Center for International Studies

Staff Directory for WESL

Faculty Directory for WESL


David Bell Bell, David - Director, WESL

Hello! My name is David Bell and I am the Director of the WESL Program. It is my responsibility to see that you all have a positive educational experience while you are in the United States.

I think that you will enjoy Macomb, Illinois. It is a beautiful little city which is very safe and full of friendly people who will welcome you. I have lived and worked in many different foreign countries and I enjoy learning about new cultures and speaking other languages. In my free time I like to watch movies, read and cook.

My office door is always open and I encourage students to drop in and say hello from time to time. I look forward to meeting you someday and I wish you all success in your English studies.


Sarah Thomson Thomson, Sarah - Assistant Director, WESL

Sarah is thrilled to be back at Western Illinois University, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in     Spanish and her Master's degree in TESOL. She studied abroad in Spain and has taught English here in the WESL program, in Mexico, and in Berkeley, California. She was the Academic Director of an ESL school in Berkeley for over 5 years and has been working in the field of International Education for over 9 years. Sarah loves teaching and working with international students, and can't wait to meet each of you! Her hobbies include cooking and eating a variety of foods, traveling, training her dogs, hiking, camping, music, gardening, yoga, Zumba, and spending time with her family.


Loraine Brasel Brasel, Deborah Loraine - Lecturer

Loraine has taught at WESL for over five years. She has been teaching English as a Second Language and college courses for 30 years at other colleges and in Thailand. She has also worked as a writer and editor for a corporation for many years.

She has a master’s degree in English and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Loraine is married and has four children, whom she loves to talk about!


John Curtis Curtis, John - Lecturer

John has been a teacher for over 15 years. He is constantly impressed by his students’ interesting personalities and their remarkable ability to learn.

John lives in the countryside near Macomb and farms on a very human scale. He has an intelligent and beautiful wife (Karen), three precocious children, and two pets: Shadow and Kitty.


Di Lella, Joseph - Lecturer

Well, I love teaching, always have since my father instilled the belief in me that giving back to society is so very important for each one of us . . . and since he was an amazing educator as a father and friend, I went into teaching to give back to the community at large, per se, helping those who need assistance in preparing for the challenges we all face in this world.

I have been fortunate to teach at many wonderful universities such as the University of Southern California, Stanford, UC San Diego, San Diego State University, and the University of Oregon to name a few. With a Ph.D. in Education, I have taught in the areas of TESOL, teacher education, bilingual and multicultural education, reading, and of course, English as a Second Language.

As a lover of the written word, I spend time on creative projects, and as such, have over 140 publications (poetry and short stories), and have written fiction and non-fiction books, screen and teleplays.

But what is most important to me, beyond teaching and writing?

My sweet little girl, Daniella, who at six and a half, has taught me what it means to love and be loved.


Erin Franken, Erin - Lecturer

Erin Franken has been teaching for over seven years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s degree in TESOL. She has taught in the United States and in Turkey. Erin loves to travel and meet new people. Moreover, she enjoys sharing and learning about diverse cultures. Erin is married and has two young children. Therefore, she has little free time, but when she does, she enjoys running or reading a good book!


Linda Roberts Roberts, Linda - Lecturer

Linda has been teaching in WESL for over 20 years, and loves helping international students as they acquire English and interact with people from other countries! Her Master's is in Linguistics from the University of Iowa. She has lived and taught in Korea, and spent time in several other countries, and hopes to travel again some day. But for now, she's happy living in a quiet, friendly community with a wide variety of activities to get involved in. We are happy to welcome students from all over the world!


Dustin TowerTower, Dustin - Lecturer

I love teaching English and interacting with students from all parts of the world. I started teaching ESL when I was still in high school as a volunteer, and I’ve lived in South Korea for 12 years. I’ve studied music, English, and theology, and enjoy teaching students from many different majors. I’m happy to play a role in student’s lives, providing them help with using the tool of English.



April Wilcoxen, April - Lecturer

April has been teaching English for over ten years and got her start right here at WIU with the conversation partners program. She earned her Master’s degree in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University as she was teaching English in South Korea. After spending almost six years in Korea, she returned to the U.S. and now enjoys empowering and encouraging her students to strengthen their English skills. When she's not doing funny things in the classroom to help her students learn, she loves food, yoga, fostering dogs, and watching birds. She welcomes you to WESL, her classroom, and your adventures of living in the USA.