November 2022

Kevin Knight, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba, Japan

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

The 58th ESP Project Leader Profile features Iryna Zuyenok, who is an associate professor and an ESP specialist at Dnipro University of Technology in Ukraine. I was introduced to Iryna by Mike Ennis (TESOL ESPIS Chair-Elect) who is also a leader in TESOL Italy and was the host of a TESOL Italy and TESOL Ukraine webinar series. Please see below a modified and shortened version of Iryna’s bio. (For a longer bio, please go to the website of Dnipro University of Technology.)

Iryna Zuyenok is an associate professor at the Department of Foreign Languages of Dnipro University of Technology (Ukraine). She is Director of the University Linguistic Centre, Senior Examiner of Dnipropetrovsk Regional Centre of Quality Assurance in Education, Facilitator on the British Council Online Teacher Community platform (OCT - Open Teachers’ Community) and Facilitator at the Regional English Learning Hub “DniproTECH” aimed at building regional English learning community. She has undergone special training in ESP Curriculum and Syllabus Development, ESP Course Design, ESP Methodology and Information Technology for ELT at the Department of International Education of the College of St Mark and St John now known as Plymouth Marjon University (Great Britain). She has 30 years of teaching experience at the university and 10 years of experience in translating and interpreting while working as a design engineer and a patent attorney assistant. For more than 20 years, she has participated in various British Council in Ukraine projects for Ukrainian universities and numerous CPD courses in teacher training, EAP, and ESP.

In her responses to the interview prompts below, Iryna defines leadership in terms of making changes to the educational system in Ukraine, and she shares her account of creating a National ESP Curriculum for Ukraine as well as a textbook that facilitates the application of the innovative concepts in the new Curriculum.

Iryna Zuyenok

Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Languages,
Dnipro University of Technology, Ukraine

Define leadership in your words.

To be brief, for me leadership is action, reflection, and effective communication with the stakeholders and effective utilization of the resources. The key here is reflective practice while introducing changes in education; i.e., “negotiating” at each stage with the stakeholders both primary (students, young specialists, language and subject teachers, trainers, etc.) and secondary (university administration, potential employers, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine) via communication and networking.

Tell me an ESP project success story. Focus on your communication as a leader in the project. How did you communicate with stakeholders to make that project successful?

The success of my ESP project designing an ESP textbook for future engineers trained at the university I work in is rooted in my experience (of teamwork and communication with stakeholders) to introduce changes in ESP teaching and learning in Ukraine within the national project on designing National ESP Curriculum for Universities that started with a Baseline Study of Current Situation of ESP in Ukraine in 2003.

Creating a National ESP Curriculum

Our university mini team (the head of our department Svitlana Kostrytska and I) were responsible for gathering and processing statistics based on questioning primary and secondary stakeholders about their needs for change in teaching/learning ESP, designing questionnaires, structuring interviews, etc. On the basis of this benchmarking and the voices gathered from the ESP Ukrainian teachers at various conferences (organized by our university, TESOL-Ukraine, and IATEFL-Ukraine), and after special training in ESP provided by British consultants Rod Bolitho and Mike Scholey, our team of 10 teachers who represented the largest universities of different Oblasts in Ukraine (Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Mykoilaiyv, Sumy, and Dnipropetrovsk) designed the National ESP Curriculum. Since 2005, we have disseminated the innovative curriculum at our university and all over Ukraine via presentations, workshops, round-table discussions, and training. The feedback gathered proved that there was still a lack of understanding of the curriculum concept and how all the innovations can be applied in the classroom. That is why the idea came to share our own teaching experiences in an ESP textbook that would show how to interpret and apply the National ESP Curriculum to the daily practice of an ESP university teacher.

Proposing the ESP Textbook

There was a need to develop a common vision of the textbook and a model it would be based on. We analyzed a variety of ESP textbooks we had access to and reflected on our own teaching and training. In addition, we asked our students and their subject teachers what kind of a textbook they would like to have, evaluated classroom observations and student feedback, and created the structure of the textbook. The proposed textbook “English for Study and Work” (an ESP textbook for university students specializing in mining engineering) was approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and recommended for use in the Ukrainian non-linguistic universities. It was organized into sections that corresponded with the generic job-related skills in the course syllabus. A resource pack was also proposed and corresponded to the modules in the textbook. It contained tasks and activities for self-study as well as resources to be used to develop various study- and job-related language skills and use of language: vocabulary, functions and functional exponents typical for generic study and job-related situations. It also included self-assessment tasks with keys for students. A third book in the proposal contained a set of rules and exercises focused on the grammar issues and the vocabulary used in the textbook and resource pack.

