Gallaudet University and Western Piedmont Community College hold articulation agreement signing ceremony

June 01, 2017

Author: B. Mutisya Nzyuko, '16

On May 24, 2017, Gallaudet University and Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) of Morganton, North Carolina, established a collaborative agreement which allows students in WPCC's Associate of Applied Science in Interpreter Education degree program to transfer credits into Gallaudet's Bachelor of Arts in Interpretation program.

Dr. Melanie Metzger, G-'93, chair of the Department of Interpretation and Translation, opened the articulation agreement signing ceremony by thanking WPCC for its collaboration with Gallaudet University.

"Our goal is to enable WPCC graduates to become qualified interpreters," said Metzger. Our hope is that through this agreement, WPCC graduates will easily be able to enter our interpretation program and become stellar interpreters through the unique, immersive culture that Gallaudet has to offer. Our interpreters are always improving, always learning everyday."

Speaking at the ceremony, which was conducted via video conferencing, President Roberta J. Cordano lauded the collaboration, noting that too many deaf and hard of hearing people do not have access to qualified and skilled interpreters. She emphasized that the goal of this collaboration is to shift this paradigm by doing "our part to ensure that deaf people around the U. S. have equal access to communication."

"Sign language interpreters provide critical access to the deaf community," Cordano said while highlighting the uniqueness of Gallaudet University as the right place for WPCC's students to come to further their education because of its immersive, bilingual environment of ASL and English.

WPCC President, Dr. Michael S. Helmick noted that this collaboration enabled WPCC's graduates to proceed to Gallaudet to further obtain the necessary education and skills to become qualified interpreters.

Also attending the signing ceremony on Gallaudet's behalf were Dr. Khadijat Rashid, ‘90, interim dean, School of Education, Business and Human Services; Dr. Genie Gertz, ‘92, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Keith Cagle, B.A. in Interpretation program coordinator. Working together to ensure success of the ceremony were Lisa Jacobs, ‘81, director, Office of National Outreach; JoAnn Benfield, ‘06, ‘09, & G-'11, director, Gallaudet University Regional Center-South; Laura Willey-Saunders, Transfer/Articulation coordinator, Office of the Registrar; and Tony Ellis, technical support specialist, Department of Interpretation. WPCC representatives accompanying Helmick included Vice President Rhia Crawford; Dean Leslie McKesson, Interpreter Educational Program chair; Danette Steelman-Bridges; and ASL instructor Jaime Marshall Staley, ‘99, G-'01.

Gallaudet is the only university in the world to offer interpretation programs from the bachelor's level to the doctorate level within a sign language immersive environment. Gallaudet's 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.

Graduates from Gallaudet's interpretation degree programs work in a variety of settings for organizations, individuals, and government agencies. Alumni of the programs work in settings such as business, education, government, theater, medicine, law, healthcare, 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 Center for the Advancement of Interpretation and Translation Research includes a library, filming rooms, and student research bays with video and statistical software.

Gallaudet has similar agreements with the following colleges:

Northern Virginia Community College, Springfield, Virginia
John A. Logan College, Carterville, Illinois
Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, North Carolina
Austin Community College, Austin, Texas
Front Range Community College, Westminster, Colorado
Ohlone College, Fremont, California.