Meet Dr. Fernando Fleurquin, director of Marketing, Communications, and Stakeholder Relations at Michigan Language Assessment. Dr. Fleurquin’s journey from a small country in South America to his current role is a story of dedication, passion, and a love for helping others.

Planting Roots in Uruguay

Growing up in Uruguay, Dr. Fleurquin pursued his initial studies and university education with a strong focus on English. His journey into the realm of English teaching began at the Uruguay-Estados Unidos Binational Center, where he worked for over 20 years. Starting as an English teacher, Fernando quickly progressed, developing educational materials and assuming various positions until he was offered the role of academic director. In this capacity, he oversaw English courses and international exams, including the Michigan Tests, making his center one of the largest for ECCE and ECPE in South America.

Reflecting on this period, Dr. Fleurquin shares, “As a teacher, I realized the transformative power of education and how language proficiency opens up new opportunities for individuals.”

Connecting with Michigan Language Assessment

Dr. Fleurquin was awarded the Spaan Fellowship award to complete a validation project for an English exam for young learners developed at the binational center in Uruguay. His first visit to the University of Michigan was to meet with the Testing Division staff to work on this validation project.

“I was involved with Michigan Language Assessment from the very beginning of my career,” Dr. Fleurquin recalls. “We collaborated on validating exams and developing new ones for young learners. It was a great experience that allowed me to understand the importance of standardized testing in language education.”

From Medicine to Education

Interestingly, Dr. Fleurquin’s academic pursuits were not limited to English and education. He also studied medicine, eventually becoming an M.D. with an intended specialization in pediatrics. However, his passion for English teaching and educational administration took precedence. Dr. Fleurquin chose to dedicate his full attention to education, furthering his expertise with a master’s degree in marketing and business administration. This diverse educational background provided him with a unique perspective and skill set, enhancing his effectiveness in various leadership roles within educational institutions.

A Diverse Education Career in the United States

In 2004, Dr. Fleurquin moved to the United States to work with the Testing Division of the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute. His career trajectory includes significant positions such as the director of the English Language Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the director of the Intensive English Program at the University of North Texas. During his tenure at North Texas, Dr. Fleurquin completed an Ed.D. program in Higher Education, focusing on first-generation adult students. This research aligned perfectly with his role as director of the Student Success Center at the University of Michigan-Flint, where he developed strategies to support and improve student success and graduation rates.

“I have worked in many different roles related to education and language assessment,” Dr. Fleurquin explains. “Each position taught me something new and valuable, and I was always driven by a passion for helping students succeed.”

Returning to Michigan Language Assessment

In January 2019, Dr. Fleurquin rejoined Michigan Language Assessment as the assistant director of business development and marketing. His role has since evolved to encompass marketing, communications, and stakeholder relations. Dr. Fleurquin’s extensive background – having worked with exams as a test center administrator and educator – as well as his connections with various universities and intensive English programs uniquely positions him to drive the department’s mission forward.

“Understanding the needs of our stakeholders is crucial,” Dr. Fleurquin said. “We aim to provide services that not only meet but exceed their expectations, enabling all stakeholders to achieve their goals.”

A Passion for Helping Others

One of the most fulfilling aspects of Dr. Fleurquin’s job is the variety of tasks and the opportunity to help others achieve their goals. He emphasizes that the mission of Michigan Language Assessment is not just about providing exams but also about empowering individuals to access more opportunities and improve their lives. This mission resonates deeply with Dr. Fleurquin, who enjoys understanding the needs of test takers, recognizing organizations, and other stakeholders to develop services that truly make a difference.

“Seeing the impact of our work on people’s lives is incredibly rewarding,” Dr. Fleurquin said. “We help individuals unlock new opportunities through language proficiency, and that’s something I’m very proud of.”

Advice for Teachers and Test Takers

Having been a teacher himself, Dr. Fleurquin understands the importance of motivating students and aligning their goals with the exams they are preparing for. He advises teachers to understand the reasons behind their students’ interest in a particular exam and to foster motivation. 

“The key to effective teaching is not just imparting knowledge but inspiring students to see the value in what they are learning,” Dr. Fleurquin said. “When students understand how language proficiency can transform their lives, their motivation becomes a powerful driving force.”

By showing students the tangible benefits of their efforts and helping them connect with their future opportunities, teachers can significantly enhance their students’ learning experience and outcomes.

A Global Perspective

Dr. Fleurquin’s journey from Uruguay to the United States, combined with his extensive experience in education and healthcare, gives him a unique global perspective. He understands the challenges and opportunities faced by international students and professionals, driving his commitment at Michigan Language Assessment to make language assessment accessible, reliable, and supportive of individuals’ broader goals and aspirations. His story is one of dedication, adaptability, and a deep passion for education. These diverse experiences and his commitment to helping others make him an invaluable asset to Michigan Language Assessment.