News of the BS/BA degree in American Sign Language/English Interpreting
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Alumni gather for scholarship fundraiser
Alumni of WOU's ASL/English Interpreting program gather for a scholarship fundraiser.
May 22, 2010 -- Several alumni of the American Sign Language/ English Interpreting program at WOU gathered in the Pacific Room for a silent auction to raise funds for the Di Finklein Memorial Scholarship. In the front is Debi Duren, long-time instructor in the program, now on faculty at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.
Program earns excellence award, praise
The Sorenson Video Relay Services (SVRS) Interpreter Education Program Award of Excellence went to WOU's ASL/English Interpreting Program at the Conference of Interpreter Trainers held in October. The honor recognizes WOU's ongoing efforts to enhance and broaden communication with the deaf community and includes $10,000 for curriculum and training. Read the Sorensen VRS press release.
Funding will be used to recruit and train personnel
By Justin Much � Statesman Journal, Sept. 18, 2008
Western Oregon University received two grants in August that will help finance scholarships and ultimately provide significant help for hearing-impaired students. The Teaching Research Institute and the Regional Resource Center on Deafness each were awarded $800,000 ($1.6 million total) during the course of four years by the Office of Special Education Programs. The funding is to recruit and train personnel to meet the needs of deaf students. The grant awards were among 23 that were awarded nationally.
"We were in a competition with many other programs, and we ranked high enough to receive the funds," said Elisa Maroney, the coordinator of the American Sign Language/English Interpreting
Program. "The majority of the funds go to student stipends."
One grant helps support the university's ASL/English Interpreting program, which prepares interpreters to serve hard of hearing and deaf children in education. The funding provides stipends that cover the majority of tuition expenses for qualified students in the program. Both grants will address a critical shortage of qualified personnel in low-incidence disabilities with particular emphasis on simultaneous vision and hearing impairment.
"Children with deaf-blindness have immense and diverse learning needs," said Ella Taylor, the project director for Helen Keller Fellows. HKF is a collaborative effort among WOU's Teaching Research Institute and nine other universities nationwide that addresses the shortage.
"This program will train teachers in effective strategies to help these students learn. Our goal is to lessen the gap between children with deaf-blindness and the professional expertise required to meet
their educational needs."
The ASL/English Interpreting program is the only bachelor's degree interpreter education program in the Pacific Northwest, but it attracts students from throughout the United States . Traditionally,
half of the accepted students are selected from other states and transfer to WOU to complete this major.
WOU also participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, which provides out-of-state tuition reductions to students in participating Western states.
The degree program is housed in WOU's Regional Resource Center on Deafness, along with six other deafness-related degree, continuing education, and technical assistance programs.
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