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Dec 9, 2022
The Gallaudet Promise
Excellence in Learning and Discovery
Gallaudet’s 10-Year Vision (2020-2030)
[Video Transcript Start]
[Video presented in English and ASL]
What is the Gallaudet Promise?
It is a [vision]
toward a sustainable and vibrant experience
for our University.
Gallaudet Promise is a beacon to impact and elevate the community
of Deaf, Deaf Blind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing people,
and all of humanity.
[End Video Transcript]
It is a vision toward a sustainable and vibrant experience for our University, which is a beacon to impact and elevate the community of Deaf, Deaf Blind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing people, and all of humanity.
[Video Transcript Start][Video presented in English and ASL]
My purpose as a Black Deaf woman,
I want to provide a safe space for my students.
“…strong for all students…”
When they need support,
they can come see me,
and know that I will be there for them.
I will fight for them
and do whatever necessary to help my students
to be able to trust someone and feel,
“Oh, that person allows me to belong here.”
You belong here.
there are many Deaf Asians
in the higher education sector.
There is an awareness of their work, roles and achievements.
But how did they get there?
What are their stories of how they overcome those challenges?
We don’t know this.
Looking back on my use of English
and now as an English professor at Gallaudet,
teaching, writing and communicating in English,
people often look at me and remark,
“You are very fluent in English.
Obviously, you were born and raised here in the US.”
I’m puzzled by this.
They asked, “Is English your first language?”
“No,” I replied.
English is my third language.
I moved here from another country.
I learned English late.
I started learning when I was 11.
They asked, “How is it that you’re teaching English here?”
“…also one story seems based in ancient China…”
It is my goal to collect those different stories
of challenges and struggles
and how to overcome them.
Those stories will be gathered
with the goal of them given
to the next Asian Deaf generation.
So they can read the stories
and feel they are not alone in their journey,
and there are others to connect with.
Part of Gallaudet’s transformation
is the commitment to the research infrastructure
for faculty, students and staff.
That involves me doing this work
supporting an array of activities,
like providing grant writing support,
whatever they need to successfully propose
a grant to secure funding.
In the past,
Gallaudet would get up to
$5 million dollars each year in grants.
In the past couple of years,
we’ve been able to secure around $15 million
from the greater community.
This is a great accomplishment.
I’m looking into the future,
to be involved in that continued support.
That support includes training activities
and mentoring activities
to rejuvenate and nurture
the Deaf-centered research community.
This has to happen,
because as a researcher myself,
I understand what the research journey looks like,
what we need,
and what support you need
to become successful researchers.
And also to make high-impact,
that helps our community understand
and broaden the experiences
of the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing and others
with diverse backgrounds and identities.
Gallaudet is my home.
Gallaudet is the place where I grew.
It is where I found my calling.
What was it?
It was to connect with people.
In my work,
we try to connect with alumni out in the world
instead of alumni coming on campus,
only in person.
The world is changing.
The pandemic proved that
we can connect virtually.
“…I thought that 5 minute thing
was more for social media to go viral…”
“…oh! The vision is clear…”
I feel that a vital part of my work
here at Gallaudet about alumni
is to make sure that opportunities are presented
to our alumni to continue their learning,
especially as bilinguals in ASL and English.
[Start Video Transcript]
Gallaudet University and its communities are in a transformative state of “becoming.”
Gallaudet has committed to a path of becoming that serves as a beacon
for the University communities’ values,
work, and opportunities for discovery and advancement.
Gallaudet University and its communities are in a transformative state of “becoming”. Gallaudet has committed to a path of becoming that serves as a beacon for the University communities’ values, work, and opportunities for discovery and advancement.
In this video, President Cordano President Cordano reviews the different parts of the Gallaudet Promise: The Five Grand ChallengesThree ImperativesThree PrioritiesThe Phase One Strategic Plan
Gallaudet and Clerc Center were established
after the US Congress gave us the responsibility
of committing to propelling and advancing
the lives of Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Hard-of-Hearing,
Late-Deafened people and people of different intersectional identities.
