Center for English Language Acquisition and Culture

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


CELAC addresses the needs of their culturally and linguistically diverse students and 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 of college. 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.

Program Description

The mission of 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 goals and related students' needs aim to increase the 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.


CELAC has seen an increase in students served with only 27 students starting in Fall 2012 to their current number of 176 students. The University has formally institutionalized key aspects of the grant to ensure that the success of the program will be maintained and improved upon.

Key benchmarks include:
Growth in undergraduate Latino students :

• From 28% of the student population to 40% Increases in Hispanic first-year retention
• From 71% to 85.4% Increases in Hispanic six-year graduation rates
• From 41% to 48% Increases in Hispanic first-year GPA
• From 2.5 to 2.68