About Us

What We Do

The English Language Institute (ELI) empowers University of Chicago students and scholars who speak English as an additional language to bring their proficiency and confidence to new levels.

The ELI serves students and researchers at all proficiency and academic levels—from undergraduates to postdoctoral scholars—and at every school and division of the University. Part of the Division of the Humanities and UChicagoGRAD, the ELI works closely with University faculty, students, and administrators to ensure that curricula are relevant, challenging, and tailored to the unique needs of University of Chicago students.

Who We Are

Our pedagogy specialists and instructors have decades of experience teaching English across the globe with diverse populations in corporate and academic settings. Their deep knowledge of world languages and cultures, as well as the ELI’s small class sizes, allows instructors to provide immediate, individualized feedback to improve students’ approach to speaking and writing English. In flexible programming throughout the calendar year, students build fluency and comfort with the English language and North American cultures as they gain experience speaking with welcoming peers and instructors in new, engaging settings.

Ezekiel Flannery, Director 

Ezekiel Flannery is the director of UChicago’s English Language Institute (ELI), where he oversees all academic and professional ESL programs. He has been teaching English as an additional language since 1993 and has taught at universities in Turkey, Mexico, and the United States, and in a range of corporate contexts around the world. Ezekiel has a passion for language pedagogy, intercultural communication, linguistic pragmatics, and phonetics and phonology, and continues to learn languages for personal and professional growth. He holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics and TESOL from Indiana University and a PhD from the University of Illinois, where he researched the interconnection between language, food, and pedagogy.

Shane Dunkle, ESL Pedagogy Specialist

Shane Dunkle is an ESL instructor and tutor in UChicago’s English Language Institute (ELI), where his responsibilities include classroom instruction and private tutoring in all the major skill areas of English. Shane has been teaching English since 2001 and has spent half of his teaching career in Japan and the other half in Chicago. He has taught all age groups from preschool to senior citizens and has participated in program development and teacher training for various institutions. He holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and likes to watch movies and talk about Chicago in his off time.

Pamela Martin, Senior ESL Pedagogy Specialist

Pamela Martin is senior ESL pedagogy specialist at the English Language Institute (ELI), where her responsibilities include course development, coordinating the ELI writing courses, and curriculum and teaching. Pamela has been teaching ESL in community, business, and university settings since 2003. She has developed and taught ESL and English for specific purposes courses on academic and technical writing, listening/speaking, reading, theater, and cinema studies. She holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She very much enjoys collecting records, writing short stories, talking about film, and meeting ESL learners from around the world. 

Julie Matsubara, Operations Manager

Julie Matsubara is the operations manager of UChicago's English Language Institute (ELI), where she oversees program communications and manages the registration process for ELI courses. She is also responsible for the collection, maintenance and visualization of data. Julie has experience teaching English as an additional language and has served as assistant director at Northwestern's English Language Programs. She holds a master's degree in applied linguistics from Columbia University and is a PhD candidate in linguistics at Northwestern University, where she is researching the context-sensitive meaning (pragmatics) of Japanese linguistic expressions. 

Ashley Merriweather, ESL Pedagogy Assistant

Ashley Merriweather is an ESL pedagogy assistant for the English Language Institute (ELI). Her responsibilities include a range of tasks linked to ESL pedagogy, including coordinating the tutoring program and weekly conversation hour, scheduling courses and events, and supervising student workers. Ashley earned a BA in intercultural and global communication, and is currently completing her master's degree in applied linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She brings her passion for diversity, pedagogy, and linguistics to her work. 

Paul Quaintance, ESL Pedagogy Specialist

Paul’s passion for communication, language, and linguistics led him to teaching, and in 2009 he received an MA in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University. As a graduate assistant there, he specialized in improving the academic writing of non-native and generation 1.5 writers. Before joining the staff at UChicago’s English Language Institute (ELI), Paul worked at number of universities and colleges in the Chicago area.  Paul holds a BA in theatre arts from New Mexico State University and has worked professionally on stage and on camera. He enjoys offering his ESL students an actor’s perspective on expressive and comprehensible vocal production.

Nick Swinehart, ESL Instructor

Nick is the multimedia pedagogy specialist for the University of Chicago Language Center and an instructor for the English Language Institute (ELI). He enjoys working with people from all over the world and has been involved in ESL since 2009. He received a master’s degree in applied linguistics from Ohio University, focusing in computer-assisted language learning and ESL pronunciation. When he’s not working, he enjoys music, sports, and outdoor adventures.