ELI History
Old ELI Building 2009

ELI History

A successful history leads to a brighter future...


At the Beginning

The English Language Center (ELC) was established by the British Council at the request of the University, eight years after KAU's foundation. The council was tasked to prepare an English language program for more than 500 KAU students in the faculties of Engineering and Medicine.


Affiliation with the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

ELC became independent and affiliated with, and administratively and academically linked to, the KAU Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Over the course of time, the program developed and its role was expanded to provide 30 specialized English language courses for nine faculties on both the University Men's and Women's Campuses, serving approximately 2,000 students.


Increased autonomy

The Center was officially and directly linked to the Office of the KAU Vice-President and headed by the ELC Director. The Higher Committee for the Supervision of ELC was formed initially under the chairmanship of the KAU Vice-President, and subsequently under the KAU Vice-President for Academic Affairs.


An English Language Institute

When KAU implemented its Preparatory Year Program (PYP) in 2008, the English language courses constituted the major component required for college entry. The ELC received additional enhanced support from KAU senior administration, which eventually culminated with the change of name and status of the ELC to that of the English Language Institute (ELI). ELI was also granted official representation on the KAU Council.


CEA Full Accreditation

In April 2013, the ELI English Language Program was accredited for five years by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) for the period April 2013 through April 2018, the sole English Language Program accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education. CEA accreditation represented an outstanding achievement for ELI when its program became the first CEA- accredited English language program delivered to Preparatory Year students at a Saudi university.


Going beyond the PYP

In the academic year 2013-2014, ELI launched its own exclusively designed and developed MA TESOL Program. The first cohort of 16 students graduated as planned. This program's excellent reputation has led to a steady increase in the number of applicants. This led to the University increasing the number of students accepted by the program to 40 for the academic year 2017-2018.


Prince Khaled Al-Faisal Moderation Prize in Translation

ELI won the Translation Award of the Prince Khaled Al-Faisal Prize for Moderation.

KAU & Cambridge Symposium

The ELI hosted its annual KAU & Cambridge Symposium on May 5th, 2017 with the theme of “Active Learning Leads to Better Learning” on the Men’s Campus in the Deanship of Student Affairs Auditorium, with a similar version of the event held on the ELI Women’s Campus at the Engineering College.


Academic Re-accreditation

The ELI Preparatory Year English Language Program was granted full ten year CEA re-accreditation for the period April 2018 through April 2028.

Student Activities Grand Prize

ELI was awarded the KAU Grand Prize for Student Activities.

The first ELI Symposium

The first ELI Symposium (New Perspectives in English Language Teaching) was held under the patronage of the KAU President, Prof. Abdulrahman Alyoubi, on May 13-14, 2018


ELI Symposium 2019

The second ELI symposium (Language Teaching Professionalism: Inspiring Practices for Better Learning) was held under the patronage of the KAU President, Prof. Abdulrahman Alyoubi, on 1-2 May 2019.

KAU Excellence Award in Strategic Planning

The ELI won the KAU Excellence Award in Strategic Planning for Academic Affairs: Teaching & Learning area.

KAU President’s Excellence Award in e-Learning

The English Language Institute wins the KAU President’s Excellence and Creativity in e-Learning Award for 2018/2019.

ELI Academic Writing Center Launched

The Minister of Education, Dr Hamad Al-AlSheikh, launched the ELI Academic Writing Center, following the conclusion of the 6th KAU Council session for the academic year 2018/2019.

KAU Excellence Award in Quality and Academic Accreditation

The ELI won the the KAU Quality and Academic Accreditation Award for the academic year 2018/2019. The Award was presented to the ELI by the Minister of Education, Dr Hamad Al Alshaikh, at an award ceremony held at the KAU Council Meeting Hall.


ELT Saudi Conference Launched

ELI held the 1st Saudi International ELT Conference and Expo, January 28-30, 2020. Over 100 speakers presented, including top-notch ELT experts with over 3,000 attendees.


ELI launched the Saudi Association of English Language Education on December 10, 2020.


Excellence Training Center Established

The ELI launched the Center of Professional Excellence in English Language Teaching (CPELT) to provide quality training program for English language teachers and professionals across the Kingdom.

Election of Saudi TESOL Board

Members of Saudi TESOL elected 9 nominees for the association's Board of Directors for the first 3-year term. The Board then elected Prof. Abdullah Al-Bargi, Dean of the ELI, as Chairman of Saudi TESOL.

New Graduate Program

The ELI announced its brand-new Professional MA ELT Program for the academic year 2021/2022.

Excellence in Virtual Classes

The ELI won the Excellence Award for the Full Utilization of Virtual Classes for 2020/2021 as part of the KAU President’s Excellence and Creativity Award for e-Learning.

Excellence in Quality Performance

The ELI won the KAU President’s Excellence Prize for University Performance for 2020/2021 in the Non-Science Colleges and Institutes Category.


Powerful student activities

The ELI won the 2nd place in the KAU Student Activities Competition for the academic year 2021/2022.

Excellence in Electronic Assessment

The ELI won the KAU President's Award in Distinguished and Innovative e-Learning 2022 (7th session) for the Electronic Assessment and Question-Bank System.

Krashen's talk

Saudi TESOL hosted Prof Stephen Krashen, one of the most prominent scholars in linguistics and language teaching, to talk about "The Power of Self-Selected Fiction".

An lesson in the IT lab in the mid 1980's

An old ELI Computer

Last Update
1/17/2024 9:55:30 AM