Meet ALI Instructor and Academic Advisor Julie Hadfield

Julie Hadfield

Julie Hadfield

San Diego native Julie Hadfield’s earliest hopes were to be “both a princess and an auto mechanic, haha!”

Instead she earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts: Art in Social Context from the University of La Verne (Calif.), an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco, and is currently working on a master’s in engineering management, with an emphasis in electrical engineering, through Arizona State University. She’s also an instructor and advisor at SDSU’s American Language Institute. We trace her journey:

Please give us a brief history of your career.
My first job in education started as an after-school tutor and mentor after I completed my B.A. but within a year of that, I was lucky enough to hear about a teaching position at an English language school near Riverside. When I got a teaching position at this school, I had to learn everything on the job. I planned lessons at 4 am, I taught myself grammar while in LA traffic going to work, I learned A LOT by trial and error in the classroom, and was both humbled and inspired by my students and fellow teachers. Almost 10 years later, I am still enjoying working with students in and out of the classroom as a language instructor, university advisor, and focus skills coordinator. With my fellow teachers, I enjoy instructing in teacher training programs and presenting for professional development.

How did you come to be an instructor with the ALI?
While working as a private TOEFL and IELTS preparation teacher, and general skills teacher at another school, a friend of mine at CSU Northridge told me that SDSU’s language school was hiring. I’d heard such great things from my private teaching students that I decided to apply. This was in the summer of 2014. I was hired at the end of June and started in an oral communication class for the Intensive English for Communication program. Soon I joined the English for Academic Purposes program, and later, the Pre-MBA/Pre-Master’s program.

What courses do you teach in the English for Academic Purposes program and what do you enjoy most?
My current classes are the EAP College Prep Writing (CPW), EAP English of Math (EOM), and IEC Oral Communications (OC) courses. My favorite to teach is the CPW class because it aligns with my master’s degree in writing and my passion for pre-university transfer student education. The students in the CPW class are always such hardworking students as well, which motivates me to be the best teacher I can be for them.

What do you think are the biggest strengths of the program?
The biggest strengths of the program are the diverse classes we offer. Classes like Pronunciation, EOM Pre-Algebra, GRE/GMAT-prep, Social Entrepreneurship, and Speaking Skills for Engineering, for example, are rarely taught at language schools but are incredibly useful for our student population. Another strength is continuous course development to enhance student engagement. For instance, I’m currently in the process of creating curriculum for EOM Pre-Calculus, along with Advanced Academic Vocabulary (AAV) for Science. Next semester I plan to begin the AAV for Business curriculum. Lastly, our program offers an incredible amount of support for our students who plan to attend university after, whether our students are pre-bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate.

What do your duties as an advisor entail?
As an advisor, I assist students in transitioning into university. We advisors lead workshops, presentations, and advising sessions on how to apply to university, meet university requirements and deadlines, etc. We also are part of the support team for student success, whether it’s through attendance counseling or one-on-one course assistance.

How long have you been an advisor and what do you enjoy most?
I have been an advisor at the ALI for a few years now, though I’ve worked as an advisor before also. What I’ve always enjoyed is helping to motivate students, assisting in student success, and teaching students skills that will be useful in their university life.

What do you enjoy most about working with students from all over the world?
I love working with international students because I have the privilege to learn about other languages, cultures, traditions, and lifestyles. My students have taught me as much as I’ve taught them. My entire worldview has been widened because of them.

Do you have any observations about the universality of mankind?
The “universality of mankind” that I have observed is that we are all different, and that’s okay. Really, it’s wonderful. We all can grow and learn from each other, because of each other, for each other. And maybe this is what it’s all about.

Have you ever had a small-world moment as a result of your job, either here or abroad?
Actually yes, the daughter of my boss was in my sorority!

Are you fluent in any other languages?
Though I’ve studied the linguistics of numerous languages, I have not mastered any yet. However, I hope to get back into Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese lessons come fall semester.

Anything you’d like to add?
Teaching is a rewarding and humbling career, one which is rare and precious. I have been privileged to work closely with such amazing teachers and students, without whom I could not be where I am today.