Under the guidance of CESL instructor Donna Guardino, CESL held its first Spelling Bee.  Students competed against other students from their own level, and by the end three victors were crowned: Linya Shu (Levels 5 and 6), Joseph Fwelo (Level 3), and Yang Liu (Level 2).

The rules were as follow:

1. The pronouncer announces the word to be spelled. They use the word in a sentence and says the word again.

2. The speller listens carefully to the pronouncer and asks for the word to be repeated if necessary.

3. The speller pronounces the word back, spells it, and then says the word again.

4. The judges determine whether or not the word is spelled correctly.

5. If the correct spelling of the word was


In January 2016, Dr. Theodore M. Way will have been teaching at the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) at the University of Kentucky for four years. Before working at CESL, he worked as a Refugee Resettlement Case Manager for Africa and the Middle East for the International Rescue Committee in Oakland and in San Francisco, California. Driven by the ongoing crisis in Syria and by the recent tragedy in Paris, France (among others), Dr. Way wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Lexington Herald Leader which was published on December 6, 2016. To read the full article, "Refugees Have Suffered Enough", please click here<>.

Dr. Way has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) not only here at the University of Kentucky, but in


CESL students made a trip to Fort Harrod and Shakertown on Saturday, July 18th. It was a beautiful day and we had dinner at Cracker Barrel.

Amongst of all the CESL students, Saudi and Brazilian students were especially fascinated with the guns displayed, while female students enjoyed all the crafts at Shakertown!

They also participated in a workshop at Fort Harrod where they had a pleasure to meet real native American descents as well as enjoyed making all sorts of tools native Americans used to use a long time ago.

>>View the photo album



The Center for English as a Second Language traveled to Berea, Kentucky to take in the sights and the sounds of that city's craft festival. The group visited different student workshops and learned from regional experts about different musical instruments like the dulcimer as well as Appalachian music in general. Senior Lecture Lina Crocker provided a picnic lunch, and the group really enjoyed the unique cultural experience on a beautiful day in a scenic region of the Commonwealth.

>>View the photo album.


On Saturday, June 20, 2015, Lina Crocker, Senior Lecturer at the Center for English as a Second Language, and her husband led a group of 40 CESL students on a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. The visit was a special experience for the students, many of whom had not previously been to a zoo.

>>View the Photo Album

“They were as fascinated as young children usually are when they first visit a zoo,” Crocker said. 

Despite the rainy and humid weather, Saad Mohammed Ali, a CESL student, said he really enjoyed himself. He particularly enjoyed seeing the lions and had fun experiencing the zoo in general.

“I like the environment. It is full of diversity,” Ali said.   

This trip is one of many opportunities the Center for English as a Second Language provides its students to experience


Promotional Video for the Taste of Africa event, created by the African Student Association (ASA).

On April 18, 2015 over 100 CESL students enjoyed the Taste of Africa event at UK’s Worsham Theatre. The event cost $10 to attend, and proceeds went to provide insurance for children with HIV/AIDS via the Ten Per Kid Project.

This annual event is organized by the African Student Association, and showcases traditional and modern African dances, vocal performances, talent and cultural skits, spoken word, and fashion shows in traditional African dress. These performances highlight the diverse talents of the African community at UK, in addition to educating students on the rich cultural heritage of the African continent.



The Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) currently offers two language tables to help benefit the educational development of our students while simultaneously supporting the foreign language students at UK. Mrs. Lina Crocker started these events to help students, and she continues to lead them each semester in the Patterson Office Tower.

Weekly events were held for both Spanish language students (Intercambios) and the Arabic/Islamic Studies department (Arabic Tables), wherein UK students who are studying these languages and cultures were able to meet with native students in the CESL department. These groups of students gathered together to talk, learn songs, and socialize, allowing them not only to meet new people, but to educate each other in a way that ultimately benefits both parties.

These partnerships are just a small portion of learning opportunities



Several CESL students joined Mrs. Lina Crocker to enjoy a night of music at her family home, offering them a chance to show off their musical skills on a variety of instruments provided by the Crockers, such as guitars, dulcimers, and a piano, as well as lending the students the opportunity to bring their own.

