Center for English Language Acquisition and Culture (CELAC)

New Jersey
Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Bilingual /ESL,
First Year Support


The mission of the Center for English language Acquisition and Culture (CELAC) flows from the University's mission to "educate a diverse community of learners to excel intellectually, serve compassionately, lead ethically, and promote justice." The program aims to increase students' retention and academic performance of Hispanic and other low-income or minority undergraduate students. CELAC helps give students the confidence they need to reverse any stigmas the students might have about being bilingual. Additionally, they offer tutoring services for international or “Generation 1.5” graduate students.

Program Description

CELAC addresses the needs of their culturally and linguistically diverse students and aims to improve their college-level writing skills. All students in the program are required to take first-year writing courses at CELAC to give students a cocoon where they feel comfortable to grow during their first year. Students are then prepared for other writing classes at the university and are encouraged to continue to utilize CELAC's resources throughout the rest of their college career through tutoring and mentoring. In the summer, the program offers free college preparatory classes. In the fall, workshop contests are held where students utilize “translanguaging” to relate their identities and/or journeys to the U.S. In the spring, there is a multicultural symposium where students present research papers about oppression in different parts of the world. There are also Keynote speakers from different backgrounds that stress how bilingualism helped them in their careers.


CELAC has increased in students serves from 27 students in Fall 2012 to now serving 176 students. 

Increased their Hispanic first-year retention rates from 28% to 40%. 

Increased Hispanic six-year graduation rates from 71% to 85.4%. 

Increased average Hispanic GPA from 2.5 to 2.68.