Gallaudet partners with Central Piedmont Community College to Enhance Educational Opportunities for Future Sign Language Interpreters

Image: Gallaudet interpreting students in the classroom.

Gallaudet interpreting students in the classroom.

Image: Students working on an assignment in class.

Students working on an assignment in class.

Gallaudet University has established a collaborative agreement with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte, North Carolina, to enhance educational opportunities for future sign language interpreters. The partnership allows students in the two-year Associate in Applied Science degree in Interpretation Education program at CPCC to transfer credits into Gallaudet's four-year Bachelor of Arts in Interpretation (BAI) program. Students will live, study, and interact with deaf and hard of hearing people from the United States and abroad on Gallaudet's bilingual campus. 

Gallaudet is the only university in the world that offers both undergraduate (B.A.) and graduate degrees (M.A. and Ph.D.) in interpretation studies within a sign language immersive environment. Gallaudet's recently renovated and award-winning interactive interpretation laboratories prepare students for a high-demand career through hands-on training in a variety of medical, business, education, and government settings.

"Our unique linguistic and cultural immersion is one of the many strengths of our interpretation degree programs," said Dr. Melanie Metzger, chair of the Gallaudet Department of Interpretation. "Our goal through this agreement is for CPCC graduates to earn a bachelor's degree at Gallaudet and then to take those skills with them throughout the country to provide high-quality interpretation services to the deaf and hard of hearing community."  

"CPCC is proud to be the first community college to enter into an articulation agreement with Gallaudet University's Bachelors in Interpreting Program, providing our students with a clear pathway to complete their four-year degree in ASL-English Interpreting.  By further honing the fine skills acquired at CPCC, students who continue their studies at Gallaudet will enjoy increased employment and leadership opportunities, becoming practitioners who can serve the deaf and hard of hearing community in more challenging and advanced settings," said Dr. Tony Zeiss, CPCC President.

"As a deaf person who grew up with little to no access to interpreters, I understand the hardships many deaf and hard of hearing people face if they do not have a competent sign language interpreter present during doctor's appointments, in classes, and other important meetings," said Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz. "This partnership is one of the ways our institutions are ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing people around the country receive adequate and quality interpreting services."

The need for skilled interpreters became an issue of international interest last December during the Nelson Mandela memorial service in South Africa. The service's official sign language interpreter did not interpret the speakers' comments into any discernable language and the global deaf community was outraged. Dr. Metzger and BAI program coordinator Dr. Keith Cagle were sought out by national media outlets such as CNN, USA TODAY, and The Washington Post to comment on the controversy.

"The Mandela service brought to the forefront a very serious issue deaf and hard of hearing people around the world face - a lack of qualified sign language interpreters," said Dr. Cagle. "We look forward to welcoming CPCC students to Gallaudet as they pursue their dreams of becoming professional interpreters. In the long run, skilled interpreters serve all of us, both hearing and deaf, by ensuring people communicate, interact, and work together successfully."

Graduates from Gallaudet's interpretation degree programs work in a variety of settings for organizations, individuals, and government agencies. Alumni have gone on to start their own businesses, receiving contract work in settings such as business, education, government, theatre, medicine, law, health care, and video relay. 

The interpretation classes are optimized for ASL medium teaching and classrooms are equipped to serve the needs of the rapidly advancing field of interpretation. The department's amenities include tools that allow for recording live and interactive interpreting role play, video conferencing for national and global collaboration among students and faculty, and private recording booths and central computer stations for individual and class activities. The department also houses the Center for the Advancement of Interpretation and Translation Research, which includes a library, filming rooms, video relay services (VRS) simulation center, and student research bays with video and statistical software.

To learn more about Gallaudet's Bachelor of Arts in Interpretation program, click here.

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.Central Piedmont Community College is one of the largest community colleges in the Carolinas, offering nearly 300 degree, diploma and certification programs, customized corporate training, market-focused continuing education, and special interest classes.

CPCC is academically, financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of Mecklenburg County. CPCC responds to the workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers through innovative educational and training strategies. Established in 1963, CPCC has provided more than 50 years of service to Mecklenburg County residents, business and industry. For more information, see

Gallaudet Contact: 
Kaitlin Luna, Coordinator of Media and Public Relations
(202) 448-7106 voice
(202) 250-2973 videophone
(585) 507-1705 mobile/text

CPCC Contact:
Jeff Lowrance, Public Information Officer & Assistant to the President
(704) 330-6660 office
(704) 650-0558 mobile

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