I will refer to this cohort as Deaf on a spectrum of identities.
We have been committed to raising standards,
in order to create a sign ecosystem here in America, and around the world.
Now, we look to the future.
What does it look like?
What are we transforming to?
We have established a new vision for 2020 to 2030.
This transformative vision is called the ‘Gallaudet Promise.’
The purpose of the Gallaudet Promise is to inspire commitment to action.
An additional Gallaudet promise is that we can continue to grow.
We will refer to this definition of the Gallaudet Promise.
When we think about and participate in conversations about the Gallaudet Promise,
it is important we ask questions about what this new transformation, new becoming, means.
Suppose Gallaudet and Clerc Center was a lighthouse on a rocky coast.
To make the light beam confidently into the darkness,
what would be the energy, charge or call to duty to feed that light?
It is our excellence in learning and discovery.
That’s its’ driving force.
What does this excellence mean?
What do we need to do for the Gallaudet Promise to succeed?
The Gallaudet Promise has identified five Grand Challenges.
The five Grand Challenges help us envision what we need to do to make an impact.
Our community has great potential for advancement.
How do we shine a light on that potential for advancement?
How do we support each student to find their own beacon?
How do we support each student to impact the world with the brilliance of their beacon?
While we discuss about the Gallaudet Promise,
we recognize that the Gallaudet Promise’s vision is not stationary.
The vision will evolve, and you will evolve too.
As Gallaudet and Clerc Center evolves, we will see that beacon shining ever brighter,
creating bright pathways for our community and young people from birth throughout their lives.
Now I want us to dive into this vision with more detail.
The Gallaudet Promise has four important parts:
The first part is a column called the five Grand Challenges.
The second part from the bottom are called the three Imperatives.
The third part from the side are the three Priorities.
The last part is the phases timeline.
There are three parts and we are now at Phase One.
The Gallaudet Promise is an opportunity for us to articulate
what is possible for us to fully realize our potential,
amid different limitations, both internal and external.
We recognize the gaps that often prevent us from fully realizing our potential.
Those gaps are identified within our Gallaudet Promise by the five Grand Challenges.
How do we take on these five Grand Challenges?
How can our priorities in this vision address those specific challenges?
How must we change, learn and develop our awareness through the Imperatives?
It’s really based on our values.
The Imperatives grow as we push it through everything we do,
with the right values, approach and awareness.
We must closely follow all three parts
to make sure we can address these five unique Great Challenges.
If we fully embody the three Imperatives to carry out the three Priorities,
By the year 2030, our work may look different than it does today, and it should,
But our three Priorities and impacts should look almost the same.
We will look different because of our three Imperatives,
and our learning related to those three Imperatives.
Those five Great Challenges give us the golden opportunity to seize our visual language,
to seize our creative spirit,
to seize our way of being, that Deaf intersectional Way.
Now is our moment here at Gallaudet and Clerc Center.
We are becoming.
That intersectional Deaf Way is being propelled into the future.
We as Deaf people know how to innovate to succeed in life.
That is the Deaf Intersectional Way.
We want to proudly broadcast how the Deaf Intersectional Way can impact the world everyday.
We must lift the lives and experiences
of all Deaf people of different intersectional identities, wherever they are.
Let’s grab this opportunity to brightly shine this beacon on those five Grand challenges
and transform those challenges into opportunities.
We must embed our imperatives while being steadfast to our priorities.
If we turn these challenges into opportunities,
Our beacon will light up the world beautifully
for our people and the Intersectional Deaf Way.
Come. Let’s collectively advance together, to shine our inner lights and create a bright future.
Let us show excellence, learning and discovery through our story.
First Grand Challenge —
Demonstrating the benefits of an ASL and English education.
