Briercrest TESOL program crosses important hurdle

Julie Cole | Nov 5, 2012
David Catterick, Briercrest's assistant professor of applied linguistics, speaks with TESOL students in his class. Photo by Rob Schellenberg David Catterick, Briercrest's assistant professor of applied linguistics, speaks with TESOL students in his class. Photo by Rob SchellenbergDavid Catterick, Briercrest's assistant professor of applied linguistics, speaks with TESOL students in his class. Photo by Rob Schellenberg

Briercrest’s TESOL program has crossed an important hurdle.

The program’s four-year degree was re-accredited by TESL Canada and the new two-year after degree was accredited for the first time. Both programs are accredited until July of 2017. David Catterick, assistant professor of applied linguistics at Briercrest, explains the importance of this accomplishment.

“In employability terms, this is huge,” he said. “It’s now virtually impossible across Canada to get a job without having graduated from a program recognized by TESL Canada. But beyond the borders of Canada – which is mostly where our students are looking – this is effectively a rubber stamp of quality.”

Both programs were accredited at professional standard two – the highest level of accreditation for undergraduate degrees.

“The difference between standard one and standard two has to do with the extensiveness of the program,” Catterick said. “Standard one is for programs with a minimum of 100 hours of instruction. Standard two represents 250 hours of instruction. Briercrest’s four-year program itself is over 400 hours of instruction so we train our students more extensively than even TESL Canada’s highest requirements. In fact, we have one of the most extensive programs in North America, let alone Canada.”

This accomplishment once again confirms Briercrest’s place as one of just two Christian schools in Canada that have the highest level of accreditation for their undergraduate TESOL program.

Achieving this task required lots of paperwork. Over 1200 pages of documentation were finally handed into the TESL Canada adjudicating committee.

“I’ve got binders galore sitting in my office,” Catterick exclaimed. “It took a full month to put all the required information together.”

Catterick is especially excited about the TESOL after degree also receiving the professional standard two accreditation. The new after degree, which replaces the old Associate of Arts degree, allows BA graduates who are from other accredited institutions to receive their Bachelor of Arts qualifications within just two years.

“So a student coming for two years for the after degree gets the same TESL Canada qualification as the student studying in the four year program,” he explained.

“This is a vital level of accreditation,” Brian Gobbett, Briercrest associate dean said. “We are grateful for TESL Canada’s affirmation of the strength of our program. Special thanks to David Catterick and his team who led this process.”