Open Forum for Bridge Program – Feb. 11th

BridgesForumUM-Flint is home to a growing population of international students, and a new bridge program will help ensure their path to success while at the university and later in their careers.

Dr. Emily Feuerherm of the English Department is working with the Thomson Center for Learning & Teaching to present “Building Bridges & Scaffolding Success,” an open forum on February 11th, from 1:30-3pm, in the UCEN Happenings Room. Participants will be able to explore feedback from two campus surveys and give feedback on the bridge program’s development.

Following is information provided by Dr. Feuerherm:

According to a recent survey of UM-Flint faculty and staff, international students need extra support services to be successful, particularly with their writing and speaking skills in their first year. Similarly, in another recent survey of UM-Flint international students, writing and speaking skills were identified as the skills students wanted extra help with.

So, how do we move forward to scaffold the success of UM-Flint’s international students? With a new program–the Bridge Program–which is going to offer international undergraduate students support through a series of credit-bearing English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. These courses will focus especially on writing and speaking skills, with some reading, listening and culture lessons integrated throughout. Pilot courses will begin in Summer 2015. However, these courses will only address the needs of international undergraduate students.

Faculty, staff, and students recognize that there is also a need for graduate level courses and workshops, according to the surveys. However, whether these courses would be required or optional is unclear from the results. A more thorough investigation of the multiple pressures on grad programs and students is necessary.

In order to foster a university-wide conversation about the services that are provided to international students, an open forum with panelists from across the university will be held on February 11th, 1:30-3:00pm, in the Happenings Room. Panelists will discuss the results from the surveys, and audience members will be able to ask questions, comment, or leave written questions and concerns with the Bridge Program developer, Emily Feuerherm. The forum is open to all students, faculty, and staff, and is your opportunity to impact the development of international student resources and programs. Free pizza will be provided.

For more information on the forum, call the English Department at 810.762.3285 or email