West Virginia University will offer teaching certification in English as a Second Language under a proposal approved Friday (April 1) by the Higher Education Policy Commission.

The objective of the program is to prepare teachers to teach linguistically and culturally diverse learners, pre-kindergarten through adult,said WVU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Gerald Lang.

The Department of Foreign Languages in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the College of Human Resources and Education will offer the program that builds on an existing program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in the Department of Foreign Languages.

The English as a Second Language endorsement will be available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Currently, ESL certification is only offered at two other West Virginia institutions: Marshall University (graduate level program) and Salem International University (undergraduate program).

In other business Friday, HEPC :

  • approved the revised budget of $10.6 million for the Allen Hall HVAC upgrade project at WVU . The project was approved with an initial budget of $7.5 million in Jan. 2004, but increased asbestos abatement, moving and relocation estimates have pushed the projected budget upward. HEPC approval is based upon funding being available from Commission bonds and WVU revenue bonds.
  • approved a Regents B.A. degree program at WVU -Parkersburg
  • gave authorization for Salem International University to go ahead with its plan to become a for-profit college. Under the plan, SIU currently a private, nonprofit collegewould be sold to two out-of-state firms.
  • learned that more than 1,000 fewer high school seniors will be receiving the PROMISE Scholarship this year because of stiffer academic standards. Lisa DeFrank-Cole, PROMISE director, told commissioners about 3,000 incoming freshman have qualified for the scholarship which pays for tuition and fees. State officials increased the requirements for the second straight year to keep the program within its budget. This years seniors not only have to get aBaverage in high school, but they also must score at least a 21 on the ACT college placement test.