MANHATTAN — Kansas State University is receiving the New Partner Award from the U.S. Department of State for expanding the U.S. partner base and advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives and educational exchange through the university's participation in the Online Professional English Network.
Ketty Reppert, interim director of K-State's English Language Program, will accept the award on behalf of the university Thursday, March 23, at the 2023 Teachers of English to Speaker of Other Languages, or TESOL, International Convention in Portland, Oregon.
The Online Professional English Network, or OPEN, program provides an opportunity for U.S. universities and institutions to expand their reach to a global audience and create innovative online course programming for teacher professional development and English for specific purposes.
"It's an honor to work with an amazing team pulling together the expertise of faculty and staff from many parts of the university to design courses that address significant issues of public need in communities worldwide," said Reppert. "We're excited to see how the most recent course impacts the classrooms of English teachers in various countries and equips them to empower their students to take on the challenge of climate change beginning in their local communities."
The English Language Program at K-State has worked with international nonprofit FHI 360 to develop several openly licensed courses for the OPEN program as part of the U.S. State Department's initiatives worldwide. Courses include English for Public Policy, Keys to Diplomatic Writing, English for Aviation and Teaching for the Future: English Teaching to Take on Climate Change.
Reppert said so far, these projects have benefited civil servants and diplomats in Africa and aviation personnel in South America.
"The team from the English Language Program worked with partners from across Kansas State University on these projects," said Reppert. "Together we used our strengths and areas of expertise to tackle the many types of tasks required to develop quality content for use around the world. We all grew throughout this process, and it's an honor to be recognized for this work."
The English Language Program is an intensive language program at K-State that strives to provide English instruction to students who are admitted to a degree program but have not demonstrated the English proficiency required for enrollment in academic courses. The program also offers English instruction to international students and professionals who to come to focus on language training or as a study abroad experience.
"It's inspiring to see how passionate K-Staters are about harnessing their research and teaching skills to advance the service mission of the university and how dedicated they are to sharing their expertise with the international community," said Reppert.
For more than 10 years, The Online Professional English Network program has reached hundreds of thousands of English language learners, teachers and other professionals in more than 150 countries. The program has strengthened English language teaching in classrooms worldwide, helped professionals improve their English and provided English language learners with critical 21st century skills through virtual courses.