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The English Language Institute is delighted to introduce new full-time faculty member Dr. Carmela Romano Gillette. Dr. Gillette joined the ELI faculty as a Lecturer III in September 2016, after teaching in the ELI’s summer program for prospective U-M graduate student instructors (GSIs) since 2011. She brings to the ELI nearly 25 years of English teaching experience and an expertise in teacher preparation and academic reading and writing.
Dr. Gillette comes to the ELI from Michigan State University’s English Language Center, where she taught numerous English for Academic Purposes and ESL courses for international students as well as ESL/EFL teacher preparation courses. In addition to university settings, Dr. Gillette has taught in adult education contexts, corporate settings, and community colleges. She has long been an active member of the TESOL community, serving on the MITESOL board for seven years, volunteering as a tutor for literacy councils, and participating in the Literacy Research Association’s adult literacy initiatives.
At the ELI, Dr. Gillette enjoys training prospective GSIs and ESL teachers, especially when it comes to discussing pedagogy and best practices in teaching with her students. “It gives me an opportunity to look at language issues and issues of acculturation,” she says. “I’m interested in issues of identity, hybrid identity, privileged versions of language. That all really comes into play when you start talking about setting up instruction for language teaching.”
Dr. Gillette received a PhD from Oakland University in Reading and Literacy Education, with a focus on academic literacy and the access students have to it. She was especially interested in the experiences of undergraduate students as they transition from preparatory English language programs into their degree programs and determining what could be done to foster a smoother transition.
In the future, Dr. Gillette hopes to replicate her dissertation study with U-M international graduate students in order to better understand their experiences integrating into their academic communities on campus. She says, “It would be interesting to get students after their first year here on campus to find out what they have to say about that experience, and what it looked like for them--what their expectations were, and whether or not those expectations were met.” She believes that gathering and reflecting on this information could help the ELI in its mission to provide academic, language and intercultural support for members of the Michigan community and to foster a more inclusive campus climate.
Welcome to the ELI, Carmela!