The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute’s Intensive English Program in Blacksburg has earned reaccreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The two-year process involved a detailed self-study and an on-site review of all aspects of the program’s operations — including curriculum, student services, finances, faculty, and facilities. The program received a 10-year Certificate of Accreditation, the longest period of accreditation granted by the commission, known as CEA.

The Intensive English Program helps international students meet their personal, academic, and professional goals through rigorous English language study. Students also learn about U.S. culture and develop academic study skills geared to help them transition to Virginia Tech classes. Twelve students have been accepted into Virginia Tech’s undergraduate program for this fall alone, and two others have been accepted into the Graduate School.

“This reaccreditation demonstrates that we are recognized in the field as being a high-quality program and that we meet the standards set forth by the profession,” said Pamela Smart-Smith, interim director of the program. “It also lets students know that when they come to Virginia Tech they are entering a program that will help prepare them for success at a U.S. university.”

Elsie Paredes, who led the Intensive English Program for 6 ½ years before being named the director of the institute’s new AdvantageVT pathway program in December 2017, spearheaded the reaccreditation process. “This serves as validation of the expertise and hard work of our faculty and staff and reaffirms that we offer one of the best English language programs,” Paredes said.

Since 2013, federal legislation has required that all English language programs seeking to enroll nonimmigrant international students be accredited by a Department of Education-recognized accreditor. CEA's systematic approach asks programs to demonstrate their compliance with standards, pursue continuous improvement, and be recognized for doing so. 

In 2015, the Language and Culture Institute’s Intensive English Program in the National Capital Region earned accreditation through 2024.

In addition to providing world-class English programs, the Language and Culture Institute, part of Outreach and International Affairs, advances Virginia Tech’s global engagement efforts by facilitating academic linkages across borders, creating strategic international partnerships, and recruiting the world’s foremost talent to be students and scholars at Virginia Tech.

— Written by Rich Mathieson