Maite Correa moved across the Atlantic to better learn how to teach English and successfully navigated the transition to a new country and culture. So, her recent move across campus from the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures to INTO CSU is a challenge she’s happy to face.
Correa, associate professor of applied linguistics and Spanish linguistics, is the new academic director for INTO CSU. She had spent the previous 10 years living her passion, teaching in English and Spanish at CSU.
“I grew up knowing I wanted to be an English teacher,” Correa said. “I will be overseeing the academic portion for INTO CSU – everything that is related to classes, curriculum, instructors, accreditation, program assessment and program evaluation. I’m excited to make sure our students are prepared for CSU.”
Finding a new home
Correa came to the U.S. from the Basque region of Spain and earned master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Arizona. She decided to stay and follow her passion in America.
“I came because I wanted to be a better English teacher, but I ended up being primarily a Spanish teacher,” said Correa, who speaks five languages.
Relating to international students
She has been on faculty at CSU for 10 years, and has worked part-time for INTO CSU for the past 2½ years. She also served on a Semester at Sea Voyage. She wants to help CSU’s international students succeed because, having been in their shoes, she understands the challenges they face.
“When I went to the University of Arizona I was on academic probation – I didn’t even know what that was,” she said. “All I know is that they gave me a chance and, having earned a master’s and a Ph.D., here I am. I am an example of what international students can do if you give them a chance and provide them with a little support. That’s what we’re here to do at INTO CSU.”
Preparing students for academic challenges
All CSU international students can speak English when they arrive on campus. INTO CSU’s job is to teach them academic English targeted at their majors. For example, an engineering student’s English lessons would focus on terms used in the engineering curriculum.
Most INTO CSU students are in the program for a year or less before becoming full-time CSU students.
“We give them the tools they need to succeed,” she said.
Providing opportunities on a global scale
INTO CSU is housed in Spruce and Alder halls on the northeast corner of campus. INTO CSU is the result of the partnership between CSU and INTO University Partnerships (IUP), and it welcomed its first cohort of international students in 2012. Currently, there are 267 international students in the program from 53 countries.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Correa to the role of Academic Director—a role to which she brings invaluable personal and professional experience,” said Dr. Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala, executive director of INTO CSU and associate professor in the Department of English at CSU. “As a multilingual/multicultural individual, Dr. Correa is well-positioned to understand international students who speak languages other than English and who come to us to pursue academic work. As an applied linguist, she brings much expertise and is in an excellent position to help us ensure our English learners are properly prepared for success at CSU and beyond.”