neRID was recently asked to participate in a more united effort around the news that Iowa Wester Community College (IWCC) would stop offering its Interpreter Training Program (ITP). The question, “Are we united in helping IWCC keep the ITP?” Input was sought from the Nebraska Association of the Deaf (NeAD), the Iowa Association of the Deaf (IAD), Deaf Coalition of Iowa, Carolyn Cool, Dr. Julie Delkamiller and neRID. The committee is open to others who are interested.

A meeting was set for September 5 at 1 PM in Council Bluffs, IA. I sent out an e-mail to the neRID Board and asked them of their availability to attend or to ask someone they knew who would be willing to attend. neRID’s Student Representative, Kacy Sutton agreed to go (yea!). Below are some of her observations:

“Here is my recap of what I took away from the meeting today.
The opinions between the group were kind of split about the ITP at IWCC. A few people thought that fighting for the ITP isn’t worth it. Two-year programs have been closing all around us because of the need of a BA in order to be nationally certified.
Some people think that the program needs to be kept because there are many students who want to enter the program. There are 42 students on the wait list right now. The issue is that out of the 42 that graduate only a few will become RID certified.
Overall, everyone agreed that regardless of the ITP decision, IWCC should and needs to separate ASL classes from the ITP. Right now the only students who can take ASL classes are students who are in the ITP. If the program closes then that also closes ASL classes. If ASL classes are separated from the program then any student interested in learning ASL can take ASL class. This could then lead to students who are seriously interested in learning more about Deaf Culture, Interpreting, or Deaf Education moving on to a four-year program to major in those  areas.
Bob (Robert Vizzini of Deaf Coalition) emphasized the importance of approaching the IWCC board as a whole because as a whole a lot of area is covered. It would include Nebraska representatives, Iowa representatives, students, and educators.
Pete (Dr. Pete Seiler of NeAD) suggested that a proposal be composed. The proposal would suggest a three-year plan for the ITP. This would give the program some time to improve its quality and make its weaker areas stronger. The proposal would also suggest the separation of ASL class from the ITP.”
Kacy indicated that she took notes as best she could, and, of course, we apologize if something was misunderstood. If that is the case, I will make sure to clarify that information.
One super positive came out of all of this. I am very grateful to Kacy for being a student in the profession of interpreting and already going above and beyond the “basic role of an interpreter.” She acknowledges that it was a very beneficial experience for her getting to participate in the Deaf Community.
Thanks and great job Kacy!