The English Language Center at Shantou University (STU), established in 2003 with support from the Li Ka Shing Foundation, employs an innovative approach to English teaching in China. As an integral component of Shantou University's curriculum, ELC courses reach all students on campus, a total of approximately 7,400 students. The mission of the ELC is “... to provide a supportive language learning environment, in which students can develop their communicative competence and critical thinking strategies.” This aim is achieved through the dedicated work of a combined local and international faculty who continuously work to enliven the classroom, broaden the scope of research in English instruction, and encourage students in their acquisition process through numerous creative academic and co-curricular activities.
With the sustained efforts of the ELC faculty, Shantou University has distinguished itself for its excellence in English teaching. STU students have won numerous awards in English skills competitions at provincial, regional and national levels. Besides, their performance at IELTS has far exceeded that of average university students in China. Nationally, in 2017 and 2018 the overall IELTS scores of STU students ranked 21st and 15th respectively, and their IELTS speaking scores ranked 8th and 4th.
To maintain teaching excellence, ELC encourages teaching-related researches and the dissemination of research findings via conferences and publications. With travel grants provided by ELC, the faculty members have presented their research results and teaching ideas at conferences in the U.S.A., Cuba, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and in many places in mainland China. Their publications have appeared in many journals, including TESOL Quarterly, System, Intercultural Communication Studies, Asian Journal of English Language Teaching, International Journal of English Studies, ELT Journal, Foreign Languages in China, and Shantou University Forum.