Capilano University to Offer ESL for Academic Credit: Capilano's English for Academic Purposes Department is one of only a few in North America to do so

March 12, 2013

The Capilano University Faculty Senate has approved academic credit for two courses offered by the English for Academic Purposes Department (EAP). The Department was formerly called the ESL Department. Starting in the Fall semester of 2013, students taking the top-level EAP 100 and EAP 101 courses will receive up to six general elective credits which may be applied to academic programs at Capilano University. 

The EAP Department at Capilano helps those students whose native language is not English to upgrade their academic English skills so that they are prepared for university-level work. 

Historically, these types of ESL courses have not been credit-bearing courses. While ESL students at Capilano receive credit for ESL courses they take, that credit has not counted toward the completion of a degree program. With the recent vote, this has changed. Depending on the student’s major, the top-level EAP 100 and 101 courses can now be used as general elective credit. Academic departments at Capilano can decide whether to award zero, three, or six credits to students in EAP 100 and 101. The credits can be counted toward the completion of a degree program. 

Capilano’s EAP Department is one of just a few programs in North America which have made the change to academic credit-bearing courses. According to Maggie Reagh, EAP Department Coordinator, ESL-type courses have usually been viewed as “preparatory.” 

“Overall, historically, the feeling has been that ESL doesn’t have the academic rigor that other programs at the University have. However, the type of work which our top-level students are doing is at least equal to a university 100-level course. When you consider that our students are doing that work in a second language, you realize that they should be getting some recognition for it,” Reagh explained. 

“This keeps us ahead of the curve in a very competitive marketplace, and if we can do that while helping students, it’s a win-win situation,” Reagh said.

Submitted by: Corey Muench