"It's Like All of Campus Life Inside a Little Classroom": How an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program Operates within a University Setting
Smithwick, Neal A.
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English for Academic Purposes (EAP) are language programs designed to assist non-native speakers with their academic studies in English. These programs determine entry and exit into various stages of post-secondary education, depending on English language competence. EAP programs developed into a teaching and learning profession connected to the spread of English as a dominant global language. Although EAP did not originate in universities, Canadian universities adopted these programs to attract international students. Over time, EAP has become an integral part of university education in Canada. Given the clear differences in learning objectives, it is uncertain whether or not universities have the ability to incorporate EAP as a profession. The goal of this research is to discover how an EAP program fits within a degree-granting Canadian university institution. A qualitative methodological case study was conducted in the “English for Academic Success” (EFAS) program at Renison University College affiliated with the University of Waterloo. The history of how EAP became a unique teaching occupation is included to help identify the problems associated with the professional status of EAP within the university system. The sociological literature on “professions” helps deepen an understanding of the challenges EAP educators face in being recognized as professionals, especially within a university environment. With an empirical understanding of the status of EAP in the context of university education, this research contributes to educational theories of professions, work, globalization and the knowledge economy.