Front Range Community College, UNC Team Up to Deliver Sign-Language Program
November 5, 2019
A partnership between the University of Northern Colorado and Front Range Community College is one of the first in the state that allows students to take American Sign Language courses that apply to a bachelor’s degree program while working on an associate degree.
After earning their credential from FRCC, students enrolled in the program transfer to UNC to earn their bachelor’s in ASL-English Interpreting Studies. FRCC fully aligned its curriculum with UNC to make the transition process smooth.
“It’s a win-win because it allows students to start their degree closer to home and learn the language first, so they’re saving money while having their credits transfer to UNC,” said Kellie Stewart (image at right), the UNC ASL-English Interpreting program coordinator and an assistant professor. “This will better prepare them for the field by having the opportunity to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, which is now required.”
In 2012, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf began requiring a bachelor’s degree in order for prospective interpreters to sit for the national professional certification exam. Previously, interpreter training required a two-year associate degree.
“The foundation of language is important, and that’s been the biggest challenge: you can’t rush language acquisition,” said Susan Faltinson (image at left), the Interpreter Preparation Program director at FRCC, who assisted in the development of this partnership along with Barbara Garrett, Ph.D., director of UNC’s ASL and Interpreting Studies Department. “To better serve the deaf community, we need high-quality, high-competency students, and the students need the right amount of time to successfully get to that level.”