IEC History

The International English Center opened its doors in 1975. It was one of the few Intensive English Programs (IEPs) in the state of Colorado at that time. The IEC prides itself on the dedication of its faculty and staff to the students and on its high standard of teaching.  The IEC is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) and is a member of the Consortium of University English Programs (UCIEP) and the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP).

The International English Center welcomes students from countries all over the world. Students from Asia, the Middle East, North and South America, Europe and Africa have attended the IEC since the mid-seventies. Over the years, responding to shifting economic and political situations around the world, the IEC has adjusted to the change in student populations. At different times, we have had an influx of students from Iran, Venezuela, the Gulf Arab States, Japan and South Korea to name a few.

The IEC is proud to celebrate our 40th anniversary in fall 2015.

IEC Timeline

1974

  • The University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) did not have an Intensive English Program.
  • Larry Fisher, a Peace Corps volunteer returning from Turkey, taught a summer English as a Second Language (ESL) program at CU for Japanese students.
  • Many returning Peace Corps volunteers discussed starting an Intensive English Program (IEP) at CU-Boulder.

Early 1975

  • George Goulette and Ruth Purkable contacted the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to seek approval to establish an IEP at CU-Boulder.
  • The IEP is approved allowing the International English Center to be created.

August 1975

  • The International English Center (IEC) opened its doors, originally named the Intensive English Center.
  • The IEC became part of the Division of Continuing Education.
  • The IEC is located in the Academy Building, which was also home to the Division of Continuing Education.
  • The IEC has 44 students mostly from the Arabian Gulf countries of Iran and Saudi Arabia with a few students from South America and Japan.
  • Jean C. Engler is the IEC’s first director (1975-1994).

1975-1976

  • The IEC has 357 students the first year from 22 countries.
  • The IEC, along with IEPs at the University of Denver and CU-Denver, are part of the founding group of the Colorado affiliate of TESOL International, now known as CoTESOL. Over the years, IEC faculty have remained involved in this professional organization by presenting at the conferences, holding many offices, organizing the yearly conference and helping CoTESOL to grow.

1976-1979

  • The IEC has between 568-632 students each year.

October 1980

  • The IEC suffers a fire at the end of the Fall I session that destroys most of the Academy Building, and its equipment, furnishings, materials, and records.
  • The 1980 Fall II session is able to proceed after the fire, using CU-Boulder campus classrooms.
  • The faculty and staff, within a week of the fire, move the IEC to its second location, the University Hill Primary School near campus.

1981-1982

  • The IEC leaves the Division of Continuing Education and becomes a part of Academic Services.
  • The IEC offers special programs of English study in addition to the regular intensive program.
  • The Intensive English Center is renamed the International English Center.

January 1985

  • The IEC moves to two university-owned buildings on Grandview Avenue, a block north of the CU-Boulder campus.

1985-1995

  • The number of students per session increases from 70 students to 140.
  • As the IEC grows, it rents and remodels more of the university-owned houses in the Grandview Avenue area, eventually renting all or part of seven properties.

The early 1990s

  • The IEC leaves Academic Services and rejoins the Division of Continuing Education.
  • The IEC also begins to use computers. Staff and faculty have access to computers and a computer lab where students can learn word processing and use ESL software.

December 1994

  • Nancy Storer is appointed as interim director (1994-1995).

Summer of 1995

  • Keith Maurice is hired as the IEC’s second director (1995-2000).

1998

  • The Global Business Communication (GBC) program is created in order to teach business English to professionals from around the world. Many of the program’s students come from Japan. 

December 1999

  • The IEC moves to its current location, 1030 13thStreet, “on the Hill.”

2000

  • The IEC celebrates its 25th year as an Intensive English Program and is successful in becoming one of the first IEPs to be accredited by the new Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).
  • The linguistics department becomes the IEC’s academic link to the University of Colorado.
  • Bob Jasperson, an IEC lecturer, is named interim director and then becomes the director (2000-2004).

2003

  • The IEC begins offering non-intensive English courses for degree students, which were previously handled by the Linguistics department.

2004

  • Instructors Debra Daise and Charl Norloff become interim co-directors of the IEC (2004-2006).

2005

  • The IEC receives 10-year reaccreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).

2006

  • Cathy Murillo is hired as the IEC director (2006-2012).

2008

  • IEC students start volunteering throughout the year in the Boulder and CU-Boulder community.

2009

  • The IEC has its first “Green Day,” one day per semester dedicated to celebrating and learning about the environment. 

2010

  • The IEC completes a review and revision of its curriculum and class schedule in response to increased enrollments and a change in the student population.
  • An electives program is launched to supplement students’ intensive English classes with additional optional instruction in test preparation, language skills, and other community-based activities not normally taught in the regular IEP classes.

2013

  • Patricia Juza is hired as the IEC director (2013-present).

July 2013

  • The University of Colorado Boulder Dean’s Council approves a Conditional Admissions Program for international undergraduate students.

January 2014

  • The IEC enrolls its first students in the ESL Academic Bridge Program for conditionally admitted international undergraduate students.

August 2014

  • The first ESL Academic Bridge Program student matriculates to the University of Colorado Boulder.

February 2015

  • The IEC, in addition to Syracuse University, is selected by the U.S. Department of State to pilot the first EducationUSA Academy: a four-week intensive English and university preparatory program for international high school students, ages 15-17.

August 2015


  • 42 ESL Academic Bridge Program students successfully complete the program and matriculate to the University of Colorado Boulder for Fall 2015.

November 2015


  • The IEC is one of ten institutions selected by the U.S. Department of State to host an EducationUSA Academy in summer 2016.

December 2015


  • The IEC celebrates its 40th anniversary at the Fall II Student Showcase on December 17, 2015 at the University Memorial Center.