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English Language Institute Mission

The mission of the English Language Institute (ELI) is to foster the learning of the English language and the culture of the United States of America (US) through its Intensive English Program and other various programs.

We are dedicated to offering superior instruction, the best possible occasions for practice in and out of the classroom, and an ideal learning environment. We also support University of Florida (UF) internationalization efforts by working cooperatively with the UF International Center, colleges and departments throughout the university, and with the local community.

These goals are accomplished by faculty and staff engaged in professional learning and committed to the success of all learners by being actively involved in meeting their needs. We remain focused on the continuous improvement of our institute to better serve this mission.

Intensive English Program Mission

The primary mission of the Intensive English Program (IEP) is to prepare international students for successful study at the graduate or undergraduate level in institutions of higher learning in the US. This is accomplished through a skills-based curriculum. The IEP improves student English proficiency through the development of their listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar skills. In addition, the IEP prepares students for the academic culture of the US and supports greater cultural understanding through its Cultural Immersion Program (CIP) and established student services.

The IEP also provides the same language instruction and cultural programming to individuals already practicing within their professions and any others who wish to improve their level of English proficiency and cultural awareness.

Cultural Immersion Program Mission

The mission of the Cultural Immersion Program is to facilitate cross-cultural experiences, connections, and relationships for our students through extracurricular activities, practice-oriented English classes, and the Conversation Partner Program and to provide ample opportunity to practice English outside the classroom in an enjoyable and low-stress environment.

We are committed to providing our students with interactive experiences that immerse them in US culture through trips and events and build their confidence in navigating daily life in English through the structured yet informal Language Assistant (LA) class.

The CIP aims to foster intercultural friendships within both the ELI student body and the wider UF community through connections built with LAs and conversation partner volunteers at our events and in our programs.

The CIP is also committed to supporting the intercultural competency of UF students hired as Language Assistants through training, mentorship, and professional development. We strive to provide a supportive workplace centered on empowerment, growth, collaboration, and respect.

Special Programs Mission

The mission of our Special Programs is to offer flexible English language programs that meet the specific needs of each group we serve. We work with UF departments, as well as colleges and universities, companies, and other international partners. In addition to specialized instruction and individualized attention, we provide comprehensive student support and coordinate cultural experiences customized to the desired outcomes of each group.

ELI Scope and Structure

The ELI is housed in the Department of Linguistics within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The director of the ELI reports to the Chair of Linguistics. In addition, financial oversight is provided by the UF Academic Finance Office.

The English Language Institute (ELI) encompasses:

  1. Two broad services, the Intensive English Program and Special Programs;
  2. A role in providing opportunities for students pursuing graduate
    and undergraduate degrees in TESL and second language acquisition and teaching;
  3. A role in providing coursework for students with ELI Conditional
    Admission under the guidance of the UF Graduate School;
  4. A role in providing classes for international graduate students through
    administration of the programs in Academic Spoken English and Academic Written English.

The two services of the ELI are the Intensive English Program, for which it’s best known, and Special Programs. Through the Intensive English Program, the ELI offers instruction to potential applicants to the University and others interested in acquiring command of academic English. Through Special Programs, the ELI creates specialized short-term programs based upon the needs of specific groups of participants. In both programs, the ELI functions independently of most services provided by the UF International Center.

For each and every one of the six sessions offered each year in its IEP and for the contracted programs in its SP, the staff carries out student recruitment, records assessment, and admissions, provides a week-long orientation to the community (institute, university, Gainesville, and US culture), assesses and places students into 6 levels in each of the skills taught, assists in housing selection and rental leasing, instructs and assesses students, keeps program-wide student records, provides directed daily and weekend extracurricular activities, designs and prepares its awards, publishes a weekly newsletter, maintains its own web site, provides and administers two scholarships, and plans and carries out commencement ceremonies for ELI students.

The English Language Institute also has a teacher-training mission in conjunction with Linguistics, where a graduate certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) and an undergraduate certificate in TESL are offered. The ELI provides teaching assistantships for graduate students in Linguistics. In addition, the ELI provides employment, experience and intensive training for the 30-50 UF undergraduates employed as Language Assistants in the program each semester. Finally, the ELI serves as a site for ESL class observations by Linguistics and Education undergraduate and graduate students, and as site for research by faculty of the same.

The English Language Institute also has a service breadth that reaches out to all colleges of the University, in conjunction with the Graduate School, in that it prepares graduate students for admission and provides English language support to fully matriculated international graduate students.

The English Language Institute is a unit of the University, appropriately budgeted in DOCE, but also with very strong ties within CLAS and a service breadth that reaches out to all colleges of the University in that it prepares graduate students for admission.

Finally, the English Language Institute is an active participant in the internationalization of the University, working cooperatively with the University of Florida International Center and colleges and departments throughout the University community whenever asked to do so.


The vision of the ELI is to

  • Welcome its responsibility for always placing quality as its most important goal in all activities
  • Foster a climate of trust, peace and international understanding that enhances the learning experience for all participants
  • Cherish and constantly renew team spirit and supportive attitude among all members of the ELI family.