Group of students outside Penn State Lehigh Valley

Multilingual and multicultural students will benefit from a new cluster of courses at Penn State Lehigh Valley designed to improve English reading and writing skills.

Image: Nouran El-Ashry

New courses offer support for multilingual and multicultural students

A new cluster of courses offered at Penn State Lehigh Valley is designed to improve English reading and writing skills, while students also gain study skills to be successful in college. The Multilingual Student Course Cluster is primarily a support program for multilingual and multicultural students.

“As Penn State Lehigh Valley grows, the number of international students -- those coming to us immediately from abroad, as well as those with international backgrounds -- will be served well by this cluster of courses,” said Kenneth A. Thigpen, director of academic affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley.  “The combination of courses offered in this model provides interesting, productive and vital support that also counts toward graduation.”

The model for this course came from Penn State Brandywine which has conducted a similar course cluster for 15 years. Christine Brown and Debbie Lamb Ousey, who serve as co-coordinators of the Multilingual Student Course Cluster at Penn State Brandywine, met with Penn State Lehigh Valley’s Global Education and Inclusive Excellence Consultant, Angela Jeon-Huh, to share best practices for the program.

“Over 36 percent of Penn State Lehigh Valley students are multicultural, typically coming from multi-language backgrounds,” said Jeon-Huh. “These students can certainly benefit from these language support and American studies courses. This program will also benefit our first cohort of international students who are coming to campus this fall.”

The program is geared toward, but not limited to, the following students:

  • Students born outside the U.S. and English is not their primary language.
  • Students born in the U.S. and English is not their primary language.
  • Students who score low on the verbal portion of the SAT exam.

Penn State Lehigh Valley students can participate in all or part of the cluster courses, depending on the outcome of the placement.

Course curriculum for the fall semester includes:

  • Placement 1: HDFS 287Y, American Studies 100, English 004, English 100 and Math (depends on placement).
  • Placement 2: HDFS 287Y, American Studies 100, English 100, English 015 or 004, English 005 and Math (depends on placement).
  • Placement 3: HDFS 287Y, American Studies 100, English 015, English 05, English 100 and Math (depends on placement).

The course curriculum for the spring semester includes English 015, English 005, CM Lit 153 and LLED 005. These courses will serve as checkpoints to ensure students are properly progressing.

For more information about the course cluster, contact Angela Jeon-Huh at 610-285-5276 or akj113@psu.edu.