Jason Litzenberg

Jason Litzenberg

Director of the Intensive English Communication Program
Teaching Professor of Applied Linguistics

Jason Litzenberg has a PhD in Applied Linguistics & ESL from Georgia State University.  He has over 20 years experience teaching English and applied linguistics in Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, and the United States.  In addition to teaching, Jason has also served as a teacher trainer, mentoring practicum students and guiding new teachers through the processes of developing lesson plans that address the curricula and course outcomes of the program.  Jason served as Director of the English Language Program at Yachay Tech, a sciences and technology university in the Andes Mountains of northern Ecuador, from 2014-16.  Since 2016, Jason has been at the Intensive English Communication Program (IECP) at The Pennsylvania State University.


Selected publications:

  • 2023 (in press). Litzenberg, J. (Ed.) From Start to Future: Innovation in University-based Intensive English Programs. Multilingual Matters.
    2023 (in press). Litzenberg, J. and Kim, M. “ELI, ELP, or IEP? Tracing the growth of an industry”. In: Litzenberg, J. (Ed.), From Start to Future: Innovation in University-based Intensive English Programs. Multilingual Matters.
  • 2023. Litzenberg, J. and Fraser, A. “‘The least stable form of employment’: Searching for professional security after the MA-TEFL”. Globalisation, Societies and Education. doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2023.2264796.
    2023. Litzenberg, J. “Review of English Language Program Administration: Leadership and Management in the 21st Century, M. Christison & F. Stoller (Eds).” Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 65: 101289. doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2023.101289
  • 2023. Litzenberg, J. “Intensive English Program ecology: Decolonizing ‘from within the cracks’”. ELT journal, 77(3), (pp. 357-65) (Special issue, Canagarajah, S. (Ed.)). https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccad005
  • 2021. Litzenberg, J. “Innovation, Resiliency and Genius in Intensive English Programs: Decolonializing Recruitment and Contradictory Advocacy”. Applied linguistics. doi:10.1093/applin/amab015
  • 2021. Tankosic, A. and Litzenberg, J. “Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: Inherent Translanguaging in the Linguistic Landscape of Sarajevo”. European journal of applied linguistics, 9(2). (forthcoming) doi.org/10.1515/eujal-2019-0041
  • 2020. Litzenberg, J. “‘If I don’t do it, somebody else will’: The covert neoliberal policy discourses in the decision-making processes of an IEP”. TESOL Quarterly, 54(1), 823-45. doi.org/10.1002/tesq.563
  • 2019. Litzenberg, J. “Achieving accord in the status discord of English language teaching”. PAIS newsletter (Sept 2019 issue). http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolpais/issues/2019-09-20/2.html
  • 2018. Litzenberg, J. “‘Official language for intercultural ties’: Cultural concessions and strategic roles of Ecuadorian Kichwa in developing institutional identities”. Linguistic Landscapes, 4(2), 153-77.
  • 2016. Lindemann, S., Campbell, M., Litzenberg, J., and Subtirelu, N. “Explicit and implicit training for improving native English speakers’ comprehension of nonnative speech”. Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, 2(1), 93-107.
  • 2014. Litzenberg, J. “Pre-service teacher perspectives towards pedagogical uses of non-native and native speech samples”. International Journal of Applied Linguistics. 24, n/a. doi: 10.1111/ijal.12084
  • 2014. Lindemann, S., Litzenberg, J., and Subtirelu, N. “Problematizing the dependence on L1 norms in L2 pronunciation teaching: Attitudes toward second-language pronunciation” In: Moyer, A. & Levis, J. (eds) Social Influences in L2 Pronunciation (pp. 171-94), De Gruyter Mouton.


Selected presentations:

  • 2021. Litzenberg, J. (Presenter). Global Language, Local Standards. La Salle College Teacher’s Conference. Quito, Ecuador.
  • 2021. Litzenberg, J. and Madany, M. (Co-presenter). Developing Translingual Practices via Family Games. TESOL. (Virtual).
  • 2020. Algren, M., Bass, B., Litzenberg, J. (Co-presenter). Lower Enrollments: Changes, Challenges and Innovations. UCIEP Annual Director’s conference.  Bandera, TX.
  • 2018. Litzenberg, J. (Presenter). A story, tool, and proposal: Developing a guise-based attitudes study of the linguistic landscape. Applied Linguistics Roundtable, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
  • 2018. Litzenberg, J. (Presenter). I’m a native speaker.  So what?. Centro Ecuatoriano-Norteamericano (CEN), Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • 2017. Litzenberg, J. (Plenary). The 21st century dilemma of being a native speaker of English. COPEI 8th International Congress, Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • 2017. Litzenberg, J. (Plenary). Linguistic landscapes as a pedagogical tool: Imagining the opportunities. COPEI 8th International Congress, Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • 2017. Litzenberg, J., Decker, K., Shatkin, L., and Williams, C. (Panel discussion). The parallel development of two Ecuadorian language programs. TESOL. Seattle, WA.
  • 2017. Litzenberg, J. (Presenter). Developing sociolinguistic awareness through linguistic landscapes. Applied Linguistics Roundtable, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
  • 2016.  Litzenberg, J. and Avila Herrera, S. (Co-presenter).  Student perspectives towards international English: Insights from an Ecuadorian EFL needs analysis.  AAAL.  Orlando, FL.
  • 2016.  Litzenberg, J. (Presenter).  Visual Semiotics in the Branding of a Glocal Institutional Identity.  AAAL.  Orlando, FL.
  • 2016.  Litzenberg, J. (Presenter).  Preparing teachers (to prepare students) for successful communication.  IA-TEFL.  Birmingham, England.
  • 2014.  Litzenberg, J. (Presenter).  Reconceptualizing proficiency for lingua franca communication.  AAAL.  Portland, OR.

