Letter: Ending UVU’s Intensive English Program is devastating on several fronts

This Nov. 14, 2019, photo shows the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Dear President Tuminez,

The decision to end the Intensive English Program (ELL) is devastating both for current students and for the future of UVU.

As of fall 2023, we had approximately 140 students in classes with another 40 on break. Therefore, about 180 students were told they needed to rush through the program or find an alternative. Many students were left feeling confused, hur, and challenged by having their plans up-ended.

Many would have gone on to study as undergraduate or graduate students at UVU, but the path is not clear now.

The program director felt that we only needed two more years to get on a healthy financial path following the challenges of the pandemic and previous years of financial strain. Two years would have been nothing in the grand scheme of things!

Now UVU will not be able to serve academically driven students whose native language is not English. UVU is an open enrollment institution. This means that we must serve students whose language skills are not quite ready for the rigors of undergrad or graduate classes.

UVU itself is losing out. ELL students were active as student council members, volunteers, etc. One of my former students from DRC partnered with a film company in Provo to produce a video of the benefits of reading, which is now being shown to children in his home country.

I have had students who have become nurses, financial advisors, pilots and more!

As misguided as I feel the decision to end ELL was, I also feel that UVU will soon recognize the essential role it played and will make the right decision to re-open it. I know that under your leadership, you can make this happen.

Maddie Scott, Lehi

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