We have many years of research-backed evidence
showing it is crucial for children from birth to 21
who have received a bilingual education in ASL and English
and is essential to their lifelong success.
How do we demonstrate this value more often
by expanding opportunities
for those children to learn bilingually
in ASL and English?
Second Grand Challenge —
Expanding the impact of Gallaudet’s creative edge.
How do we do this?
Gallaudet and Clerc Center offers many innovations
and new ways of understanding
the impact of deaf people and sign languages across the world.
We Deaf people have diverse identities and multiple sign languages.
All over the world, our communities experience rich cultures and languages.
How do we gather and share our unique perspectives with the world?
We can spread our innovations and understanding in many ways,
including creativity in the arts,
technologies, academics and teaching practices.
At Gallaudet and Clerc Center,
something amazing and creative happens everyday.
How do we branch out and impact the whole world
with what we create in this unique university?
Third Grand Challenge –
Realizing the value of Deaf people
across the spectrum of identities.
Imagine a world where we can display
diverse Deaf people
across the spectrum of identities
and yet everyone contributes equally.
Everyone is valued,
and people recognize talents in others, and learn from each other.
We must take the beauty of diversity within our community,
and all the identities and intersectionalities,
and use it to advance our community and benefit the world.
They can and need to learn from us and our work,
what we do together.
It’s important to show them that.
Our experiences — how we live and interact with each other,
we need to use it to invest in our children and students
so that they can learn our collective values.
We must all be valued.
When we invest in our children,
they will grow and we will all share our achievements with the world.
How can we improve our community,
and continue to share our community with the world?
That is our challenge.
Fourth Grand Challenge —
Creating pathways to success for Gallaudet students and graduates.
Every and each member within our Deaf community
across the diverse spectrum of identities
have their own journeys, each one unique.
Gallaudet strives to shine a light
on this process of self-discovery.
Each student’s inner agency
is a beacon that triggers a light within all of us,
and that collective light forms a natural path for others to start their self-discovery journey.
As we light our students’ paths, they in turn will light the future.
That light will then shine back onto us too.
With each of us shining our light on the world, it will be beautiful.
That shared light is also a symbol of something important:
We arrive to school without that inner light.
The light of bilingual education and diverse Deaf role models
brightens the light within us.
This makes us successful and allows us to learn and thrive.
We are able to be successful with skills in English, writing, ASL, reading,
which allows us to learn and advance.
We will be able to self-reflect too.
Our students come into the world uncertain about who they are
until their light comes on from our collective community support.
Living and working to support our young people in this world.
What is our duty within the Gallaudet Promise?
How do we ensure that Deaf people of all identities,
from birth to PhD and beyond,
can access and experience that light within themselves?
Fifth Grand Challenge —
Cultivating and producing opportunities
in both ASL and English-based economies.
After years of development, the US market share of the sign language ecosystem
is estimated to be valued at approximately $2-3 billion dollars.
This is significant.
How do we intentionally grow the influence
our ecosystem has on the US and the world?
How can we help other sign language economies grow to their fullest potential in the world?
How do we monetize Gallaudet’s core contribution of preparing our students
to navigate and succeed in both the ASL and English based economies,
with the power to choose their opportunities
and participate in either ecosystem at their own accord?
Second, how do we utilize this ecosystem to see and build wealth
from our unique contributions to the world?
We can raise the quality of life and standards of living
for all Deaf people of different identities
to equitably have wealth and live well.
That is our important goal.
The Gallaudet Promise includes Priorities and Imperatives.
The Imperatives and Priorities in the Gallaudet Promise
have different functions,
but they work closely together.
The imperatives are
our community’s most central values.
The priorities are embedded in our daily work.
Together, they are essential for us to reach our transformational goal.
Let’s consider the following analogy about firefighters.
Their number one value, or imperative,
is to keep the public and property safe from fire hazards.
This imperative affects everything they do in their daily work.
Their daily work are their priorities.