Di Liang

Assistant Director of the Intensive English Communication Program
Assistant Teaching Professor of Applied Linguistics

Di Liang has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Penn State. Di joined the Intensive English Communication Program (IECP) as Assistant Director in 2023. He has taught Academic English courses and TOEFL, IELTs, and SAT preparation courses in China and the U.S. He received an M.Ed. in Foreign Language Education from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. in English from Chengdu University of Technology, China. Prior to the IECP, Di held roles as an instructor, teacher educator, researcher, and student teacher supervisor in College of Education at Penn State. He has also served as an instructor of undergraduate-level Chinese language classes at the University of Pittsburgh. Di’s current research interest situates at the intersection of language education, teacher education, and social justice.


Selected Publications


  • Liang, D., & Cao, X. (2023). A day in the life of an English teacher: Narratives from English language teachers in a rural primary school in China. In P. C. Iida, E. Mikulec, & M. F. Agnello (Eds.), English language education in rural contexts: Theory, research, and practices (pg. 63-83). Brill. DOI: 10.1163/9789004549647_005
  • Liang, D., & Cao, X. (2022). Teacher online ELT experiences in a rural primary school in China during COVID-19 pandemic. In C. N. Giannikas (Ed.), Transferring language learning and teaching from face-to-face to online settings (pg. 130-151). IGI Global. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8717-1.ch007
  • Han, S., Liang, D., & Haneda, M. (2021). A case study of two South Korean middle school EFL teachers’ practices: Instructional stances and use of classroom materials. Classroom Discourse, 12(1-2), 56-74. DOI: 10.1080/19463014.2020.1869572


Selected Presentations


  • Liang, D. (2023). Reconceptualizing the “world” in World Language education: Teaching through the lens of social justice. The 2023 American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Conference, Portland, OR.
  • McCausland, J. D., Liang, D., Cunningham, A., & Whittington, N. (2023). Pain, vulnerability, and joy in the learning of novice teacher educators. The American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2023 Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.
  • Liang, D., Luo, Y., & Haneda, M. (2022). Enacting dialogic teaching through embodied actions: A case of one U.S. elementary school teacher. The 2022 American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Conference, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Cao, X., & Liang, D. (2022). Teaching English during COVID in a rural Chinese primary school. The TESOL 2022 Convention & English Language Expo, Pittsburgh, PA.
Chelsea Benton-Monahan

Chelsea Benton-Monahan

Academic Programming Coordinator
Assistant Teaching Professor

Chelsea is an adjunct lecturer for both the IECP and the ESL/EAP program in Applied Linguistics. She graduated from Penn State in 2017 with a master’s degree in TESL, where she focused on language policy in Morocco. Her experience includes seven years of working in student-support roles at Penn State in the Office of Global Programs and Smeal College of Business, as well as three years teaching English in Meknes, Morocco. She is very passionate about languages, and knows French and Moroccan Arabic. She has only recently begun teaching again and is thrilled to be back in the classroom, where she hopes to grow both professionally and personally.


Makoni, S. & Abdelhay, A. (2020). Contributed chapter entitled “Berber Language Policy in Morocco” in Language Ideologies, ethnicities, and semiotic spaces of power. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon-Twine.

Jill Fleming

Jill Fleming

Jill spent most of her career in a high school classroom.  After teaching many international students she received her Masters in ESL from Wilkes University and was able to run the ESL program at the school.  She is very excited to join IECP and use her years of experience in a new way!

Yana Markedonova

Yana Markedonova

Adjunct Teaching Faculty
Student Center Tutor

I am a recent graduate holding a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Oregon. With a multicultural upbringing in Beijing, China, I developed a strong passion for International Education, particularly in working with international students. Throughout my academic journey at both Penn State and University of Oregon, I have been dedicated to empowering F-1 students, through my involvement in two significant research projects focused on the experiences of international students in American Universities. Beyond my professional pursuits, I get creative by crafting innovative recipes that blend my diverse cultural influences. I also nurture my interest in interior design and real estate, which allow me to continuously explore and learn. My goal is to bridge cultures and create a welcoming environment for students worldwide.