Writing the ESP Textbook

Evaluation of and reflection on our own experiences showed task-based and experiential learning to be the best way for our students to learn English effectively within the time allotted for the course. As soon as this model was developed, we created a Work Breakdown Matrix (WBM – an innovation picked up from the previous projects) with clear deadlines for each unit and/or section. All the specialized texts as well as the models had the support of the subject lecturers who were in contact with potential employers and had experienced work and/or study abroad. The lecturers also provided us with the list of requirements for the tasks and materials being developed (and this list was used as a checklist).

As soon as a unit was ready, we piloted it in the course, gathered feedback and made necessary changes. When all the modules were ready, we used peer-proofreading and editing (to be done by the author in view of the comments of the co-authors). Some issues required additional research, processing professional literature and sources, and consultations with subject teachers and/or students. In this way, all the stakeholders were involved in the textbook development, and a consensus and common vision were achieved.

Piloting and Updating the ESP Textbook

As soon as the textbook was published and spread among the university teachers and students in more than 30 non-linguistic universities in Ukraine, we gathered feedback both formal and informal from all the stakeholders. Here, networking with ESP trainers and our trainees (built on trust and openness to change) was extremely helpful as the majority already shared values and beliefs in ESP teaching and learning. The constructive feedback led to changing the structure of the textbook and its content. The last version of the ESP textbook has four generic modules that can be adapted for teaching the English language communication skills needed by mining engineers and professionals in other occupations.


“English for Study and Work” (2015) has played a role in illuminating how ESP courses and syllabi can be designed for university students at a Ukrainian university. A good sign is that various ESP textbooks designed by our colleagues training students for different specialty areas appeared later. Many of the authors who I know personally shared drafts of these books with me and asked for constructive feedback. What is great and rewarding is that all of these textbooks have their own approaches (e.g., task-based learning), but they are all within the framework of the National ESP Curriculum for Universities.

As I read Iryna’s very interesting responses, I was reminded of two other profiles in the book English for Specific Purposes Project Leader Profiles: The Leadership Communication of 55 ESP Project Leaders (which can be downloaded for free in the PDF version). See the profile of Jigang Cai (number 17) for the creation of an ESP policy in China and the profile of Elizabeth Matthews (number 36) for the creation of a worldwide Aviation English policy. I am impressed by all of the 58 (to date) ESP project leaders! Profiles 56 to 58 can be accessed in the three most recent issues of ESP News (

Do you have any questions or comments for Iryna? Please feel free to contact her directly.

All the best,



Astanina, N., H. Bakaieva, I. Beliayeva, A. Boiko, O. Borysenko, N. Cherkashina, N. Filippova, A. Khodtseva, L. Klymenko, S. Kostrytska, T. Kozymyrska, I. Shevchenko, T. Skrypnyk, N. Todorova and I. Zuyenok (2004) English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in Ukraine. A Baseline Study. Kyiv: Lenvit. - 122 р.

Bakayeva, G.E., O.A. Borysenko, I.I. Zuyenok, V.O. Ivanischeva, L.I. Klimenko, T.I. Kozymirska, S.I. Kostrytska, T.I. Skrypnyk, N. Yu. Todorova, A.O. Khodtseva (2005) English for Specific Purposes (ESP) National Curriculum for Universities. Кyiv: Lenvit. – 119 p. Available at: library/national_esp_curriculum.pdf

Англійська мова для навчання і роботи: підручник у 4 т. Т. 1. Спілкування в соціальному, академічному та професійному середовищі = English for Study and Work: Coursebook in 4 books. Book 1 Socialising in Academic and Professional Environment / С.І. Кострицька, І.І. Зуєнок, О.Д. Швець, Н.В. Поперечна; М-во освіти і науки України, Нац. гірн. ун-т. – Д. : НГУ, 2015. – 162 с. Available at:

Kevin Knight (PhD in linguistics, MBA, MPIA) is Professor in the Department of International Communication of Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. His research interests include leadership conceptualization and development, ESP, and professional communication. (See