Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Kenneth King

First Page



This Note examines the background, provisions, effects, and constitutionality of state legislation mandating English proficiency assessment for college instructors. Such legislation responds to complaints about the comprehensibility of international instructors--particularly teaching assistants--at U.S. colleges and universities. U.S. universities employ large numbers of international instructors in scientific, technical, and business fields. Such employment is only one aspect of a broader U.S. importation of scientific and technical talent. This Note first considers the background and legitimacy of complaints about international instructors, and then examines the background and details of specific state provisions. It discusses the statutes' effects and particular concerns they raise, including the possibility that they violate constitutional and statutory prohibitions against national origin discrimination. The Note concludes with recommendations for universities and legislatures.