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Connie Hanna: TESOL Instructor

By Anna Fay

Piecing things together

Connie Hanna, a valuable member of the Western Carolina University staff, has found a comfortable living here in the mountains. She teaches English to non-native speakers in the brand new Intensive English Program (IEP) at Western. When asked why she chose this new program and selected degree, she replied, “I like to play with language. I like to piece things together using language.”

Hanna received her Master’s Degree in TESOL, or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, from Western in 2007. Since September 2008 Hanna has been setting up the administrative functions of the IEP and developing the curriculum. According to Hanna, “The Intensive English Program is a four-semester course of study with special focus on teaching the reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills students will need to succeed in an academic environment.”

Hanna looks forward to getting the program on its feet. 2009 is the first year that TESOL has been active and running. “I received my first applicant! I am very excited!”

Teaching TESOL is not Hanna’s first job in the mountains of North Carolina. She moved to Cullowhee from Texas in 1987 to work with the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) where she planned professional development seminars for public school teachers.

Too fun to retire

When asked why she has stayed in North Carolina for over twenty years; Hannah says it was a “good environment for her children.” She was also very content with her job at NCCAT. But that is not all that's busied Hannah during her 21 years in the mountains. Just recently she joined a Sylva program that encourages local food production and sustainable agriculture. “We could solve a lot of problems in Western North Carolina through these programs.”

“Retirement? I thought about it a few years ago, but TESOL seemed more important and has taken up most of my time. It is too fun to retire now!” Hanna is not even thinking of retirement now that the new department is up and running. She plans to be around for a few more years working with TESOL students.


These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.