The Texas A&M University English Language Institute (ELIN) began in 1966 as a short-term summer program for 22 agricultural students from Latin America. ELIN has grown into a fully-accredited year-round intensive English program collaborating annually with departments across the Texas A&M University campus to provide English language instruction and academic preparation for hundreds of undergraduate and graduate international students from all across the globe. The program is administered by a director and assistant director and is supported by full and part-time non-tenure-track faculty members. From its humble beginnings, the TAMU English Language Institute is now nationally recognized as a top intensive English program in the United States.

In the beginning

In the summer of 1966, the Agricultural College at Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College sought help from the Department of English to provide English language instruction for 22 Central and South American agricultural students enrolled in short-term summer courses. By 1974 the international student population at Texas A&M University had grown exponentially, and the need for separate English language instruction for students in departments across campus became apparent.

A College of Liberal Arts committee chaired by the head of the Modern Languages Department (now the Department of International Studies), Dr. Anne M. Elmquist, articulated the need to offer “full-time year-round instruction separate from the Department of English for international students.” According to a committee memorandum, such an institute was to be housed in the Modern Languages Department and would be self-supporting.

The ELIN at Texas A&M University was established according to conventions set out in 1941 by the University of Michigan, the first university-based academic intensive English program in the United States (see http://www.lsa.umich.edu/eli/aboutus/history). A recognized leader in the field, the University of Michigan’s ELI served as a model of standard practices with emphasis on English for academic purposes, research-based instruction methods and materials, and high standards for faculty.

The Institute stays current in the field of university-based intensive English instruction through rigorous external reviews by accreditation organizations, TESOL membership, and by presenting and participating in state, national, and international conferences.