On July 2, 2018, the English Language Center welcomed Marcel Bolintiam as the new Director of the Center at Georgetown University. In this role, Marcel provides administrative and academic leadership to the Center and oversees global international recruitment for the School of Continuing Studies. Prior to his appointment at Georgetown, Marcel was Director of the ESL Academy at the University of Colorado Denver. His focus had been on student success and retention which resulted in a pipeline of new international students at CU Denver matriculating into degree programs. Marcel’s program administration experience spans private and secondary schools, and university-based IEPs in New York, Los Angeles, and Denver. He is currently serving a three-year term on the Executive Board of Directors for EnglishUSA as Vice President for Advocacy.
Marcel grew up in Sicily and Spain, and attended high school in the United Kingdom. After graduating from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, he attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Master of City Planning. He spent eight years at Fannie Mae and Fleishman-Hillard International before transitioning to the field of international education 16 years ago. A graduate of the New York City Teaching Fellows, Marcel went on to receive a Master of Science in Education (TESOL) at the City College of New York. Marcel is an avid tennis player, amateur chef, and coffee enthusiast. He enjoys adventure travel, hiking, camping, and kayaking, and spending time with his Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Ruskin.
In the following interview with ELC faculty, Stephanie Gallop, Marcel answers questions about his time in DC, his experience, and his vision for the future of the English Language Center.
What interested you to come to Georgetown?
Georgetown is located in a dynamic global city, Washington, DC, which offers a great deal for students – culturally, historically, socially, economically, and politically. Being in such an engaging place, the experience at Georgetown offers rich opportunities unlike any other in the United States. The programs in the English Language Center also have an incredible history and reputation, and have long been a part of the great tradition of Georgetown’s global engagement. In doing some research before coming to Georgetown, I learned that the university and its faculty and staff are less interested in besting peers and are more invested in making Georgetown the best university that it can be, particularly by following Jesuit values core to the university’s spirit. This ideology spoke to me as the cultural underpinning of an institution that succeeds by constantly looking inwards and finding ways to innovate.
What do you like most about living in DC? What do you recommend students take advantage of when they come to this city?
Washington, D.C. is a city of neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own identity and energy and I would recommend that students seek out different locations in the city and to experience the vibe and culture that make them unique. This is what I also like most about living in DC.
What are you most proud of in your career as a director of English language programs?
As a former instructor myself, my role has always been to help students realize their dream of pursuing a university degree in the United States by preparing them to succeed academically in the classroom. Coming from nearly six years directing the intensive English program at CU Denver, my primary focus was on improving student success and retention in our program thereby providing a solid pipeline of new international students into the university. I was able to accomplish this in three specific ways: (1) strengthened academic intervention for struggling students by increasing faculty office hours and tutoring programs open to all students; (2) increased transparency through greater clarity around academic and other student policies, and by refining the curriculum and promotion practices so students could understand and recognize the impact of their personal time and investment on their academic progress at any point during their study, and (3) executed concierge advising with international admissions, international student and scholar services, and the ESL program to provide a seamless pathway from English language study to degree program matriculation.
What are you excited about accomplishing as the new director of the English Language Center?
It’s exciting to start reimagining what international education and language training can look like in the future. Technology, for example, has made language education easier and more accessible to more people in remote areas of the world. The traditional immersion classroom does not meet the needs of all students today, and we are starting to see an increase in professionals and business leaders seeking specialized training to supplement language education. As such, these emerging trends require us to be more innovative in our approach to language education and the programs we offer.
*In the Jesuit tradition, Georgetown ELC strives to embody the values of Academic Excellence, “Cura Personalis” [or Care of the Whole Person], Faith and Justice, Interreligious Understanding, and Community in Diversity through our faculty, staff, and programs. We welcome Marcel and his vision for the ELC!