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The English Language Institute

About the English Language Institute

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The Salisbury University English Language Institute (ELI) was created in 2010 as a major strategic initiative to stem the steady decline in the percentage of non-immigrant international students in the SU student population over the previous decade.

Founding Director, Dr. Hongzhuan “Sam” Song, a native of Anhui province, China and an internationally recognized leader in Chinese-American cross-cultural education, began the program in the fall of 2010 with eight students from three countries. 

Over the first five years, the program grew rapidly.  Today more than 250 international students study each year in a variety of ELI programs from one semester and one year visiting student programs, to college preparatory entrance programs, to summer intensive programs.   Students come from all over the world and study English at a variety of levels from introductory to advanced.  And the program continues to grow!

 A full-time teaching staff of six Senior Lecturers, all with Masters or Doctoral degrees in TESOL, English, Composition, Communications, Linguistics, and related fields form the nucleus of the instructional faculty.  All part-time instructors, likewise, hold at least a Masters degree. 

The English Language Institute has become a key strategic driver in the internationalization of Salisbury University and impacts virtually all academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level throughout the university.

Our Mission

The mission for our ELI here at Salisbury University is to provide high quality English language acquisition courses and a smooth transition to U.S. culture for international students, professionals and other non-native speakers by means of an intensive English program. It also facilitates participants'  successful cultural adjustment to the classroom, as well as to the general environment of an American college. Salisbury University has a strong institutional commitment to inclusiveness, excellence, and diversity that is manifested in the English Language Institute.

To accompish our mission, the English Language Institute upholds the following objectives:

  • Improve both the English language and study skills of our international learners in preparation for study at an American college or university, or for professional purposes.
  • Deliver the cultural knowledge and awareness necessary to transition from life and study in their own countries to the U.S.
  • Offer a superior quality of student support and administrative services.
  • Maintain the highest standards of English language instruction by employing and developing capable, dynamic and experienced faculty members.
  • Foster an intellectual atmosphere where professional development is supported, appreciated and pursued by all faculty.
  • Enrich the Salisbury University campus and faculty at large by encouraging multi-cultural communication and interaction.
  • Advance Salisbury University’s professional reputation for excellence by receiving English Language Program accreditation and supporting a community-wide effort to promote an international, cross-cultural learning environment.

Program Features

  • Classes for multiple levels of current English proficiency
  • Experienced instructors
  • Immersion into American culture
  • Dual enrollment study with Salisbury University and ELI, if qualified
  • Extracurricular activities and trips
  • Variety of choices of programs to accommodate to the needs of the students we serve (please refer to more information described in "ELI PROGRAMS" section below)


At SUELI, we are committed to helping our students maximize the benefit from their learning experience at ELI. Our ultimate goal is to make sure every one of the students who come to our programs will be able to have a “soft landing” at their prospective major areas of study while learning English language. To that end, our curriculum is designed to offer training programs consisting of three components: language acquisition, culturalization, and academic adaptation.  Specifically, through the SUELI programs, you will have the opportunity to

  • Select programs that vary from 7-14 weeks in length (currently, our 7 week long program only takes place during the summer).
  • Take classes in reading, writing, grammar, listening/speaking both for academic and social communication purposes;
  • Prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and pronunciation.
  • Choose electives, such as Business English, Conversation Strategies, US Culture, at advanced levels when enrollment allows.
  • Start at your own level in each skill, whether beginning, intermediate, or advanced.
  • Progress to a higher level at the end of each session.
  • Learn from highly qualified instructors. Our excellently trained teachers are our biggest strength.
  • Study in small classes with a maximum number of 12~18 students in core courses.
  • Learn how to get adjusted to application of ICTs to your college life, including word processing, PPT, and Internet usage in upper level reading/writing classes and other selected speaking classes.
  • Discuss within small groups about the topics of your own interests

Entrance Requirements

Students who want to study in the ELI must

  • have at least a survival knowledge of English
  • be at least 17 years old
  • have completed at least secondary school in their country.

The Use of English at Our Institute

At SUELI, we expect everyone in class to use English in all communication among students as well as between students and employees. While we respect your own native languages and cultures, we do strongly uphold the above mentioned policy of the English Language Institute and we assume that, by applying for admission, you accept our rule on the use of English.


ASPIRE: Academic Study Preparation through Intensive Readiness English is designed to help non-native speaking students get ready for their prospective degree seeking programs at American universities. Students will be placed at an appropriate level according to their English proficiency determined by an integrated assessment, including the Institute placement test. All students have to successfully complete all courses (6/semester) in order to move up to the next level or to graduate from the ELI program.

SAYA: Study A Year in America is designed for students from SU overseas partnering institutions to get a year of studying abroad experience on Salisbury University campus. This one-year program consists of instruction in English language and American culture in the SU English Language Institute, which includes the core courses and electives provided by ELI teaching faculty. If the participating students are placed at a higher level of language proficiency, they are allowed to take the bridge program in which they can simultaneously take ELI courses and credit bearing academic courses. After successfully completing the program, the participating students will be awarded a SU-ELI certificate of completion of SAYA and credits from their home institution.

LEAP: Language Experience in America Program is designed for students from SU overseas partnering institutions to get a semester long language, cultural, and academic experience at Salisbury University. This semester long program consists of instruction in English language and American culture in the SU English Language Institute, which includes the core courses and electives. Though a focus is on English Language Acquisition (ELA) experiences, participating students can choose elective course taught by ELI teaching faculty along with professors from academic departments or professionals who are specially trained in the field. After successfully completing the program, the participating students will be awarded a SU-ELI certificate of completion of LEAP and credits from their home institution.

ISAP: Intensive Study Abroad Program is designed to provide a four week long rich language and cultural learning experience for students from SU partnering institutions.  This program integrates linguistic, cultural, and academic experiences which will offer not only an in-class instruction but also many first-hand experiences in various settings, both academic and social. In addition to the formal classroom instruction, the students will have opportunities to see and experience the American life. As an integral part of the program, the students will also spend weekends for cultural excursions through visiting some of the east-coast cities and resorts, such as Ocean City, Washington DC, and/or Philadelphia. After successfully completing all required courses and activities, the participants will receive a certificate from SU-ELI and credits from their home institution. 

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