Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Professional English Language Support Program: A resource for multilingual graduate students

The newly established Professional English Language Support Program is being offered for multilingual and multidialectal graduate students who need additional support with their writing and speaking skills. PELS helps students to attain their academic and professional goals.
Courtesy of Claudia Amadori
Current students for the fall 2023 PELS program.

The Professional English Language Support Program (PELS), established in 2022, is a writing center that assists multilingual and multidialectal students in achieving their academic and professional goals. For example, the program assists students with papers and proposals, publishing articles, applying for graduate and employment positions, and more. 

PELS offers free seven-week courses, workshops, resources for students and faculty, as well as faculty consultations. During the seven-week course, students work on their individual writing projects in small groups under the guidance of an instructor. Classes are small and meet for two and a half hours a week.

The directors are working to accept undergraduate student applications in the coming year. Both international and domestic students are welcome to join. However, students must speak more than one language and require additional English language support.. Courses are non-credit, but participants in the program will receive a certificate of attendance at the end of the course. 

The program is part of the University Center for Excellence in Writing (UCEW), established by Jeffery Galin, a professor in the English department who retired this past year. Assistant Director Claudia Amadori and Program Director Sipai Klein run the program now.  Klein, an English professor, also runs FAU’s UCEW and Writing Across the Curriculum programs.

Amadori has been a senior English instructor since 2014 and has served as the assistant director of PELS since the program started in 2022. Originally from Italy, Amadori came to the United States in 1997. She earned a master’s degree in Creative Writing at FAU and a doctoral degree in English Literature from the University of Miami.

“Because I was a multilingual student, I found this job very important as I have been in the same shoes as these students,” said Amadori.

The maximum capacity of students in a class is 10. This helps make the class more effective and interactive. It also allows students to work one-on-one with the instructor.

 Amadori said that the lectures they have in class on behalf of the different aspects of writing are one of the benefits of joining the program. Another benefit is that the program offers supportive and educational feedback. Amadori claims PELS promotes a multicultural education by allowing students to connect with others who share similar ideas and aspirations. It reinforces and strengthens  students’ academic and professional development when it comes to writing.

To ensure  proficiently executed research  PELS teaches students different writing strategies. This includes brainstorming ideas, proofreading work, and peer-reviewing papers. PELS helps students in various fields, including areas like business, engineering, nursing and more. 

“I teach students how to recognize their patterns of errors so that they can go back to their writing and identify those errors and correct them themselves,” said Amadori.

The class begins with a short lecture about an aspect of writing. Once the lecture is over, the workshop starts. During class workshops, students share their current projects and review their writing with the class. In those discussions, students make suggestions regarding content, grammar, organization, and style. In addition, instructors and peers provide feedback within the specified field of study.

“It’s definitely a benefit. Across the university in various different stem disciplines, there may be very gifted graduate students that are not native English speakers but are multilingual. So, having that support system in place and the courses that are offered to help students succeed is very valuable.” said Oliver Buckton, professor and chair of FAU’s English department.

Buckton, who began teaching at FAU in 1994, teaches various courses in Victorian and Modern British Literature and Literary Theory and specializes in researching spy fiction.

According to Buckton, FAU has changed immensely since 1994 in terms of inclusivity on campus.

“The university is much more diverse than it used to be. We definitely have a much bigger international population profile in terms of visibility and reputation now compared to before,” he said.

Anika Wali, an FAU Alumni and first-generation student, shared her experience coming from a Bangladeshi background and receiving additional support from the university when she struggled to make her way around campus. 

“During my undergraduate studies, I felt like students around me knew what to do. They knew to have study groups, and they knew of the resources the school offered,” Wali said. “But my background, even though I was born and raised in America, was very different. I would get frustrated because students around me knew the answers to the questions in class. I also didn’t understand how to analyze a poem. So, it was definitely difficult in the beginning, but it was my instructors who guided me.” 

Her parents had lived in the U.S. for over 30 years before moving from Bangladesh when they were younger. Wali grew up with her father, who maintained his cultural beliefs and customs. She began her education at FAU in 2014, graduated in 2016, and immediately began her master’s program. She graduated with a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in nonprofit management. She began working as an executive assistant at HabCenter in 2016.

PELS is a great tool to use for building creative skills. Taking advantage of this resource helps multilingual students discover their professional voice. The program exemplifies FAU’s proud efforts to support the multilingual study body.

Amadori intends to announce the courses for spring 2024. Students interested in registering for spring courses can select the registration link on the PELS website once available. Assistant director, Amadori, will then contact those students who applied to the program to invite them to participate in the program as soon as registration is complete.

Amadori also plans to offer writing workshops in the coming semester. Workshops will also be available to undergraduate students. Some of the workshops provided by the PELS program include information on “writing,” “researching for research projects,” “networking academically and professionally,” and “delivering persuasive content.”

“There might be workshops on job interview skills, on how to write a personal statement, how to overcome writer’s block, and other topics. Workshops will last two hours and will be offered in person or online,” said Amadori.

For more information about the PELS program, the upcoming course schedule and registration deadlines, visit the program’s page on  Instagram or  email Claudia Amadori at [email protected]

You can also donate to the PELS Program on their website. Your donations will help the PELS team to develop, expand, and sustain this program

Shianna Campanelli is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information on this story or others, email her at [email protected] or on Instagram @shianna_campanelli.

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