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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2007 / 07 

Donald Back named director of English Language Institute

July 17, 2007

Donald Back of Christiansburg has been named director of Virginia Tech’s English Language Institute (ELI). The appointment was announced by Jeri L. Childers, director of Outreach Program Development, part of Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.

Back replaces Judith Snoke, who retired after 30 years in that position.

“We are looking forward to expanding service to the Virginia Tech, area, and global communities under Don’s leadership,” says Childers.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Back was with ELS Language Centers, where he was most recently responsible for recruiting in Latin America and developing corporate contracts for that company’s 42 intensive English programs across the United States. He also supervised 10 ELS Language Centers in six Southern states.

A former Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, Back has been active in international education for almost 20 years and has worked in managerial capacities in English language programs for more than 15 years.

Back is currently serving as president of the American Association of Intensive English Programs, the leading organization representing language institutes in the United States. He has additionally served on a national level as a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) project manager in the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA) Association of International Educators; is listed as a contributor in the NAFSA Advisor's Manual, a sourcebook for immigration advisors; and has authored several NAFSA practice advisories for language schools. He was one of 10 SEVIS project managers tasked with educating colleges, universities, and language programs nationally on new post-September 11 immigration regulations and SEVIS compliance.

“I am delighted to join the English Language Institute of Virginia Tech and look forward to continuing a legacy of international education and exchange that enriches the university and the Blacksburg community,” Back says. “Teaching English to internationals as well as foreign languages to our local children and citizenry increases understanding across borders, in some part helping our nation to compete in an increasingly global marketplace, and, further, helping to ensure our security in the years to come.”

Back holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Wright State University and a master’s degree in international education from the University of Massachusetts.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.