These priorities include strategic tasks similar to staying fit,
and making sure the equipment is in working condition,
but it goes a step further.
The strategic tasks may include
making sure the equipment has the latest technologies,
enhancing emergency communication systems,
and actively engaging with the community to build trust.
Those strategic daily tasks, or priorities,
are infused with the imperatives, or values.
If they don’t follow through
with the daily work of exercise and maintaining equipment,
along with the strategic priorities of enhancing communications,
and community trust,
then their ability to do their job is impacted,
which violates their imperative of
keeping the public safe from fire hazards,
and may result in people and property being harmed.
In the same way, promoting a bilingual ASL and English environment
is one of Gallaudet’s three imperatives.
If we use or emphasize both languages,
ASL or English,
in our communication and innovative, strategic daily work
then we are aligned to our transformative vision
to elevate the Deaf community.
These three imperatives are requirements
that must be built in everything we do with our priorities.
We cannot succeed with our three priorities
until we master and integrate our imperatives.
That is what we must continually model our values
through our innovation here.
Those three imperatives that we must do,
at all times,
while embedding into our work.
The following videos will show and expand
what those imperatives and priorities are.
The Imperatives and Priorities in the Gallaudet Promise have different functions, but they work together closely. The imperatives are our community’s most central values.
The priorities are our most important work to transform Gallaudet University and the lives of deaf people of all identities. Together with the imperatives they are essential for our transformation.
Gallaudet’s bilingualism is visually-centered
and requires both signed and written languages together.
While ASL and English are predominantly used at Gallaudet,
the university embraces the diversity of languages.
A language alone by itself
is not sufficient for all linguistic functions
of life, work, and learning that the university requires.
A singular language cannot do this.
Crucially, the fluent and vibrant use of ASL and written English
as well as the dynamic interplay
between signed and written languages in other countries,
is central to the direct teaching, learning, and communication,
as well as the collective community building
that requires academic excellence
and supporting groups of
Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with other disabilities,
Hard of Hearing, and Late-Deafened people
to spark their growth.
With the Bilingual Imperative in mind,
as we conduct our bilingual work, we ask ourselves:
how do we include, and help others to embody these principles
to become the best example of a bilingual institution in everything we do?
Belonging and Equity.
This is about the rights of every person to feel like
that they belong here and in our community worldwide.
The Gallaudet community extends well beyond its schools and campus.
Gallaudet strives to be a community where people feel they belong
and contribute to the world as their authentic selves.
Gallaudet is taking actions to eradicate racism, audism,
and other -isms through the transformation of systems, and individual change.
The University and Clerc Center aims to become places where all people feel safe and valued.
This supports all members to have fair and just access and opportunities
for growth, success, and academic as well as professional fulfillment.
When thinking about the Belonging and Equity Imperative,
We ask ourselves:
What does our fight for dismantling barriers of racism, audism, and other ‘isms’
that are discriminatory in their impact look like in our day to day work at Gallaudet?
In ways that reflect the experiences of Deaf people
across the spectrum of identities,
we must further a campus-wide belief and practice
that promotes thinking, doing, and engaging in new ways
that create or add value for Gallaudet,
Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late-Deafened people,
and ultimately humanity.
When thinking about the Innovation for Impact Imperative,
what does creating an environment where courageous change,
a willingness to experiment,
and the ability to bring forth new ideas is valued and promoted?
What does creating this type of environment look like at Gallaudet University?
The Gallaudet Promise is about focusing the impact of learning
for students from birth throughout their lifetime.
Our community knows that we never stop learning.
It is a continuous process.
It is vital to provide direct learning and student experiences
through sign languages,
both socially and academically,
throughout their lifespan.
Visually rich and accessible learning spaces
is the ideal scenario
to cultivate rigorous academic communities
that promote and stimulate a love of learning,
innovative thinking, and inquiry.
This nourishes the 21st Century skills
necessary for learners to flourish
as future leaders, innovators, and change-makers
in our diverse global society to make profound change.