Nikki Mattson

Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives, IECP
Teaching Professor of Applied Linguistics
Faculty Associate, The Global Engagement Community (GEC)
Global Learning Coordinator, Experiential Digital Global Engagement (EDGE)

Nikki Mattson has been a faculty member at the Intensive English Communications Program (IECP) at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) since 2009. She currently serves as the Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives for the IECP in addition to being a Teaching Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics. She holds her M.A. in Linguistics and a Certificate of Graduate Study in TESOL from the University of South Carolina. She also holds a DELF (diplôme d’études en langue française) from Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, France. Nikki is dedicated to supporting campus internationalization efforts as well as global engagement in the classroom, on campus, and beyond. Nikki is a co-founder and advisor for the PSU Living-Learning Community, the Global Engagement Community. She also serves as a Global Learning Coordinator (GLC) for PSU’s Experiential Digital Global Engagement (EDGE) Program. Her research interests include intensive English program oral placement test validation, evaluating computer-assisted language learning (CALL) usage in second language (L2) classrooms, and internationalization in higher education.

Selected recent scholarship:

Mattson, N. & Gianico, J. (2024). Behold-Remold: Navigating and Innovating Liminal Spaces as an IEP Practitioner-Administrator-Scholar (PAS). In J. Litzenberg (Ed.), Innovation in University-Based Intensive English Programs: From Start to Future (pp. 116-131). Bristol, Blue Ridge Summit: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781800414457-009

Mattson, N., McGeary, B., Riehman-Murphy, C., Litzenberg, J., Benton-Monahan, C., Liu, T….Luo, Y. (2023, May). Sustainable Development in an Intensive English Program (IEP): A Programmatic and Curricular Transformation Supported by OER. Panel Presentation at Affordable Learning Pennsylvania (APLA) Summit, State College, PA. 

Cruz, L., MacQuarrie, T.L., and Mattson, N. (2022, October). The EDGE Umbrella: Fostering Convergent Research on Global Exchanges. Presentation at AAC&U Global Learning Conference: Transforming Global Learning Practice: Time for Action. Virtual. 

MacQuarrie, T.L., Mattson, N. and Likholetov, V. (2021, December). EDGE collaborations: Moscow State University and Penn State University. Presentation for Moscow State University faculty meeting. Virtual, Invited. 

MacQuarrie, T.L., & Mattson, N. (2021, November). Virtual exchange: Bridging student cultures and promoting peer-based learning. Presentation for the U.S.-Russia University Virtual Partner Program, American Councils on Education. Virtual, Invited. 

MacQuarrie, T. L., Mattson, N., and Doran, M., (August 23, 25, 30, and September 3, 2021). Virtual exchanges: Bridging student cultures and promoting peer connection. Workshop series for American Council on International Education. Virtual, Invited. 

Mattson, M., and Mattson, N. (2021, June). Working toward campus internationalization through inter-departmental collaboration. Poster presentation at NAFSA 2021 Annual Conference and Exposition. Virtual.

Cherkassov, D., Mattson, N., and Childs, S. (2020, September). The mentoring process: Enriching professional growth for English language teachers and teacher educators. Presentation at the 9th ICBCB: Global Trends and Values in Education, Virtual Conference, Kaskelen, Kazakhstan.


Keith Milling

Keith Milling

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

Keith has a BS in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Illinois and an MA in Linguistics with TESL Concentration from Northeastern Illinois University.

He taught ESL in Korea at Yonsei, Hanyang, and Woosong universities. In addition, Keith has taught GED reading and math at Lansing Community College in Michigan as well as online ESL with iTutorGroup.


*Native English Conversation Dictionary (2022)
*1 Minute A Day Daily Life English (2013)
*Hey Kids! Series Editor

Vincent Searfoss

Vincent Searfoss

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

Vincent has a bachelor’s degree in Mandarin from Penn State University Park and a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from Dalian University of Technology, where he conducted research in the field of comparative linguistics. He has taught ESL in Beijing, Dalian, and Harrisburg, and has nine years of experience teaching students at the high school, university, and adult level. Vincent relies on his international education to inform his teaching methods and he enjoys learning from students of diverse backgrounds.

Zimeng Shao

Zimeng Shao

Adjunct Teaching Faculty
Zimeng is a PhD student in Applied Linguistics. He graduated from Southwest Jiaotong University with a BA in English Linguistics, a BS and a MS in Civil Engineering. He is particularly interested in second language writing, English grammar instruction, academic language literacy development, as well as English for academic purposes. Prior to joining Penn State, he taught English writing and grammar courses to undergraduates in China.
Shao, Z., Zhang, H., Zhang, J., Zhong, Y., & Xu, X. (2022). Phrasal complexity in English argumentative writing: Variations across Chinese STEM versus English majors’ production and EFL textbook essays. Journal of English for Academic Purposes55, 101070


Janelle Bullock

Janelle Bullock

Administrative Support Assistant 2
Emily Walter

Emily Walter

Administrative Assistant
Educational Program Coordinator

Academic Support

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McKenzie Spicer

Student Center Coordinator

McKenzie is a current undergraduate student in the College of Education at Penn State. She is majoring in Secondary Education concentrated in English Teaching with minors in TESOL and English. Upon graduation, she will also receive her PA ESL Specialist Certificate. McKenzie was a student-teacher for the University of Cuenca in Ecuador and has experience working as an Outdoor Educator with the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. After graduating from Penn State, McKenzie plans to get her Masters abroad.