English as the Language of Instruction Project (ELIP) began in October 2016 as part of the university’s ongoing internationalization strategy. Key elements of the internationalization strategy include increasing the number of master’s courses being taught in English by 2021, attracting more full-time (degree-seeking) international students per year, attracting more semester-long or yearlong international students, raising the number of international faculty, and having more bachelor’s and master’s degree students write their theses in English. Also, staff members in the central administration and auxiliary services can continue to improve their English in order to increase the university’s capability of international communication beyond German.
Shifting a significant portion of the university’s master’s level teaching activities to English requires a marked commitment and effort on the part of all members of the university. To improve the quality of English teaching and learning, ELIP offers workshops for instructors and courses for students that are specifically designed for the needs and requirements of each institute, department, and administrative area. ELIP offers its programs at all levels of existing English-language competence and aims to help with the particular linguistic needs of instructors and students in order to foster confidence, competence, and success in English communication.
ELIP addresses English-learning needs from multiple perspectives: L2 instructor to L2 learner, L1 instructor to L2 learner, L2 instructor to L1 learner, and mixed L1 and L2 student discussions. However, its primary focus is on the largest group of communicators at the university: native German speakers communicating with native speakers of other languages in English. Regarding speaking and sentence writing, its programs focus on identifying and then replacing “English in German disguise” (in which native German speakers use English words in German grammatical structures) with a standardized, widely accepted form global English. Regarding the composition of whole texts, its programs focus on British- and American-style organization of academic essays, using standard five-part essay forms. Workshops and courses may include, among many possibilities: learning the theory and practice of global English standards and sociocultural discourse conventions; reading comprehension of academic English; writing academic essays; practicing techniques for effective discussion leading; the Senior Advisor observing their courses and providing feedback; and identifying standard linguistic conventions that improve student comprehension and retention of lectures.