That design is woven throughout the student experience
from birth through all phases of life.
Extraordinary learning captures and connects the unique experiences of Deaf individuals
to create shared understanding and identity realization among the diversity of cultures,
and is embedded in all aspects of school and campus life.
Our Gallaudet University and Clerc Center
must focus on ensuring that we prepare, train,
and help people in our community to succeed.
When their learning is ready,
we are ready to provide what support is needed for their journey.
We are at the leading edge in research and discovery
about, by, and for Deaf people and visual languages.
It’s because we are investing in, creating, and disseminating
research and new knowledge
by, about, and for Deaf people and visual languages
to benefit humanity.
We conduct research and discovery innovatively
by our faculty, staff and students here at Gallaudet, extraordinarily.
Third Priority —
Signing Ecosystems and Career Success.
We have seen the benefits of promoting growth in our learners
to be successful in both sign language and English-based economies.
We must demonstrate the commitment to grow the sign language system
to match the opportunities in the English-based economy as well.
As an ecosystem, the Gallaudet community works together to advance
the socioeconomic betterment of diverse Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf-disabled,
Hard of Hearing and Late-Deafened people across the world.
Central to these efforts is the preparation and development of the student pipeline
to seize career advancement opportunities in an ever-evolving, 21st century global society.
This gives our people choices where they can pursue one economy over another,
or maneuver between the two economies freely.
That flexibility, adaptability must be an option for all people in our community
along with the diversity that comes from within our community.
The Gallaudet Promise is a vision
of what the university can become, once our beacon is shining.
We are in phase one of our strategic plan, from 2020-2023,
this means that all the work we do now will contribute to the beacon
that is Gallaudet and Clerc Center.
The base of our beacon,
set by concrete,
represents the foundation of our work that we will do until 2023.
The work in Phase One is fundamental,
as it serves as the design blueprint
to guide Gallaudet’s transformation in alignment with the Gallaudet Promise.
The Phase 1 Plan identifies and articulates our work.
It keeps us aligned with the Imperatives and Priorities
as we address our five Grand Challenges.
Phase two between 2024 to 2027 tells us where to strategically build
the metal beams, the bricks and mortar in the right place.
The third phase is the cap, glass facade and paint needed
to make Gallaudet and Clerc Center strong and bright.
All of the work is important to the completed vision;
No one task is more important than the other.
All work is equally important.
Additionally, quality is as important.
Pouring the foundation quickly before it dries, stacking on bricks quickly,
painting it fast with an uneven coat will lead
to a result that is different from our vision.
Do what you do, and do it well.
The following videos are a snapshot which shows
a close-up of this “construction zone” in our transformation.
Those videos are only a part of the overall transformation.
It is a moment, a snapshot, in the transformation period.
Those stories providing insight in different areas are linked together,
and linked to the overall goal.
All of our work is dynamic,
constantly changing and influencing each other to move forward.
This work emphasizes high-impact, cross-divisional collaborations
and connects directly to other essential work happening
in all divisions throughout the University in synergy.
Please visit the Gallaudet Promise page often to see even more stories
showing our transformation in action to build this beacon.
The five parts of the Phase 1 Plan include:
The Louise B. Miller Pathways & Gardens: A Legacy for Black Deaf Children.
We are in Phase One which sets the foundation for transformation. The Phase One Strategic Plan has five areas for our transformation.
I am Debbie Trapani.
I work as a Director of National Programs and Outreach Early Intervention at Clerc Center.
I am the only Deaf person in my hearing family.
I am now a mother to two children, one of whom is Deaf and the other, hearing.
I have worked as a professional in a range of positions, including:
family education, early childhood, elementary education,
high school teacher, literacy major,
and as an administrator for state-wide services.
As a professional who has worked in various services, and now in this position,
I have experienced the full circle.
During my many years of work, I felt frustrated with the lack of support
provided to families and professionals in various roles.
