New University Minor Open to All UVM Students

UVM has a new university-wide minor open for all undergraduate students who plan to work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in their chosen field. The Education for Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (ECLD) minor is a unique opportunity for UVM students to improve their cultural competence and gain the critical knowledge and skills needed to work successfully in our multicultural world. Interdisciplinary coursework in the minor allows students to choose from a variety of classes applicable to their interests. 

“I chose to minor in ECLD because I lived overseas and have an appreciation for other cultures. I also want to make the transition to the U.S. as easy as possible," says Marshall Murphy ('20).

Immigrants and their U.S.-born children number approximately 81 million people, or about 26% of the U.S. population. English language learners (ELLs) are the fastest-growing student population in the country. The increasing ethnic and linguistic diversity of our society creates opportunities and poses challenges that impact communities and workplaces.

“The classes are really interesting, learning about diversity and different cultures," says Julia Salo ('19). "I once was an ELL student, and I love traveling and learning about different cultures."

Students in the ECLD minor enhance their cross-cultural communication skills and culturally responsive practices, and also gain experience in the field working directly with ELL communities. Students explore language delivery models, gain awareness of the intersection of immigration and educational policies, and improve their understanding of migration and transnationalism.

Two Pathways for UVM Students

There are two pathways available for students who are interested in the ECLD minor. The 18-credit pathway open to all UVM majors develops competency to work successfully with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in a variety of professional and community settings. The 21-credit pathway specifically designed for Education majors leads to an additional certification/endorsement in their licensure program to work with English language learner students (ELLs) in PreK through grade 12.

Interested students need to submit an application for the ECLD minor. The application form is available at For more information, contact Cynthia Reyes or Erin Wertlieb, or call 802-656-1411.

The three required core courses (9 credits) for students in the ECLD minor are as follows:

  • EDTE 056 (D1) Language Policy, Race, and School – Dr. Cynthia Reyes (spring and fall)
  • EDTE 202 Bilingual Education and Policy – Dr. Cynthia Reyes (fall)
  • EDTE 205 Home, School, and Community Collaboration – Dr. Shana Haines (fall)

Elective, Interdisciplinary Coursework

Beyond the core classes, the minor offers a variety of interdisciplinary coursework spanning several departments across the College of Education and Social Services (CESS), the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Students can choose elective courses from the fields of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Cultural Anthropology, Higher Education, Human Development, Linguistics, Social Work, and Sociology. Some of the classes will fulfill D1 and D2 requirements for students. To learn more about the ECLD pathways and coursework, visit the ECLD minor web page.

What are Students Saying about the ECLD Program?

“What I like about the coursework so far is that there are opportunities with the classes to go into the field and work with different organizations, such as the King Street Center and Parent University, to see this information we are learning in a real-life context.” – Jordan Kerr ('19)

“The best part of this course so far is the ability to see the different stories and backgrounds of individuals right here in our community.” – Seth Dubinski ('18)

“I am learning a lot of new information about refugee families in my coursework, and ways that I can better collaborate with families who may have language barriers.” – Mikayla LeBlanc ('19)

“I really enjoyed learning more about bilingual education…Educating myself on these policies gives me a necessary tool to work toward changing the way we treat EL students in the states.” – Cristina Carreno ('19)

“Upon taking the classes I realized that they were truly making me a better educator, and a better person, by focusing on empathy, humanity, and their roles in schooling and learning.” – Michael Carter ('18)

“I am pursuing the ECLD minor because I hope to teach ELL (English language learner) students when I get my licensure to teach. It is an important minor to study because it would open the eyes of future educators on how to really support EL students in the classrooms. Regardless of whether they want to teach mainstream or just ELL, it’ll be beneficial for them in the long run.” – Madina Dhahir Haji ('18)

To learn more about the ECLD minor pathways and how to apply, please visit



Doug Gilman
Core faculty of the ECLD minor
ECLD core faculty, from left to right, are Dr. Barri Tinkler, Dr. Cynthia Reyes, and Dr. Shana Haines. (Photo: Doug Gilman)
Madina Haji
Madina Haji ('18) is a Middle Level Education major participating in the ECLD minor. (Photo: Sally McCay)