Aware of the continual need to enhance performance and upgrade practices and approaches in various facets of SPU, the university administration is taking a proactive, vision-based approach to the development of the English language programs and performance at all levels of instruction, communication, and administration. English is the Lingua Franca of today’s world. This is particularly evident in the institutions of higher education in the 21st century. Based on the vision of the president of SPU, English language instruction, performance, and status underwent a SWOT analysis.
An initial study demonstrated the need to validate some of the preliminary findings and assumptions about the status of English at SPU. To this purpose, a comprehensive student survey was conducted to gauge not only their perceptions, but also their needs and competencies in English. Additionally, curricula were revised, practices monitored and evaluated, and recommendations made. An internationally recognized placement test (Oxford Online Placement Test) was adopted as the new modus operandi for the Syrian Private University.
In addition to language training for students, faculty and administrative staff, the upgrading of English language practices at SPU includes the content of its website and pages on social networks, its publications, whether in print or digital, its certificates and diploma supplements, and its local and regional profile, all to meet best international ‘readability’ standards and practices.
In-service training for academic and administrative staff is a cornerstone in the process of maintaining the highest standards of quality. This is why the English language team at SPU has developed a CELTA-inspired localized TOT program for English language instructors.