I worked hard to offer resources and information,
while also developing them since they were difficult to find.
Also, as a parent, I knew that there were resources and information out there,
but I didn’t know how to best organize and share them
with other parents of Deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
I feel my journey mirrors the people I serve.
I am extremely passionate about education,
teaching and working with a variety of people.
This led the passion behind my work in developing this portal to create a place
for sharing resources, online learning,
and networking for stakeholders, including professionals and families.
The best part is that it’s all online!
I am very thrilled because this is part of the bilingual mission,
our educational excellence and strong belief of a lifetime of learning,
from birth to 21 years old and onwards. Learning is for life.
This is where I find my sense of belonging.
My name is Elvia Guillermo Aguilar.
[INDICATES NAME SIGN]
I am from Mexico.
I moved to the United States to get a better life and education.
Upon my arrival here, I did not have a family or friends.
However, Gallaudet gave me a family.
Now, I work as a manager for Intercultural Alliances,
under the division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (DEDI).
My work involves several projects, including TAPT, IEA and IESA, and I will expand on this next.
Turn-A-Page-Together (TAPT) is an opportunity
for students, faculty, staff and alumni to gather together
and discuss books on topics related to culture, ethnicity, and Deaf culture.
Inclusive Excellence Ambassador (IEA) is an opportunity
for staff and faculty to foster a campus culture
of inclusivity that acknowledges and celebrates the diverse backgrounds,
abilities and experiences of all faculty and staff.
Inclusive Excellence Student Ambassador (IESA) is similar to the idea of IEA,
but is designed for students.
IESA gives students the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills
including emotional intelligence and empathy needed to navigate a multicultural world.
How did my passion for work in leading the antiracist work begin?
It began here, at Gallaudet University.
It started when I arrived from Mexico at the age of 29 years old.
I didn’t have a family here. I was on a journey about learning about who I was,
and discovered my identity as a Latina Mexicana Deaf Woman.
I found my family here.
In Mexico, there is classism.
My family values eurocentric culture, a mixed culture of Spain and Mexico.
I was not raised with the Mexican Indigenous history and culture.
That discovery of who I was a powerful experience.
I want other students and members of the community to have that life-changing experience
of finding who they are and their identities.
My story and culture are what motivates me to lead this antiracist work here at DEDI.
To know your story is a human right. Everyone deserves to know their story.
My name is Ardavan Guity.
I grew up in Iran and came to the U.S. for higher education in 2013.
I come from a Deaf family,
and my first language is Esharani,
the new name for Iranian Sign Language.
My second language is Farsi.
My third language is English, and my fourth is ASL.
I am currently pursuing a PhD in linguistics
Plus, I work in multiple positions.
During this journey, what made me decide to come to Gallaudet?
One day when I was a child, about 7 or 8, I arrived home to my grandparents’ house.
My grandfather was reading a book by William Stokoe.
I noticed a picture of Chapel Hall and I asked him what it was.
He tried to explain to me that it was in America,
but the concept was vague to me.
I could never forget that picture; it stayed in my dreams.
I would then grow up and begin a career in IT. Yet, I felt something was missing.
I was heavily involved with the Iranian Deaf community.
I feel a calling to contribute more
to the Deaf community about Esharani, our language.
From what I have experienced and seen,
many people think Esharani and Spoken Farsi are the same.
This is because in history, signing was banned
while oralism was enforced in all Iranian Deaf schools.
No one tells our Deaf students about this entirely different language.
There has been a lot of oppression of our sign language,
as well as of our culture and our right to accessibility.
I went my whole life without interpreters and captioning.
That changed in 2011
when I attended the World Federation of the Deaf congress in South Africa.
As I attended the different events, I noticed a big picture of Chapel Hall.
My dreams were realized, and I made up my mind to attend Gallaudet.
The course of my life was going to change.
My time at Gallaudet has only been a small portion of my life,
but I have learned so much from taking classes
and exploring multiple identities, cultures, and languages.
