History

Brief History of the ESL Department

1980: ESL officially begins as a two-level program in the English Department and operates out of one office in Emeritus Hall. Seventy-five Southeast Asian refugee students enroll in three-day classes and one evening class, all taught by two faculty members.

1986: ESL begins a Vocational ESL Program (VESL) with class offerings in nursing and electronics.

1990: The ESL Program expands and occupies the ESL House on Elliott Avenue. Student enrollment totals 1,234 with 663 credit students in 35 sections and 571 off-campus, non-credit students. There are 29 faculty members and one counselor assigned to ESL.

1998: ESL (now comprised of 56 faculty forming the ESL Department along with counselors and classified staff assigned to ESL) moves into one location on the Santa Rosa Campus in Barnett Hall. ESL has also expanded to the Petaluma Center (later renamed the Petaluma Campus) and 12 off-campus locations throughout Sonoma County with 25 course offerings. Enrollment reaches 2,412 students, with 1,350 in credit and 1,062 in non-credit, representing approximately 35 countries.