About the Brennan Center

Justin de Jacobis, C.M., succeeded in achieving marvelous results because he understood well that he was going to have to respect the traditions and follow uses and customs of the country. from Beyene, Y., 2009: “Justin De Jacobis: The Art of Dialogue”.

Edward J. Brennan

Edward J. Brennan establishing the Brennan Center For Language, Culture And Leadership.

Our Focus

The philosophy of the Brennan Center is modeled after the success that Saint Justin de Jacobis, C.M., gained working in Ethiopia. He learned to understand and appreciate the culture of others before starting to teach.

In keeping with our Vincentian identity, the Edward A. Brennan Center for Language, Culture, and Leadership focuses on leading, learning, and serving in order meet the needs of international families and students. Through Niagara University, we reach out to English language learners within the community. With language as a centerpiece, the Center embraces the richness of culture and language through our students, faculty, and communities and extends our mission to agencies who serve the needs of refugee, migrant, and immigrant populations.

ESL - English as a Second Language Program

Our mission is to engage and enhance linguistic and academic proficiency and enable social participation among learners of English as a new language.

Niagara University is proud to offer a pathway for international students that wish to continue their academic career in the United States.  Placement in the program is based upon a comprehensive language proficiency assessment and is designed for those that are conditionally accepted (based on success in English preparation courses) into Niagara University, those looking for TOEFL preparation, or those that seek to improve their language skills while developing leadership skills and cultural understanding. The ESL program has an established curriculum with clearly defined objectives by sequential performance levels (and delineated language skills) and performance measures which are regularly reviewed. This program operates under policies and procedures that ensure regular curricular review and continuous improvement process. TOEFL and IELTS preparation will be available for students at the advanced level of language proficiency as they prepare for college-entrance assessments. Preparatory courses will include independent study and practice, lab expectations, and direct teaching for skill development and test practice. Our current Niagara University students are able to demonstrate leadership skills and develop a wider more global perspective through working in teams with international students.

What can you expect?

  • Those completing the highest level of the ESL program will be prepared for English language requirements for freshman year or graduate studies
  • ESL students will be able to effectively listen to and speak with people of diverse backgrounds to fulfill communication tasks.
  • ESL students will demonstrate appropriate reading and critical thinking skills to process information related to their roles.
  • ESL students will demonstrate effective writing skills.
  • ESL students will be able to advocate for their needs and the needs of others in their community.

English Summer Camp: Enjoy an American Adventure while improving your English proficiency

International students will participate in our English Summer camp, experience American culture, learn English and enjoy Niagara Falls and our beautiful region. They can enjoy an American Adventure while improving their English language proficiency. Students have the opportunity to become immersed in seasonal activities related to the arts, sports, music, and outdoor recreation. They will make new friends while living on campus at Niagara University and participating in activities with other students from around the world.

What can you expect?

  • Students will demonstrate understanding and appreciation of other cultures
  • Students will improve their English Language Skills
  • Students will create memories that will last a lifetime
  • Students will receive a certificate of hours completed

New Residents: In keeping with our Vincentian mission, we embrace collaboration with agencies serving immigrant, refugee and migrant families, along with P-12 partnerships in serving English language learners in the Western New York area. 

In collaboration with Catholic Charities, we developed the Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute. Through an intensive eight-week training and internship program, we prepare refugees for success in the hospitality industry.

English Language Learner’s (ELL’s) will be able to:

  • Advocate for their needs and the needs of their family within governmental agencies, business, school and social environments
  • Understand spoken English, American sayings, and colloquial language
  • Compose simple letters and complete applications

International Executive Development Program:

  • Develop organizational goals and objectives
  • Confidently apply topics learned to their own organization
  • Demonstrate the ability to interact with, learn from and teach individuals/groups from a diverse background

TEFL Certificate of Study: A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate of study is offered for students interested in teaching English abroad.

The certificate of study is nine (9) graduate credit hours and 135 hours of instruction. The content of this certificate of study includes foundations of Teaching English as a Second Language, language and linguistics in the ESL classroom, and content area methods for ESL classrooms. This short-term training program will be offered through the College of Education. The certificate offered by Cambridge English Language Assessment, part of the University of Cambridge, is internationally recognized, highly respected and a benchmark for quality – it is the most recognized TEFL certificate course.

What can you expect?

To be able to:

  • Apply critical and analytical skills to effective English language use and to English language instruction
  • Understand second language learning processes in diverse cultural and educational contexts
  • Integrate technology into language instruction and materials development
  • Evaluate language program effectiveness
  • Apply knowledge of cross-cultural communication to teacher-student interactions, materials development, lesson plans, course design, community interactions, and assessment instruments
  • Apply knowledge of theoretical and practical issues from acquired linguistics and ESL methodology to innovative and effective English language teaching practices