Campus Demand Spring 2012
Gallaudet Interpreting Service (GIS) has been diligently working to cover all campus requests for interpreting services. The following is a question and answer communication to help us address your questions and concerns regarding accessibility of interpreting services.
WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF DEMAND FOR GIS SERVICES?
Campus requests rose exponentially in 2011-2012 academic year, with a near 50% increase in interpreting demand. We experienced increases in requests from the Clerc Center, student teaching, campus presentations, and most significantly in the number of course requests – where we had 133 course requests in the Fall of 2010, as compared to 186 this past Fall of 2011 and 205 courses this Spring 2012 semester.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF JOBS WERE COVERED FALL SEMESTER 2011?
GIS covered 94-96% of all received requests.
WHEN ARE THE BUSIEST AND MOST CHALLENGING TIMES TO FILL ALL REQUESTS?
Our busiest times are typically mid-day Monday through Thursdays. This semester we are already being flooded with requests specifically for Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00am to 3:30pm. The majority of classes, as well as Common Time, and other events are often scheduled during these same time periods.
HOW MANY SUPPORT STAFF DOES GIS HAVE?
GIS has 4 full time schedulers, and one scheduling supervisor who also doubles as a scheduler. This amazing team has been assiduously doing more with less.
HOW MANY INTERPRETERS DOES GIS HAVE?
GIS has 23 full-time, and 7 part-time staff interpreters. In addition, we have 75 to 100 freelance interpreters who are able to accept assignments at their discretion.
WHAT DOES GIS DO WHEN IT CANNOT COVER A REQUEST WITH STAFF INTERPRETERS, CONTRACTORS, OR FREELANCE INTERPRETERS?
GIS works with a few reputable interpreting agencies to assist with these overflow needs. However, because of the high demand for qualified interpreters, there are still times when there is simply no one available to cover these assignments.
WHAT IS THE FINANCIAL IMPACT OF OUTSOURCING TO EXTERNAL AGENCIES?
Contracting with external agencies is much more costly for Gallaudet.
WHAT ARE THE IMMEDIATE STEPS GIS HAS TAKEN TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY FOR INTERPRETING SERVICES?
Summer 2011, GIS launched a dual recruiting effort both here in the DC metro area as well as nationwide through the Results! Mentoring Program, a program unique to Gallaudet. Through this program, we recruited 7 interpreters for the 2011-2012 academic year, and 4 permanent full-time staff interpreters.
The GIS scheduling management team is currently reviewing its operational procedures and has been developing ways to increase effectiveness and maintain best practices in scheduling.
Additionally, all GIS interpreters – staff, contract, and freelance alike – are committed to the Gallaudet community and have been flexible and willing to assist in efforts to cover the requests made of GIS.
WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM STEPS GIS PLANS TO TAKE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY FOR INTERPRETING SERVICES?
GIS administration is reviewing current staffing and resources, including interpreting, scheduling and support staff for all functional aspects of GIS. We will seek additional personnel to handle the increased requests from the campus community, while simultaneously seeking higher efficiencies with current resources to ensure that overall operations continue to provide the best in customer service.
GIS is also actively reaching out to freelance interpreters. We’ve formed a working group - made up of both staff and local freelance interpreters - to focus on Freelance Interpreter Recruitment and Retention. We’ve instituted an orientation program to acquaint new freelancers to the Gallaudet community, and are offering various incentives for them to work on campus.
GIS has also been working with relevant departments to develop more efficient communication systems regarding requests for interpreting and captioning courses. We will continue this work on finding ways to get relevant information on class schedules with more advanced notice, therefore increasing the chances of fulfilling those requests.
HOW CAN I HELP?
GIS is proud to be a part of the Gallaudet community. We have experienced the powerful synergy that happens when the university comes together toward a common vision. You are critical to the success of GIS being able to meet the communication needs of the university as a whole. Below are some individual actions you can take that will have a significant impact on our ability to fill requests across campus:
- Request in Advance: We are much more likely to find someone who is available with advance notice. Optimal advance notice is two weeks for regular requests and at least four weeks for large events requiring several interpreters.
- Consult with GIS before Scheduling Large Events: As you can see, there are times that are busier than others, and we may be better able to meet your need if you consult with our scheduling team before setting the dates for your event.
- Allow for Flexibility in Scheduling: If you haven’t consulted with us, it’s possible that we’ll reach out to you during busy times. The schedule is better able to accommodate requests if you’re able to choose a different event time, or shift your start and/or end time.
- Be As Detailed As Possible: When you are filling out the request form, be as detailed as possible about the description of your event, the room format, and who the main players are and their specific roles (for example, is this person a participant, a presenter or an audience member). We utilize this information to determine the number of interpreters to assign, and who is most appropriate for the assignment.
- Cancel When Services Are Not Needed: If you have interpreters scheduled to work with you ongoing, call us and cancel their services at times when you don’t need them, such as for tests, field trips, working groups etc.
WHO DO I CONTACT FOR QUESTIONS OR SUGGESTIONS?
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work to meet the communication needs of the Gallaudet community. We are open to any further ideas, suggestions or assistance you have to offer. Please contact us with your suggestions.
- Yoshiko ‘Koko’ Chino, Director
firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-651-5511 (v), 202-250-2807 (vp)
- Jeffrey Hardison, Interpreting Service Manager
email@example.com, 202-651-4545 (v), 202-250-2849 (vp)
- Laureen Obermiller, Operations Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-250-2176 (vp)
- Kamille Malone, Scheduling Supervisor
email@example.com, 202-651-5748 (v), 202-250-2550 (vp)
- Dale Withrow, Community Interpreting and Auxiliary Services Supervisor
firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-651-6099 (v), 202-540-8539 (vp)