This gathering did not require any musical education. Students could learn to play simple songs, and those who did not wish to play instruments were still able to participate by lending their voices to accompany the music. The students learned to play and sing classic Kentucky songs, including “My Old Kentucky Home”.

Mrs. Lina Crocker and her husband also provided dinner for the students, giving them another chance to socialize with their peers in a relaxed setting. This is a recurring event that the Crockers provide to CESL students,


On Wednesday, April 8, 2015 Mrs. Lina Crocker and Miss Julia Diez took several students to visit Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and My Old Kentucky Home State Park. This is one of many opportunities for students to take a day-long trip with CESL Faculty.

They began by taking a bus nearly an hour and a half to Hodgenville, KY, the birthplace of America’s 16th president: Abraham Lincoln. At the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park the students learned about the history and culture that Lincoln experienced growing up in Kentucky in the early 1800s.

The students also visited the Lincoln Museum of Kentucky, where they browsed various dioramas, civil war memorabilia, and an art gallery, all centering around the boyhood life of former president Abraham Lincoln.

Stopping to eat lunch at the local Hodgenville Grill, the students were treated to a traditional


On March 18, 2015 Mrs. Lina Crocker took several CESL students on a trip to Cincinnati. They were joined by faculty member Ms. Roshan Nikou.

The students took a bus to Cincinnati where singing and dancing were encouraged, giving students the opportunity to socialize and become comfortable around their peers.

This all day trip began with a visit to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center where students viewed various exhibits detailing the history of the Midwest, and America’s various paths towards freedom and equality for all.

The students enjoyed lunch at the Yard House which provided a great social experience and relaxed atmosphere for the students.

After lunch CESL students visited the Krohn Conservatory, a greenhouse which showcases more than 3,500 plant species from all around the globe.

Events such as this encourage students to


On February 11, 2015, Mrs. Lina Crocker was joined by several students and faculty on a trip to visit Kentucky’s state capital: Frankfort.

Along with CESL faculty Mr. Keith Gilbertson and Mrs. Susan Ma, the students visited the Kentucky State Capitol building, where they viewed the State Senate chambers, and pretended to be senators. They also had the opportunity to see the Supreme Court Room, This trip gave students the opportunity to learn about the different branches of government, and how each branch operates individually and cohesively with each other.

They also enjoyed Arts Day in Kentucky, an event that showcased the work of local artists. The event had more than 300 people in attendance, and provided a great opportunity for the students to meet and learn about artistry within the Kentucky Commonwealth.

The students enjoyed lunch at

CESL Calendar Link

On Wednesday, March 4th Ms. Lina Crocker took several students on an organized field trip to the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY. This all-day trip allowed the students to experience this award winning museum with several faculty from the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL). The students engaged in the inspirational story of Muhammad Ali's life and legacy through interactive and multimedia exhibits, promoting multiculturalism and inspiring visitor's with his story.

Lina Crocker's CESL excursion was also attended by Mrs. Susan Ma and Mr. Keith Gilbertson, who served as the event's videographer.

The visit to the Muhammad Ali Center is one of many field trips CESL provides for their students, offering them a chance to experience the culture of Kentucky and much of the Midwest. Events such as this encourage students to


By Rosanna Willhite

The Center for English as a Second Language is pleased to welcome 53 students from Mexico. The students arrived over the weekend of November 9th and will be visiting scholars for one month. The scholars represent not only promising undergraduate students, but also teachers of English and other disciplines in universities in Mexico. They are part of an initiative by the Mexican government called Proyecta 100,000, which aims to send 100,000 students to the United States by 2018.

Please join us as we welcome these visiting scholars by introducing yourself to them at CESL events and partnerships. We hope this will be the beginning of a thriving partnership with Mexico and Proyecta 100,000.

Click the link: Consul of Mexico, Mr. Jorge Sanchez Catano (Vimeo) to view the


By Rosanna Willhite

On October 2, 2014, the Center for English as Second Language, represented by Lina Crocker, partnered with Jan Romond, coordinator of the exhibit, to have an art exhibit in the Student Center at the University of Kentucky. The art exhibit showcased pieces from students of Magoffin High School in Salyersville, KY on storm stories that were a result of a tornado that struck the Salyersville area in March of 2012.

