Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Troy University gets $1.5 million for interpreters for the deaf

Source Link - Troy University gets $1.5 million for interpreters for the deaf



The Alabama Dual Party Relay Board will give Troy University $1.5 million over five years to fund its training program for interpreters for the deaf.

The program allows Troy students to get an bachelor’s degree in education for interpreters for the deaf. The university hopes to eventually establish a center on deafness at the Troy campus.

The program was started last year with a $250,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Education. State funding dried up when the recession hit, so the new funding was a lifesaver for the program.

“What you have done is to give second life,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “Without your commitment this wouldn’t be possible.”

There are about 40,000 deaf people in Alabama and only 204 licensed interpreters. In 2012, all interpreters will need a four-year degree to obtain licensure.

“There is an acute need there, and this addresses the problem,” Hawkins said.

About 100 students are enrolled in the bachelor’s program for interpreters for the deaf, up from 25 the previous year. Lance Tatum, Troy University dean of education, said Troy would be able to deliver the program via distance education, allowing students at its satellite campuses around the world to enroll in the program.

Judy McLean, chairman of the Alabama Dual Party Relay Board, said Troy’s worldwide reach and its distance learning capabilities were what drew the board to partner with Troy. McLean said there’s a demand for interpreters for the deaf among companies, schools, government agencies and other organizations.

The Alabama Dual Party Relay Board was founded in 1986 to establish a way for the hearing impaired to receive telephone service. A surcharge of 15 cents per customer on Alabama landline phone bills funds the board.