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How To Learn Sign Language

Front Range Community College, UNC Team Up to Deliver Sign-Language Program

Hello, my name is Susan Faltinson the Director of the Front Range
Community College Interpreter Preparation Program. Over the last forty years, FRCC
has had a proud heritage of teaching our students to become
sign language interpreters. FRCC is a two-year program that allows
students to come to campus to study, work hard and, ultimately,
achieve graduation. We have noticed for the past 10 to
15 years, our students contributed a great deal of effort into graduating
with their Associate degrees; yet, changes in the interpreting field
requiring interpreters have higher standards of practice have made it
difficult for community college graduates to obtain industry standard credentials. The 2019-2020 academic year will be the
last year of interpreting coursework and the final cohort will be the last
interpreter graduates from FRCC. In 2018, I attended the
international CIT Conference (Conference of Interpreter Trainers). As national standards of interpreters
have been raised, there is consensus among interpreter educators that
ASL-English interpreter education should migrate to the bachelor level. When we returned from the CIT Conference,
we at FRCC had many lengthy discussions regarding these changes and
agreed that it was the appropriate time to change. What does that mean? FRCC and
the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) will forge a new partnership. Of course FRCC will continue to offer
courses in American Sign Language as well as their catalogue of general
education courses. But the interpreter skills courses will no longer be offered
here at FRCC. Now those students that have their Associate of Applied
Science (AA) will be able to transfer to the UNC B.A.
in Interpreting Program. Hello, my name is Barbara Garrett,
I am the Director of the ASL and Interpreting Studies at
the University of Northern Colorado. The ASLIS Program has been teaching
interpreting skills for the past 20 years. For the past 12 years we have offered
the B.A. Degree in ASL-English. Our program has been highly regarded for
many years and we are extremely proud of all of those individuals that have
been involved since its inception. FRCC has been successfully training
interpreters for the past 40 years. Their program and those involved
are also highly regarded. We feel very honored to establish this
partnership with them with the goal of elevating the national standards for
sign language interpreters; and the ultimate goal remains improving our
interpreting students’ skills and elevating the quality of services
for the Deaf Community. Following the CIT Convention, many
conversations between Susan and I, the FRCC faculty and the UNC faculty. In
the end, through intensive collaboration, both institutions have forged an amazing
partnership that will benefit future generation of interpreting students. The
executive leadership at FRCC and UNC have officially signed the articulation
agreement creating the pathway for FRCC graduates to smoothly transition to UNC.
We are looking forward to this new and wonderful partnership. We are looking forward to this
partnership for many years to come. Hello, I am Kellie Stewart, ASLEI Program
Coordinator for the B.A. Degree and also teach courses in the
interpreting program here at UNC. My duties as Program Director
are more focused on the interpreter education curriculum. We are truly looking forward to this new
agreement and partnership between FRCC and UNC. It is a wonderful opportunity
for students to begin their journey at FRCC, complete two years, obtain
their A.A. degree with an emphasis in ASL. They will be able to take two years of
ASL courses, as well as their general education courses. Students at FRCC will
be able to complete ASL 1-4, these foundational classes will prepare them
for the Demonstration of Competencies Test (DOC) required to enter the Program.
This DOC will measure expressive and receptive skills as well as general
knowledge of Deaf Culture. This test will show us if candidates are
ready for the advanced ASL 5. If candidates pass the assessment they
will then be admitted to the Interpreting Program at UNC. Once students have applied and been
accepted into the interpreting program they will then have two program options.
Online or campus instruction. The online program is designed for those
students that may have geographical challenges or be unable to move, for
various reasons, to take classes. The other option is to move
to locally, live in the dorms, and take campus-based courses. Students that have taken and successfully
passed general education courses at FRCC, those credits will transfer
with them to UNC, and they will have completed those general
education courses. Interpreting students have two different
options for specialization within our program. Community Interpreting or
K-12 Interpreting. These specializations are also available to our
online and campus students. Something to note, when FRCC students
transfer to UNC one of the program requirements is for interpreting students
to attend three 4-week summer semesters on campus. FRCC transfer students first summer
semester will be ASL 7 and then progress for subsequent summer semesters. These
summer semesters are a wonderful opportunity for the online and campus
students to meet one another and have an intensive 4-week
academic experience. That gives you a quick snapshot of what
your journey from FRCC to UNC will look like. We look forward to a
wonderful partnership and seeing our FRCC transfer students graduate with a
B.A. Degree in Interpreting. Hello, my name is Michelle Stricklen and
I am the ASL Lead here at Front Range Community College. We are so thrilled
with the journey our program has had here at FRCC for the past 40 years. We value all of our former directors,
instructors, lab coordinators, students, tutors and everyone that has been
involved. We cherish each and every one of you. Now there is a new exciting change on the
horizon. The reason I am looking forward to this new opportunity is that
a two-year program is not enough to develop full language fluency, mastery
of the interpreting process and academic ASL. We want to provide the best instruction
for students to acquire language and develop interpreting prowess. The best
way to do this is with a 4-year degree from UNC. Everyone here at FRCC
recognizes the need to continue to elevate the national standards in
respect to interpreting. Those FRCC students that graduate with
their AA Degree in general studies can then transfer for UNC for a degree
in ASL-English Interpretation. This foundation will prepare
them for their future. Hello, my name is Pauline Ballentine
and I am responsible for ASL Program coordination as well as
the ASL Minor. This new partnership between UNC
and FRCC is an amazing opportunity. I am one of the instructors for the
interpreting program. I am also a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) and
will also be one of your instructors. I have been working with FRCC to
ensure that the ASL Curriculum offered at FRCC matches perfectly
with the curriculum here at UNC. So, when students make that transition
from FRCC to UNC it will be seamless. I look forward to meeting and
working with you! A wonderful partnership!

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