|Pamela Smart-Smith, left, and Elsie Paredes, right|
Two members of the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute administrative staff have been named to new roles, part of a reorganization announced by Director Donald Back.
Elsie Paredes will direct the Advantage VT program, which is set to begin in fall 2018. Pamela Smart-Smith, the assistant director of academics, will succeed Paredes in an interim role as director of the Intensive English Program.
“Through their leadership, Elsie and Pamela have made the Intensive English Program one of the strongest programs of its kind in the country,” Back said. “Over the past decade, the institute has helped hundreds of students to matriculate into the university’s undergraduate program.”
Advantage VT will allow high-achieving international students to take credit-bearing classes at Virginia Tech while improving their English language and university study skills. Students who successfully complete the program will be guaranteed entry to the university with advanced standing in their freshman year.
“Advantage VT will position Virginia Tech to attract talented and highly motivated international students in an increasingly competitive recruiting environment,” Back said. “Building and diversifying our intellectual capacity is key to bolstering our position as a leading global university. Exposure to different cultures and ways of thinking is critically important to our graduates, who may work in diverse workplaces or multinational firms or serve in national security or military roles.”
Paredes has led the Intensive English Program and served as associate director of the institute since coming to Virginia Tech in 2011. Before that, she taught TESOL courses for undergraduate students at Florida International University and English as a Second Language at both Florida Atlantic University and Miami Dade College. She received her doctorate in adult education and human resource development and her master’s in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Florida International University.
“I take this new and important challenge with a great deal of enthusiasm and confidence,” Paredes said. “The years of experience and expertise with our Intensive English Program will be translated in the success of Advantage VT.”
Smart-Smith has been assistant director of academics in the Intensive English Program since 2014 and has otherwise been involved with the institute since 2012. She has more than 25 years of experience in the U.S. and abroad in the field of English as a Second Language. She has a master’s in public administration from Old Dominion University and a master’s in education from Virginia Tech in curriculum and instruction with a focus on English as a Second Language and multicultural education. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Virginia Tech in the same field.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work in this new role,” Smart-Smith said. “I am thankful each day to work with our fabulous team of faculty, staff, and administrators. I plan to continue to honor our commitment to delivering excellent student-centered pedagogy that helps our students attain their goals.”