The best universities for learning American Sign Language Interpreting were announced this Wednesday, November 9, 2016. The prestigious award for excellence in their academic programs was given to St. Catherine University and Augustana University, by Sorenson Communications, LLC.
Sorenson Communications, LLC is better known as the company that revolutionized Video Relay Service (VRS) communications for Deaf people. Their award for Excellence and Innovation in Interpreter Education is a prestigious one.
The Interpreter Education Program (IEP) at St. Catherine University of St. Paul, Minnesota, was selected as the winner for the 2014-2015 academic school year, while the IEP at Augustana University of Sioux Falls, S.D., was selected for the 2015-2016 academic year. Both of these universities were honored at the Conference of Interpreter Trainers.
The winners are chosen according to varying criteria, but mainly goes to schools that go above and beyond typical education standards, that harnesses technology and incorporate interaction with the Deaf community in their academic programs.
Any school that runs a two-year and four-year degree in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada can apply. The winners are traditionally showcased among their peers at the Innovator Showcase, in Salt Lake City. The winners also receive a sizable monetary grant, and sophisticated materials to reinvest in their programs.
Sorenson founded their award of Excellence and Innovation in Interpreter Education to recognize the achievements of IEPs working hard to raise interpreter education standards. Ever since 2009, Sorenson has supported this program, helping to enhance the quality of professional interpreting and provide the Deaf with the most professional interpreters.
Paula Gajewski Mickelson, Chairperson of the ASL and Interpreting Department for St. Catherine University believes that the success of her program is achieved through cooperation. Their department works alongside the Deaf community, interpreting community, students and alumni to improve students’ experience while at the university.
Augustana University is lucky to have the support of both South Dakota and its Deaf community. Augustana’s language lab is staffed with Deaf people who help to mentor interpreting students throughout the course. Marlee Dyce, IEP director says that students have to get ready for a change in lifestyle when they enroll in the IEP course, as it’s a big commitment.
Chris Wakeland, vice president of interpreting at Sorenson Communications, says, “We are proud to be part of increasing access for Deaf and hearing people to connect by ensuring better-trained and socially-conscience interpreters.”
American Sign Language (ASL) is a noble language to learn and can really help to bridge a gap between the Deaf and hearing. Sorenson’s Program is a great incentive for colleges and students alike to develop their skills as an ASL interpreter.