“Did you study abroad?” asks Cheryl Delk-Le Good. “Do you remember that connection to place and how you fell in love with it? It doesn’t have to be a sunset on a beautiful coast. It could also be that rural small town feel one has in their host community. It could be in a university or a private program.”
Delk-Le Good has been the executive director of EnglishUSA since 2015. She is a passionate supporter of intensive English programs and in promoting the US as the premiere destination for English language study.
A former ESL lecturer and director of university intensive English programs, Delk-Le Good also served in multiple leadership positions before her current role, not only within EnglishUSA, but also with NAFSA, UCIEP, and ELPA.
English USA maintains a membership of over 200 accredited English language programs in 41 states and Washington DC, making it the largest membership organisation in America that specialises in supporting these types of programs and their staff.
A central mission of the organisation is “to increase the visibility of English language study in America and to promote the US, specifically, as a destination for English language study”, Delk-Le Good tells The PIE.
“I so enjoy sharing best practises and going to conferences and finding out what other institutions are doing”
“There’s lots of diversity and variety, not just in geographic location, but also in programming,” she asserts. The majority of EnglishUSA programs (80%), are either situated or governed by universities, colleges, and community colleges.
“We offer support and represent those programs,” says Delk-Le Good. EnglishUSA provides professional development, engages in advocacy efforts, and promotes the US as a study destination at national and international conferences and events.
“I so enjoy sharing best practises and going to conferences and finding out what other institutions are doing,” she says. In addition to being a regular presenter on the conference circuit, Delk-Le Good is also involved in numerous professional associations and has served on multiple association boards that advocate for English language study and pathway programs.
One of her greatest professional joys is connecting stakeholders across the sector. She is renowned for being a convener and a connector. “I so enjoy bringing people together. I often connect people to present together. The ultimate is bringing folks together for a conference.”
Whenever Delk-Le Good presents, she aims to highlight the idea that English language programs are an integral part of the international education path. “This is the touchpoint for so many students to come to the US and study English, regardless of whether they may be pursuing a degree. But often, they do end up pursuing a career.”
“During the pandemic, everybody shifted roles and hats. And the Great Resignation hit this field as well”
Delk-Le Good is readying for her next opportunity to bring people together, which is the annual Stakeholders Conference scheduled for September 30 online and October 13-14 in person. The theme of this year’s conference is “Collaborating Near and Far,” which she says is reflected in the content of the sessions as well as the “ongoing resiliency, resourcefulness, and creativity across the industry.
Delk-Le Good spoke about how the pandemic impacted programming. While the academies went virtual during the pandemic, she says, “There’s no doubt that the language cultural immersion experience is here to stay. The students want to come, and they’ll be back for in-person academies.”
She adds, “During the pandemic, everybody shifted roles and hats. And the Great Resignation hit this field as well. A lot of folks went into edtech. It was a time when it was a challenge as an association to meet the needs of all, particularly because policies could differ by state.”
Two main goals for the sector in the coming year, according to Delk-Le Good, are building back capacity by increasing staff and promoting US study opportunities.
“Coming to the US to study English is a bonafide reason to get a visa,” she declares.