue to look for ways to support and celebrate them. We also understand that everyone speaks English a little differently, especially if it is not your first language. That being the case, as we educate Rensselaer students in leading in the global marketplace, we also want to ensure that Rensselaer
employees who are non-native English speakers also have an opportunity to truly understand the unique nuances found in
the English language.

Beyond the development of the ESL program, we are also exploring other opportunities with the Capital Region Language Center. Future plans may also include foreign language offerings for interested employees.

For more information regarding the cost of the program and to register, contact Will Fahey, manager of professional and organizational development, at or (518) 276- 2318.

Curtis Powell, SPHR
Vice President for Human Resources

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 6, March 30, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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