I was thirsty for knowledge.
It has been fully accessible with sign language in classrooms.
There is no other place like this in the world.
Upon completing my BA in Deaf Studies,
I decided to enter the linguistics program
because I want to research our sign language, Esharani.
I want to prove to others and educate that
Esharani is a natural sign language just like spoken language.
My dissertation topic is a grammatical sketch focusing on
the variation in lexicality and word order in Esharani.
I chose this focus because it is something the Deaf community needs.
My dissertation has five goals, including:
to establish linguistics research;
to develop an Esharani dictionary;
train interpreters and translators;
and finally, to provide advocacy.
My whole journey has been relatively short,
but a lot is in my bag of knowledge.
I have had many experiences, and Gallaudet has impacted me and my work.
In turn, my dissertation will impact the Iranian Deaf community.
My goal is to establish a system of bilingual education
in the future for Iranian Deaf students.
I am Melissa Malzkuhn,
founder and director of the Motion Light Lab.
I grew up in a vibrant Deaf community in the California Bay Area.
I was highly exposed to literary greats and ASL storytelling;
Our history and Deaf cultural knowledge was embedded in me.
I also understand the importance of the preserving those cultural values and knowledge
and to pass down this ‘representation’ for future generations.
That embodies my work in the lab.
Our work is designing the future.
Representation is important, and now with the proliferation of emerging technologies,
such as virtual reality, augmented reality,
and other digital landscapes, are growing.
Our virtual experiences have grown tremendously.
Our lab focuses on what the signing experience and Deaf experience looks like
in order to fuel our development of fluent signing avatars (3D characters), we create
using new motion capture technologies.
Equally important is our development of games, programs, and apps.
Our lab supports the development of bilingual storybook apps
which are research-backed on helping children develop literacy.
This is an important tool we use to train the Deaf community to take advantage of, make it our own,
and expand our library of stories, experiences and knowledge to pass on to future generations.
As representation and tools are harnessed together,
in collaboration with research and knowledge, we create our beautiful tomorrow.
My name is Evon Black.
I am leading an important upcoming project known as
I also work in the development of the Black Deaf Knowledge Studio.
My passion for this work comes
from the experience of inequality throughout my life.
As a little girl, I would walk along the train tracks to school
that segregated Black and white communities.
It is our human right to learn about the world
and experience the abundance and joy of learning.
This learning experience was taken away from me.
Similarly, this also happened to these 23 Black Deaf children.
It is important to reclaim these Black Deaf spaces
and Black Deaf experiences
in order that we may give back
the joy and abundance of learning once deprived.
We bring injustice to justice
and inequality to equality.
Here are four important themes:
This is important work to transform
a place with a feeling of belonging.
This story is not only Black Deaf history,
but is everyone’s history across the world.
How can you make the Gallaudet Promise a reality for all you do? Here are three ways:
Become. Together. Stronger. Brighter.
Would you like to know how your daily work can uplift the lives of
Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and hard of hearing members
through the Gallaudet Promise?
Here are three ways you can start today:
First, you can check Gallaudet’s progress of transformation
on the dashboard of the Envisio website.
Second, you can reflect on the guided questions in the video:
How do I use this information and apply this practically?
What’s one small change I can make in my daily work
that can help foster an antiracist environment?
How can I contribute to research efforts
that promote knowledge creation and discovery in my department?
What are some obstacles in my life,
or even in my own beliefs and values,
that may be hindering the bilingual mission in my workplace?
How can I participate in,
or show more support for innovative learning at Gallaudet?
What are some examples of businesses, organizations or individuals
that I know who are cultivating opportunities
in both ASL and English-based economies?
We’ve seen and recognized several examples of community members
applying the Gallaudet Promise through their daily lives.
We want to see your story
and what you’ve come up with.
What is your promise?
Third, share your stories and see how they all weave together to transform.
