On April 30, 2019, the English as a Second Language held a program celebrating 20 years of ESL teacher education at UAB. Since the first ESL methods course was offered in 1999 by Dr. Julia Austin, the program has grown to offer graduate degrees at the Master’s and Educational Specialist levels.

More than 200 faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the ESL program attended the event, where they celebrated major milestones of the program, including more than $10 million in grant funding over the years to help English Language Learners across the state, including Jefferson, Shelby, and Etowah counties.


In the two decades since its inception, 700 UAB students have earned their ESL certification, helping meet the demand for skilled ESL teachers in linguistically diverse communities throughout Alabama and across the world. Alumni and students of UAB's ESL teacher preparation program currently teach in 48% of the counties in Alabama - from Mobile in the southwest to Huntsville in the northeast. Other UAB students and alumni who specialize in adult learners teach ESL in a variety of post-secondary programs ranging from rural community outreach to post-doctoral academic writing. Our alumni have also taught in 21 states and 24 countries.

Also during the event, it was announced that announced that a scholarship is being established in the name of Dr. Julia Austin in honor her contributions to the program. If you are interested in learning more or contributing to the scholarship visit the UAB Fueling Innovation, Research and Education website.