TITLE: Summary of Carnegie Mellon University Policy on Evaluation and
Certification of English Fluency for Instructors
ACCOUNTABLE DEPARTMENT/UNIT: Office of the Provost.
General questions on policy content should be directed to the Provost's Office,
ext. 8-2135. For specific questions regarding certification, contact the Intercultural Communication Center, ext. 8-4979.
ABSTRACT: The English Fluency in Higher Education Act of 1990
requires all institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania to evaluate and
certify the English language fluency of their instructional faculty.
FORMS: Certification form.
Summary of how the
Carnegie Mellon policy satisfies the Pennsylvania English Fluency in Higher
- All instructional personnel, both native speakers and
non-native speakers of English, who teach undergraduates
must have a certification form on file in the
Provost's Office. Instructional staff includes both faculty and
graduate teaching assistants (TAs) or interns (TIs).
- All native speakers of English, faculty as well
as teaching assistants (TAs) and teaching interns (TIs), who teach undergraduates will be certified by their departments
on the basis of conversations with the dean, department head or specified
designee. Departments cannot assume that someone is a native speaker
without talking with him or her.
- The fluency of non-native speaking faculty members will
be evaluated through two interviews: one with the dean, department head or
specified designee, and the second with a senior faculty member. All
interviewers must be native speakers of English.
- Non-native speaking teaching assistants (TAs) and
teaching interns (TIs) must take the International Teaching Assistant Test
administered by the Intercultural
Communication Center. Only those students who receive a Pass or
Restricted I can be certified to teach undergraduate recitation classes or
labs. Graduate students who do not pass the International Teaching
Assistant Test will be provided with help at the Intercultural Communication Center until
they are able to pass.
(Note: CMU policy requires the International
Teaching Assistant Test for TAs of both graduate as well as
- Pennsylvania law allows the following exemptions from
certification: 1) visiting faculty, 2) faculty and TAs who will teach
courses taught predominantly in a foreign language, and 3) faculty and TAs
who work one-on-one with students.
(Note: CMU policy requires non-native speaking
TAs to take the International Teaching Assistant Test and score at least a Restricted
II before being allowed to work one-on-one with students).
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