The Face Behind the Expanded ITA Program
Coming from a family of avid readers and lifelong learners, first-generation college student, Dr. Ho’omana Nathan Horton, has utilized his personal experience and strong passion for improving positive intercultural communication to lead the newly improved ITA program. Dr. Horton received his BA in English and Intercultural Studies from Oklahoma Wesleyan University, an MA in TESOL from OSU, as well as a Ph.D. in Linguistics from OSU. His experience in teaching research writing and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) to a wide range of students, focusing on oral proficiency for multilingual graduate students, has allowed for a unique perspective in spearheading this program.
Previously, the ITA program focused exclusively on assessing ITAs and training those who did not pass the exam. Dr. Horton noticed a lack of support for the many multilingual instructors at OSU who are exempt from the ITA Exam, or who passed it, as well as a lack of awareness for many stakeholders about the Exam. He has focused on filling this gap by creating a greater connection with all stakeholders (ITAs, their employing departments and programs, and the students in their courses). In doing this, he has been able to shift the focus of the program from the previous “remedial” approach to a professional development program.
A teacher first and foremost, Dr. Horton is driven by the satisfaction that multilingual instructors and their undergraduates get when recognizing the value of improved intercultural communication and apply those skills offered through his teaching. He states, “Improved intercultural communication is an invaluable life and professional skill. I believe it is a crucial benefit of university education for all students.”
Being a user of a stigmatized variety of English and a first-generation college student, Dr. Horton has an exceptional personal experience that has allowed him to understand that improved language and intercultural communication skills are enormously helpful at a practical level for academic and career goals. He is most excited to broaden the support for multilingual graduate students and start providing support for undergraduate students in collaboration with the Office of First-Year Success and the first-year seminars offered by various colleges. Dr. Horton hopes to engage with as many multilingual instructors and graduate students as possible.
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