TROY—Troy University and Alabama Dual Party Relay Board officials today jointly announced a partnership that will provide additional funding for the University’s Interpreter Training Program.
The program provides a bachelor of science degree in education to students seeking to become interpreters for the deaf. Eventually, the College of Education will house a Center on Deafness on its Troy Campus.
The Alabama Dual Party Relay Board will provide $300,000 per year for five years to help provide the degree program to interested students. Included in the program is a technology initiative to equip a language learning laboratory.
“The Alabama Dual Party Relay Board is excited about the opportunity to establish this partnership with Troy University and invest in an academic program that will increase the number of interpreters in our state,” said Judy McLean, the board’s chairperson. “Alabama’s deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this long-term investment.”
The 120 semester-hour program, approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in March 2008, began accepting students into the program this semester.
“This partnership will have a great impact on the quality of life and educational opportunities that our deaf citizens enjoy,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., the University’s Chancellor who served as president of the Alabama Institute for the Blind and Deaf for 10 years before taking over the helm at TROY.
Dr. Hawkins said the grant will help solve the “acute problem” created by a shortage of qualified interpreters, as Alabama has approximately 40,000 deaf or hard-of-hearing citizens and only 204 licensed interpreters to serve them.