UA Fort Smith is proud to offer a unique center for education – the ELS Language Center here on campus. The Center is only one of 55 throughout the United States and Canada and one of 50 universities in key cities throughout North America with a center.
ELS stands for English Language Services, and the purpose of the Center is to teach English as a second language to international students, helping them to become proficient. This affords the international student an opportunity to pursue a higher education at English-speaking universities.
According to Takeo Suzuki, our Executive Director of International Relations, Provost & Senior Vice Chancellor Dr. Ray Wallace asked him to search out the possibility of having an ELS Center based at UA Fort Smith. Through the efforts of these two visionaries the proposal was presented to Chancellor Beran and the dream became a reality when the ELS Center was opened in August 2010.
To celebrate the success of the first students in the program, a Grand Opening celebration was held on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Simon Smith, Center Director of the Center, opened the celebration, sharing that five of their seven charter students have matriculated into UA Fort Smith.
Chancellor Beran welcomed the students and the Language Center to the Fort Smith campus and spoke about the positive future this partnership is engendering. He also explained how the addition of this Center is broadening our experience both here on campus and in the community.
The first Fort Smith ELS international student, Mohammed Hawsawi, spoke of how the experience has enriched his life. He stated that entering into a partnership with the ELS Language Center here in Fort Smith has made it possible for him to have multiple options for his future. Hawsawi also said that in addition to improving his language skills, students, teachers and those of the community have made him feel like he was among family and friends.
During his closing statements, Director Simon Smith thanked those who supported the Center, including Chancellor Beran, Provost Wallace, District Director Nicole Bennett, local directors and staffs, and all the supportive members at the ELS Headquarters.