CESL, WSIP Announce Leadership Changes

April 7th, 2020

Dean Alain-Philippe Durand is pleased to announce the following changes.


Dr. Nick Ferdinandt has decided to step down from his position as Director of the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) effective Aug. 16, 2020. Among CESL’s achievements during his time as Director are the creation of the Online Undergraduate UTrack program and the expansion of the CESL English Proficiency Test, which is now accepted as evidence of English proficiency for admission to the University. 


“I would like to take this opportunity to underline Nick’s outstanding leadership and accomplishments during his 12 years of service at CESL, both as Associate Director and Director,” Durand says. “Please join me in expressing our gratitude and best wishes to Nick as he transitions to teaching full time as Associate Professor of Public and Applied Humanities.


Dr. Robert Côté has agreed to serve as Interim Director of CESL, effective July 1, 2020, overlapping with Dr. Ferdinandt for a few weeks to ensure a smooth transition. Dr. Côté, who is currently the Director of the Writing Skills Improvement Program, holds a Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, with concentrations in sociolinguistics, pedagogy, and program administration.


Previously, he served as Assistant Director of Student Success as well as Assistant Director of Local Programs and Community Outreach at CESL, Chair of English at The Higher Colleges of Technology in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Director of EFL at Saint Louis University in Madrid, Spain, and ESL Department Head and Test Chairperson at North Miami Adult Education Center, Florida. He has also worked as an Editor for LINGUIST List, the members of which honored him as their 2017 featured linguist. Dr. Côté currently serves as Associate Editor for Arab World English Journal. He has presented hundreds of workshops and conference papers around the world on second language writing, peer review, computer assisted language learning (CALL), and working with at-risk students.


In recognition of his contributions, the University of Arizona awarded Dr. Côté its Excellence in Global Education prize in 2019. Beyond the campus, Dr. Côté serves as an English Language Specialist for the US State Department, and is primarily involved in academic writing and academic integrity projects in Russia and Ukraine.Please join Dean Durand in welcoming Dr. Côté to the position of Interim Director of CESL.


Finally, Dean Durand announces that Dr. Andrea Hernandez Holm has agreed to serve as Acting Director of the Writing Skills Improvement Program (WSIP) effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Hernandez Holm has been with WSIP for 12 years. She coordinates and facilitates WSIP's special programs, including the Graduate Writing Institute, Young Writers Institute, and People of Color Writing Groups. She works directly with students, faculty, and staff across campus, as well as with clients around the globe.


Dr. Hernandez Holm received her doctoral degree in Mexican American Studies from the University of Arizona, and has over 20 years of experience as a writing consultant, editor, teacher, and researcher. Her primary research focuses on people’s experiences of writing and writing traditions in Borderlands communities, and she is also a published essayist and poet. Dr. Hernandez Holm is an inaugural member of the University of Arizona’s Inclusive Leadership Certificate Cohort. Please join Dean Durand in welcoming Dr. Hernandez Holm to the position of Acting Director of WSIP.