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Mennonite Colleges Collaborate for IEP Students

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Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) announced a new three-year agreement among all five colleges/universities of Mennonite Church USA that will facilitate the success of undergraduate international students.

Bethel (Kan.) College, Bluffton (Ohio) University, Goshen (Ind.) College and Hesston (Kan.) College have each signed a memo of understanding with Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) Intensive English Program (IEP). Each college/university has agreed to do an initial screening of students who apply to the institution and then recommend IEP to those who could benefit from the one-semester, or more, English language immersion experience.

Two years ago, IEP Director Kathleen Roth approached MEA Senior Director Elaine Moyerwith the idea of making IEP available to the other Mennonite colleges/universities. Moyer was excited about the potential for this type of collaboration and encouraged Roth to pursue the idea.

David Graybill, IEP lecturer at EMU, works with Menghao Yu of PingDingShan, China. Photo by Lindsey Kolb.

Over a period of time, Roth met individually with admissions, enrollment and academic staff of the four colleges/universities.

“I believe very strongly in Mennonite education and the work MEA does to bring educators together. I was grateful for the opportunity to share how IEP could work on their behalf and was pleased by their openness and eagerness to work together,” said Roth.

Moyer believes that this collaboration among Mennonite higher education is one that our missional church can also celebrate.

“The world community is relating in new ways; there is an openness to learn from each other,” said Moyer. “The Anabaptist view of God’s love for all people is being modeled in relationships that go beyond our borders. The faith and values that Mennonite education teaches is significant for our neighbors both near and far.”

EMU’s IEP began in 1989 to support its international students who needed English language skills in order to study in an American academic setting. Classes focus on language skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar through cultural immersion and much personal attention. The program emphasizes the value of cultural diversity even as it helps students understand North American academic rules, methods of study and expectations. Currently, 45 to 55 students, representing 15 to 20 different countries, are enrolled in each IEP session.

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