Khalid Ibrahim, President of ON Language, explains an assignment to a group of education majors from Brenau's 2+2 program with Anhui Normal University during an ON Language class at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Khalid Ibrahim, President of ON Language, explains an assignment to a group of education majors from Brenau's 2+2 program with Anhui Normal University during an ON Language class at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau partner ON Language achieves accreditation milestone

Oct. 8, 2018
Kristen Bowman
Yin "Hedy" Haiyan, a 2+2 education major, works on an assignment with classmates during an ON Language class at Brenau. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Yin “Hedy” Haiyan, a 2+2 education major, works on an assignment with classmates during an ON Language class at Brenau. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau University’s partner language school ON Language, which offers English instruction on the university’s campus in Gainesville, Georgia, reached a crucial accreditation milestone this fall.

The private, postsecondary English language institution based in South Carolina earned the maximum possible five-year initial accreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S.

“This is a big step for us, said Khalid Ibrahim, president of ON Language and center director for the ON Language site in Gainesville. “For most language schools, this is the most critical point in their development. It takes most schools longer, but we did an accelerated process because we had experience at other language schools.”

Ibrahim and his business partner and friend Lenore Morales, ON Language CEO, founded their educational company in South Carolina in 2015 with a commitment to quality English language instruction in a global leadership-oriented environment. All ON Language courses and programs include special emphasis on intercultural competence and leadership skills development.

“Our core program is the IEP, the intensive English program,” Ibrahim said. “The purpose of that program is to provide English language instruction for international students coming to Brenau to do their undergraduate or graduate work.”

In addition to the IEP, ON Language offers other custom-based classes for people who aspire to raise their language proficiency for professional or social purposes.

“Right now, we have a class with three people from the local community who just want to raise their level of English proficiency,” Ibrahim said. “In the past, we had two employees from ZF, a German company. These were professionals who wanted to improve their language proficiency to allow them to do a better job of communicating with their colleagues at work.”

Brenau and ON Language partnered in 2016, shortly before the university brought its first cohort of students from Anhui Normal University in Wuhu, China, as part of a 2+2 program with the institution. The 2+2 program, which graduated that first cohort of early childhood teacher education majors in May 2018, allows students from ANU to complete the first two years of their degree program at their home institution and the second two years at Brenau. The students graduate with degrees from both universities. Today, Brenau has multiple 2+2 agreements in several degree programs.

Khalid Ibrahim, President of ON Language, explains an assignment to Xu "Lexy" Ying, left, and Zhou "Sylvia" Yu, education majors from Brenau's 2+2 program with Anhui Normal University, during an ON Language class at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Khalid Ibrahim, President of ON Language, explains an assignment to Xu “Lexy” Ying, left, and Zhou “Sylvia” Yu, education majors from Brenau’s 2+2 program with Anhui Normal University, during an ON Language class at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

“When we started the company, part of our planning strategy was doing research about potential locations university-wise that would be a good place for us to start a partnership,” Ibrahim said. “We selected a few universities, narrowing down based on certain criteria, and then reached out to them. Brenau was quick to respond. It happened that, at that time, Brenau was preparing to receive its first 2+2 students and the only missing component was an ESL school. So the timing was perfect for both of us.”

When international students from any part of the world reach Brenau, they sit for a two-hour placement test with ON Language, assessing their English-language listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary. Based on that assessment, Ibrahim is able to determine which of the IEP’s five levels the students place in, as well as how well they would do if they took one of the popular standardized tests for international students.

Morales said having CEA accreditation will allow the company to increase its global reach with this innovative, leadership-based English language instruction. The accreditation milestone will allow the company to begin to directly recruit these students to the United States.

“This is an important milestone because now we can apply for and be eligible for sponsoring international student visas,” Ibrahim said. “So we can begin recruiting more international students from different countries, which will mean growing the business and begin to branch out to other Brenau campuses and other universities, too. It’s very exciting, and it’s been a very enjoyable journey so far.”

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