Jan Romond, responsible for orchestrating this event at UK, gave an introduction to the history of the 2012 tornados that had left “widespread destruction in its path.” Two years later, an art teacher from Magoffin High School, Andrea Parsons, is working with the Storm Recovery Ambassadors

CESL Field Trip to Local Agriculture High School, Locust Trace 2014

by Lina Crocker, Full-time Lecturer at CESL

On Wednesday, September 24th, our students had a wonderful visit to Locust Trace AgriScience Farm, which is a special high school in Lexington that focuses on agricultural studies, as well as the environment and energy.  In addition to normal classrooms, Locust Trace has labs, gardens, a greenhouse, a barn for animals, facilities for raising fish and a veterinary clinic. Students can study Plant and Land Science, Veterinary Assistant, Agriculture Power Mechanics, Equine Studies and Large Animal Science.

We really enjoyed seeing the school building, which was beautiful, innovative and energy efficient.  It generates its own electricity with solar panels, and has many energy saving features.  It also has an interesting water system which collects rainwater from


by Gail Hairston

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 29, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences’ Passport to the World program has already whisked students on four virtual globetrotting tours, yearlong explorations into the culture and history of a country or region. For the program’s fifth academic year, the college will delve into the turbulent, headline-grabbing region of the Middle East.

Once again the UK College of Arts and Sciences has chosen a region that impacts all of us. The eyes of the world have focused on the area for months, years. And yet, for many Americans, the Middle East is still mysterious and threatening, a culture and people churning with unfamiliar beliefs, traditions, expectations and dreams.

Like past programs about


The University of Kentucky has been presenting the Sullivan Award to students, faculty, and staff since 1927. This award recognizes individuals who evince a sense of love and helpfulness for other communities, at home and abroad.  

This year’s UK recipient is graduating senior Andrew Ritzel. A Biology and Spanish major, Ritzel is being recognized for his involvement and leadership with UK’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Program and for creating a formal partnership between UK and Shoulder-to-Shoulder Global.

Ritzel’s involvement started when he was a first-year student here at UK. “Coming into college, the Alternative Spring Break Program was something I had heard about at other universities. I was really interested in the program, so I went to one of the information sessions at the beginning of the school year. I learned that UK’s ASB program was launching a brand new


By Guy Spriggs

(January 23, 2014)  – The visiting South Korean teachers currently studying at UK are part of a long line of successful educational partnerships for the University’s Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) program. The experience for these teachers, however, is a bit different: they are the first to receive graduate credit by participating UK’s newly-formed master’s program in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

“This is a brand new program. We got approval over the summer and our first class arrived this fall,” said Francis Bailey, director of the TESL master’s program.

Event image

by Whitney Hale

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2013) — The University of Kentucky Confucius Institute (UKCI) celebrates three years of collaborations with educational institutions in China at a free public concert on Nov. 7.

The "3rd Anniversary Celebration Concert: Featuring the Shanghai University School of Music" will spotlight string music, the pipa, martial arts and other musical talents from Shanghai. The concert will begin 7 p.m. Thursday, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

"UKCI is pleased to have the students and faculty from the College of Music of Shanghai University to join us in celebrating

  Thanks to the efforts of the participants in the Go Teacher program through the Center for English as a Second Language, September 21, 2013 was an historic day for Ecuador. Thirty-eight dancers joined the activities of the Latino Festival de Lexington to share their culture and bring a small piece of Ecuador to Lexington. This was the first year that Ecuador was represented in the festival, and the first time their national flag was carried in the opening parade.   The Go Teachers practiced for many weeks to perfect their dance performance. Wearing traditional clothes representing all of the distinct regions of Ecuador, including the highlands, the coast, and the Amazon, they proudly performed several routines indicative of their country’s heritage. Angel Vaca and Cecilia Urgiles were the principal dancers and led the troupe during


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