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English Language Center's Alex Harris Awarded Visiting Professorship in Japan

Alex Harris, a lecturer with Old Dominion's English Language Center (ELC), was selected for a visiting professorship at the International University of Japan in Niigata, where he will teach oral communication skills and academic listening skills in the Summer 2011 Intensive English Program. He will be on the IUJ campus from July 6 to Aug. 23, and return to the ELC for the fall semester. Harris, who holds a bachelor's degree in biology and master's in applied linguistics, both from ODU, joined the ELC in 2005 as an adjunct instructor, following an 11-year stint as a manufacturer's representative. He has taught at the center as a lecturer since 2007. During his junior year at ODU, Harris became a student volunteer at the ELC. In all, he has had a more than 20-year relationship with the ELC and working with international students of English. He has also worked at the university with the offices of International Programs and Intercultural Relations, along with a few others. Harris studied Japanese with Mieko Ishibashi, senior lecturer of foreign languages and literatures, and was one of the founding members of the Nichi-Bei Club (Japan-America Club). "That experience, along with working with international students, gave me the impetus to follow my dream of teaching English in Japan," he said. Harris spent two years in Japan (in the 1990s) as an English conversation teacher with Aeon Corp. After returning to the United States, he completed the master's program at ODU. He said he owes a lot of his success to Janet Bing, professor of English, and the late Charles Ruhl, who also taught English for many years at ODU. "They are the two mentors that taught me the most about the field of English as a second language," he said.

This article was posted on: July 1, 2011

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