ASU partners with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education, welcomes cohort of Saudi educators

September 12, 2018

Arizona State University has welcomed 52 Saudi Arabian educators to the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College as part of the yearlong Building Leadership for Change Through School Immersion program. Developed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education, the program — which will run through February 2019 — is in direct response to the Saudi Arabian government’s goal of investing in the future of their country by improving and innovating their schools.

To further meet the needs of the program’s participants, ASU’s Global Launch program is offering specially designed intensive English language courses for participants to improve their academic English. Saudi educators pose at ASU's West campus as part of the Building Leadership for Change Through School Immersion program. Photo by Rebecca Grijalva Download Full Image

As part of the program, participants also attend various workshops, facilitate quality problem-based lessons and lead others in developing problem-based learning opportunities, develop teacher leadership skills by exploring topics like communication, collaboration and adult learning, participate in a STEM camp, attend the Teacher Leadership Institute conference in Tucson and participate in a mentorship program with Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College professors. According to Ruhi Khan, the program’s director for Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, “We at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College pride ourselves in supporting the scholars to meet the objectives of the project but also to support their social and emotional well-being. Many of the scholars have brought their families with them, and they are experiencing new ways of life in school, shopping, transportation, housing etc. — we try to support them as they face these challenges and miss the comforts of home.”

Through a combination of rigorous English language skills training and professional development coursework, ASU Global Launch is providing additional support to enhance the immersion program. The specialized course for English language instruction includes key vocabulary and pedagogical concepts to support participants for classroom immersion and English as a Second Language communication in academic settings. According to Dianna Lippincott, Global Launch’s strategic innovation manager, participants “are focusing on academic English, from writing structured essays to reading academic research to discussing current issues in education. We at Global Launch find it critical to support ASU’s international initiatives because English proficiency continues to prove foundational for success in international programs”.

Following the coursework this summer, all participants will be embedded in top Phoenix-area schools within the Washington Elementary, Phoenix Elementary and Cave Creek Unified school districts during the fall semester. Through ASU’s wide range of school and community partnerships, participants will learn firsthand how the American educational system works and will develop individual professional learning plans that will support their role in leading change in Saudi Arabia.

“This program is an excellent example of how ASU collaborates across units to bring meaningful educational experiences to educators both locally and globally,” said Ann Nielsen, associate director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Global Education. “The program aligns to our strategic initiatives of internationalizing curriculum by promoting global and intercultural learning on campus and in our local community, and developing and implementing international initiatives through partnerships and educational innovations.” 

For more information about the Building Leadership for Change Through School Immersion program, please contact the program’s director, Ruhi Khan, at For more information about the Global Launch intensive English program or international partnerships, please contact Dianna Lippincott at

Samantha Talavera

Asst. Director, Global Marketing and Communications, Global Academic Initiatives

ASU launches digital English courses, provides ESL training to Mexican educators and Syrian refugees

Through innovative digital platforms, ASU Global Launch becomes a university leader in online English language learning

February 9, 2018

In November, ASU launched digital English courses, becoming the only university to offer a comprehensive English language learning product ranging from basic to advanced English proficiency, as well as providing the only English-language product on the market that prepares students for university study and success in academia. 

Developed by ASU Global Launch, the online courses allow students to utilize digital technologies to enhance learning, engage all skill levels, learn from experienced ASU ESL instructors and researchers, and access hundreds of online resources. Additionally, students can watch videos, have discussions with educators and peers, and collaborate on assignments at any time from anywhere in the world. Dr. Shane Dixon with course facilitators at the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Senior educator Shane Dixon (second from left) with course facilitators at the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Photo courtesy of Shane Dixon Download Full Image

Through these courses, ASU Global Launch, in partnership with Tec de Monterrey, has helped more than 850 teachers throughout Mexico improve their English proficiency and interact with colleagues in English on a national scale.

“I’d definitely recommend this resource to other teachers since they are tech-friendly and extremely guided. [It’s] almost as if you have a teacher with you at all times, within reach,” said learner Marisol Garcia.

In further efforts to expand the digital courses outside of Latin America, Global Launch ran an English language program for Syrian refugees. Senior educator Shane Dixon trained facilitators to lead discussion groups and English activities, then traveled to Jordan to both Al Azraq and Za’atari refugee camps to meet learners and understand the impact of the courses. Upon return there was one clear takeaway: Syrian refugees wanted English.

English, for many of the refugees, is access. Access to information, access to education and even access to other countries,” Dixon said. “If their English is good enough, the thinking goes, they will be better able to get jobs in Europe or other host countries that might accept them. English is a ticket.”

“English, for many of the refugees, is access. Access to information, access to education and even access to other countries.”
— Shane Dixon, ASU Global Launch

ASU and Global Launch hope to expand their global outreach through the digital English courses to create a broad community of world leaders and revolutionize the way that students around the world learn new languages.

ASU digital English courses are self-paced, accessible online from anywhere in the world and open for enrollment. Group discounts are available for institutions looking to facilitate courses in their home countries. You can learn more about the courses by clicking here or by contacting Dianna Lippincott at

Samantha Talavera

Asst. Director, Global Marketing and Communications, Global Academic Initiatives