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TEFL International and The University of Washington

 
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Dr. Olswang



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2004 2:12 am    Post subject: TEFL International and The University of Washington Reply with quote

This letter is provided to all those who contact the University of Washington to ask about references to the University of Washington on websites selling TEFL International products.

FROM: Steven G. Olswang, Vice Provost, International Education

SUBJECT: Inquiries re TEFL International

As the University of Washington Vice Provost for International Education, I am responsible for the UW’s international programs. Over the past few years, there has been confusion about the relation between UW and TEFL International. I write to ensure that the public has correct information about the UW, a public institution.

The UW and UW Professor Sandra Silberstein have no opinion, favorable or unfavorable, about TEFL Intl. Promotional materials for TEFL Intl. currently state: "We regularly invite visits from industry professionals including, most recently, Sandra Silberstein of University of Washington." This statement references a visit by Professor Silberstein in July 2002, almost two years ago, to TEFL Intl. operations in Thailand. Based on this statement and others like it, potential TEFL Intl. customers regularly contact the UW or Professor Silberstein assuming support for all TEFL Intl. operations, regardless of location, and asking for an opinion of the company. To avoid this, the UW has asked TEFL Intl. to ensure the removal of all references to Professor Silberstein’s visit from promotional materials for TEFL Intl.

Students can not gain credit at the UW based on completion of a TEFL Intl. course. Promotional materials for TEFL Intl. currently state: "Credits have been arranged for matriculated students of several US universities including University of Washington. If you wish to obtain university credit please Email us and we will work with your university." This statement is presumably based on the fact that in the past, some UW students have gained undergraduate credit at UW based in part on their successful completion of a TEFL Intl. course. This is not possible today. However, based on statements made in promotional materials for TEFL Intl., potential TEFL Intl customers regularly call the UW to ask about credit. The UW has asked TEFL Intl. to ensure the removal of all references to credit at the UW from promotional materials for TEFL Intl.

The UW has never been affiliated with TEFL Intl or accredited TEFL Intl. In November 2001, almost two and one-half years ago, UW Professor Silberstein wrote a letter to assist TEFL Intl. in its effort to obtain accreditation by a third party. This letter reflected Professor Silberstein’s professional opinion at that time. Based on a misunderstanding of the letter, and perhaps a misunderstanding of discussions, promotional materials for TEFL Intl. have mistakenly claimed that it was affiliated with or accredited by the UW. Since September 2002, the UW has told TEFL Intl. that this is not the case, and to ensure the removal of all references to UW affiliation or accreditation from promotional materials for TEFL Intl.

The University of Washington regrets that confusion has occurred over these topics. I hope this clarifies matters.
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BruceV



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:03 am    Post subject: Response to Mr. Olswang Reply with quote

To All Readers:

Mr. Olswang makes some good points. I thank him for clarifying the situation. I do, however, have a few comments.

Dr. Silberstein's letter contained the following text:

“I examined syllabi, extensive and detailed program materials, and other relevant documentation.” “We feel that having students start their ESL teaching careers abroad with the training and supervision provided by TEFL International will make them excellent candidates for future employment and/or graduate study.”

Professor Sandra Silberstein, Ph.D., Director, MATESOL Program, University of Washington.


I believe her statement, written on Universtiy of Washington letterhead, speaks for itself and certainly seems to contradict some of the statement by Mr. Olswang.

Dr. Silberstein only visited us once and while our course is still basically the same in content, we do include the date of November 12, 2001 whever we use her letter. However, TEFL International did go through a great deal of trouble and expense to bring Dr. Silberstein all the way to Thailand so it seems that the University of Washington's request that we do not use the letter Dr. Silberstein wrote a bit unfair.

Over the years, TEFL International has taken a great deal of criticism because we had "falsely" claimed to be affiliated with the University of Washington. Even Mr. Olswang's post here states "The UW has never been affiliated with TEFL Intl".

According to www.dictionary.com affiliation means: "A person, organization, or establishment associated with another as a subordinate, subsidiary, or member". During the time we accepted UW students who took our course for UW credit, it seems quite obvious that we were "affiliated" accoeding to this definition. In fact, Dr. Sliberstein herself refers to "UW's affiliation with TEFL International."

We have never claimed to be accredited through the University of Washington.

I find it unfortunate that, in the end, the University of Washington was more concerned about the opinion of lawyers and their concern with legal liability than in honesty and treating people and other organizations fairly and with respect.

Anyone interested in receiving a scanned copy of Dr. Silberstien's actual letter may Email me directly. I hope this clears this matter up once and for all.
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BruceV



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:50 pm    Post subject: Problem resolved Reply with quote

A few months ago, with the assistance and cooperation of Bill Nicholson of the University of Washington, the disagreement between TEFL International and UW was resolved. We now have jointly agreed to the following quote:

"We feel that having students start their ESL teaching careers abroad with the training and supervision provided by TEFL International will make them excellent candidates for future employment and/or graduate study."

Letter dated November 7, 2001, from Professor Sandra Silberstein (then Director, University of Washington MATESOL Program) who had examined “course syllabi, extensive and detailed course materials, and other relevant documentation” of TEFL International course then offered in Thailand, China, and Morocco. [Note: Professor Silberstein, who sent this letter to TEFL International for it to use for possible accreditation purposes, has no current opinion as to TEFL International operations].

All TEFL International sites will now use this quote and this quote only in reference to the University of Washington.


Thank you to Mr. Nicholson for listening to the whole story, having an open mind, and compromising in a way that was acceptable to both sides.
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