College 101 for Non-Native Speakers

Pathways programs blend English and academics to help foreign students succeed

As Pathways Programs Catch On in North America, Colleges See Successes for International Students 1

Amanda L. Smith for The Chronicle

Tianjing Gu (center) and Junwei Jia, from China, shop at a farmers' market near Oregon State U., where they enrolled after completing a special yearlong program for students who need extra help with English.

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close As Pathways Programs Catch On in North America, Colleges See Successes for International Students 1

Amanda L. Smith for The Chronicle

Tianjing Gu (center) and Junwei Jia, from China, shop at a farmers' market near Oregon State U., where they enrolled after completing a special yearlong program for students who need extra help with English.

James Gregory Friedman stands at the front of an Oregon State University classroom and writes two words on a white board: disposable income.

"What does that mean?" he asks, looking expectantly at his students, who are mostly male, Asian, and, for the moment, silent.

Mr. Friedman is an English-language instructor, but these days he is spending much of his time discussing business theory and basic engineering principles, as part of a new program here for international students.