Since its founding in 1864, Gallaudet University (GU) has offered a unique, American Sign Language and English bilingual learning environment for faculty, students, and staff. The University’s Board of Trustees affirmed by adopting a new mission that fosters an intentional, inclusive and supportive environment in 2007.

Ever since, GU is more committed to underscoring the advantages of bilingualism for deaf and hard of hearing students, and thereby transforming from an historical “default bilingualism” to a dynamic model of “intentional and inclusive bilingualism.” The Center of Bilingual Teaching and Learning (CBTL) was established in August 2014 to support faculty and staff in developing capacity to engage in best practices in bilingual teaching and learning.

However, the need to support other stakeholders such as students, alumni and friends became more prevalent. President Cordano appointed Dr. Laurene Simms as the interim Chief Bilingual Officer (CBO) in January 2020.


As university experiences evolve, Gallaudet University is more dedicated than ever to delivering a top-notch bilingual education in a successful, nurturing environment where our Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind and DeafDisabled stakeholders can thrive openly in American Sign Language (ASL) and written English.


Members of the Gallaudet community will have the ability to address and resolve complex problems, to contribute to professional and social networks, to understand the importance of physical and emotional wellness, and finally to learn for the rest of their lives and careers through the lens of ASL and English bilingualism, diversity, equity and inclusion.