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.

Julie Matsubara, Director

Julie Matsubara is the Director of UChicago's English Language Institute (ELI), where her responsibilities include general management of the program and maintaining communications with the twelve divisions and schools around campus. She is also responsible for the collection and visualization of program data. Julie has extensive experience teaching English as an additional language and has served as assistant director of Northwestern University's English Language Programs. She holds a master's degree in applied linguistics from Teachers College Columbia University and a PhD in linguistics from Northwestern University, where she researched the context-sensitive meaning (pragmatics) of Japanese linguistic expressions. 

Denise Slavinski, Operations Manager

Denise Slavinski is the Operations Manager of UChicago’s English Language Institute (ELI), where her responsibilities include overseeing logistical and operational support for the Institute. She holds a M.A. in English from McGill University, and a dual-B.A. in English and Global Studies with a minor in Spanish from the University of West Georgia. Before joining the ELI staff, she was the Manager of the Writing Center at the University of West Georgia, and worked in real estate. Her interests include academic & business writing, a deep love of film & television, and cooking.

Shane Dunkle, Language Pedagogy Specialist

Shane Dunkle is an ESL instructor in UChicago’s English Language Institute (ELI) where his responsibilities include classroom instruction, coordinating the ELI speaking courses, individualized instruction, and ELI course and curriculum programming. Shane has been teaching English since 2001 and has spent half of his 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 along with curriculum design in all 4 skill areas. He holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA in English Literature and Film from UIUC. He likes to watch movies, play board games, and talk about the World's Columbian Exposition in his off time.

Paul Quaintance, Language 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.

Ashley Merriweather, Language Pedagogy Specialist

Ashley Merriweather is a language pedagogy specialist 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. Ashley earned a BA in intercultural and global communication, and a master's degree in applied linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She brings her passion for diversity, pedagogy, and linguistics to her work. 

Joshua Ruddy, Language Pedagogy Specialist

Joshua Ruddy is fascinated by language’s ability to defy physics-- the written word can travel through time and space in ways that nothing else can.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Literature and Philosophy from Marquette University, an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  As an instructor at the English Language Institute, he enjoys travelling the world every day without ever leaving Chicago.

Pamela Martin, Instructor

Pamela Martin is an ESL/EAL instructor at the English Language Institute (ELI), where her responsibilities include course development, coordinating the ELI writing courses, curriculum development, and teaching. Pamela has been teaching ESL in community, business, and university settings since 2003. She has developed and taught ESL 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.

Christine Fiorite, Instructor

Christine Fiorite is an ESL/EAL instructor at UChicago’s English Language Institute (ELI). She has been teaching and tutoring university students in the U.S. and abroad for over fifteen years. Christine's professional experience includes instruction and materials development in the fields of English for academic purposes, postsecondary developmental reading and writing, special needs education, multicultural/diversity education, and teacher training. She holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a certificate of graduate study in advanced quantitative methodology in education, and a doctorate in higher education from Northern Illinois University. Her research interests include international student engagement, learning and study strategy development, and internationalization in higher education.