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Director of Utah Global selected by U.S. Department of State for prestigious English Language Specialist Project

Karen Marsh Schaeffer

The U.S. Department of State announced the selection of Karen Marsh Schaeffer of University of Utah for a six month virtual English Language Specialist project focusing on student motivation and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in Russia at Dostoevsky Omsk State University. Marsh Schaeffer is part of a select group, as her project is one of approximately 240 that the English Language Specialist Program supports each year. 

Marsh Schaeffer works at the University of Utah as the director of Utah Global Instruction in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, as the academic liaison for Utah Global, and as the student support specialist and associate instructor in the Department of Linguistics. This is her fourth English Language Specialist award and this project will run from January - June 2023. She will engage with faculty virtually at Dostoevsky Omsk State University in roundtable discussions and workshops on the topics of student motivation, meaningful assessment, and learning materials design. 

The English Language Specialist Program is the premier opportunity for leaders in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to enact meaningful and sustainable changes in the way that English is taught abroad. Through projects developed by U.S. Embassies in more than 80 countries, English Language Specialists work directly with local teacher trainers, educational leaders, and ministry of education officials to exchange knowledge, build capacity, and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities in the United States and overseas. 

Since 1991, the English Language Specialist Program has supported in-country, virtual, and mixed projects in which hundreds of TESOL scholars and educators promote English language learning, enhance English teaching capacity, and foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through cultural exchange. During their projects, English Language Specialists may conduct intensive teacher training, advise ministries of education or participate in high-level educational consultations, and offer plenary presentations at regional, national or international TESOL conferences. These projects are challenging and those selected represent the best of the U.S. TESOL community. In return, the program provides professional development opportunities to help participants experience different cultures and build skills that can greatly enhance their TESOL careers at home. 

English Language Specialists are counted among the more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Specialist Program is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University. 

For further information about the English Language Specialist Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit

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Last Updated: 12/12/23