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English as a Second Language (ESL) Tutorial Program

Mission Statement

At Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, we believe that language acquisition should not present an insurmountable obstacle to entry into the vocations, as echoed in our mission statement:

“Gradual mastery of English language skills enables seminarians to perform at a level high enough to facilitate the learning process in each individual class in which they are enrolled, with the goal of academic success clearly in focus. Improvement in students' ability to comprehend, to speak and to write English contributes to the academic quality of the Seminary, which thereby strengthens the intellectual climate of the University as a whole.”

About the ESL Tutorial Program

Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology instituted an English as a Second Language (ESL) Tutorial Program in 2008, currently headed by Chandler S. Cohen, Program Coordinator of ESL Services, effective July 2014.  

  • Her primary responsibility is to assist seminarians in upgrading their language skills to benefit them academically, as well as pastorally, in eventual ministry to the Catholic Church.  What began as an English-only program has now grown to include Spanish instruction for those wishing to improve their language skills for ministry. 
  • Two-thirds of the Immaculate Conception Seminary resident seminarians, as well as a significant number of commuting seminary students, have participated in the tutorial program whose success is credited to the dedication of its all-volunteer staff who administer one-to-one language training to students. 

The program supports seminarians and students throughout their time in ICSST, helping them to build the confidence necessary to succeed not only as students, but as pastoral leaders in their future communities.

In addition to tutoring, the program collaborates with other areas of ICSST and the larger University to support students in their academic and pastoral growth.

Meet Our Tutors

Hear From Priest Alumni

Speech Language Pathology

Seminarians who have been identified through screening and full evaluation to need targeted assistance in articulation, speech and accent modification are being served with an annual intervention program every spring. This specialized program, offered by the Speech-Language Pathology department in collaboration with the seminary’s ESL coordinator, provides a licensed speech pathologist supervising a team of graduate student assistants who deliver weekly two-hour long sessions to these select seminarians throughout the semester.

Campus Resources and Collaborations

In addition to the tutorial programs in English and Spanish, seminary students also benefit from other campus programs including: 

  • University ESL classes, directed by Bryan Meadows, Ph.D., that increase international students’ exposure to English and augments their private tutorials.
  • The Writing Center, which assists students with organizing and editing papers, at any stage of the writing process, and guides them with citations.
  • The Global Learning Center, which provides interactive online programs for skills practice.

Please visit our "Resources" page for further information » 

Permanent Diaconate Program Interface

In collaboration with the Permanent Diaconate program, the ESL tutorial program has also supported students who are non-native speakers of English studying in the Permanent Diaconate program at ICSST. This support is on an as-needed basis. For more information, visit the please visit the Center for Diaconal Formation website.