University Housing is proud to announce a new partnership between the department and UGA’s Intensive English Program (IEP). Together, they have launched a six-month long “ESL for Professional Staff Development” course designed to support Spanish-language speakers among staff. This course aims to enhance English proficiency, boost professional communication skills, provide essential cultural competencies, and nurture critical writing skills, all with the goal of advancing staff careers at UGA.
Currently, 20 staff members from housing’s Facilites unit are participating in the program. “Providing our staff with a dedicated ESL program is not just an investment in language skills;” says housing Building Services Superintendent James Anderson, “it’s an investment in their professional growth and the success of our organization.”
Traditionally, the IEP serves international students, visiting scholars and their family members but University Housing’s Residential Building Services Training Manager Neyael Rubio-Delgado sought out a partnership based on a suggestion from housing staff members.
Along with Sebastian Burkholdt, UGA’s Intensive English Program Assistant Director, she developed a curriculum and syllabus for the program focused on improving English language proficiency for the workplace. “We strongly believe in the power of fostering professional growth and development among our staff,” Rubio-Delgado says. “It strengthens relationships, improves workplace communication, increases productivity and fosters a sense of belonging.”
Burkholdt agrees the program has the potential for far-reaching impact on the UGA community. “The collaboration with Housing Facilities allows us to help UGA staff members who wish to communicate more effectively in English in their daily lives and their careers.”
This partnership between University Housing and IEP exemplifies the commitment of the University of Georgia to fostering the professional growth and development of all its staff members. “Our business is one of people, our staff. Watching staff grow to become the best versions of themselves is always very satisfying,” Deason says.
“”You can’t force learning,” Rubio-Delgado adds, “but you can create the conditions in which people are inspired and empowered to learn.”