Become. Together. Stronger.
Gallaudet values reflect our human connection to each other. Values make a difference when each of us actively applies them as we learn, work and engage with each other. View to see all of our Shared Community Values.
It is a 10 year vision of transformation, beginning in 2020, continuing through 2030.
This vision of transformation uses three values [imperatives]
and daily work [priorities] in our process
This structure guides the University in supporting students work towards success,
and lift the lives of Deaf people across the spectrum of identities.
The Five Grand Challenges are transformational opportunities.
The University will show the intersectional Deaf Way to the world,
through innovative research and community building.
The method of researching and community building is a part of
Gallaudet’s role in retelling Deaf stories for the purpose of
advancing the lives of Deaf people across the spectrum of identities.
Five Grand Challenges include the following:
Demonstrating the benefits of an ASL/English education;
Expanding the impact of Gallaudet’s creative edge;
Realizing the value of Deaf people across the spectrum of identities;
Creating pathways to success for Gallaudet students and graduates;
Cultivating and producing opportunities in both ASL and English based economies.
What are the three imperatives?
These three imperatives are requirements led by values.
The requirements are part of our daily work,
in alignment with our strategic priorities.
The success of the three strategic priorities depends
on our mastery and integration of the imperatives.
We must continually model our values through innovation, here at Gallaudet.
We must practice the three imperatives
at all times, alongside our strategic priorities.
Commitment to Belonging and Equity;
Belief in Innovation for Impact;
What are the three priorities?
Our strategic daily work is driven by these 3 following imperatives:
Extraordinary Learning and Academic Excellence Across the Lifespan;
Knowledge Creation and Discovery;
How do we make The Gallaudet Promise a reality?
With the full participation of the Gallaudet community
contributing to work within a series of strategic plans.
The Phase One strategic plan is underway and continues through 2023.
This plan includes five areas:
Academic Reimagining; and
Creativity Way & Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens:
Legacy for Black Deaf Children.
How was the Gallaudet Promise developed?
Why is it important?
Endorsed by the Board of Trustees in 2019,
the Gallaudet Promise grew from the Gallaudet community.
Its goals, needs, and desires as well as the work
that happened during the most recent strategic plan.
The Gallaudet Promise is an important commitment to a path of transformation
that serves as a beacon
for the University communities’ values, work, and impact.
How do the Gallaudet Promise and Shared Community Values go together?
The Gallaudet Promise, as our vision and the related work in the Phase One Strategic Plan
are set upon a foundation of our Shared Community Values.
The values composed through community dialogues and review,
reflect how we learn, work, engage,
and grow together everyday as a community.
How does my work fit into the Gallaudet Promise?
The ultimate goal is that the work of every person
is linked to their department’s key initiatives,
while the department level is linked to their division priorities.
The divisions are then linked into the Gallaudet Promise
in a cyclical synergistic flow.
I was hired to work at
Gallaudet University’s ASL Connect.
It was a culture shock.
I had a flashback to sixth grade
when I went into FSDB
(Florida School for the Deaf and Blind).
I was taken aback.
Everyone was signing!
I came from a mainstreamed elementary school and isolated.
I entered the middle school at FSDB,
and everyone was signing.
I felt a culture shock.
I felt like I belonged to the community!
I had lost that sense of belonging.
Back at Gallaudet,
all of the staff were Deaf and signing.
I was completely floored.
In the back of my mind,
I had something to say
but couldn’t confidently express myself
and actively participate in discussions.
It was because I was stuck in this shell
for a long time.
I had to work really hard
to get myself out of it,
crack open the shell
and allow myself to communicate freely.
Inside, I felt confident again
because all of the staff
and signed in their own genuine ways.
“…that led the ASL standards
to become valued as strongly white-centered…”
I was tingling with excitement.
Finally, I can truly express myself
without having to code switch
or awkwardly modify my way of communicating
That is glued to my soul,
my way of being, and my language.
This is so comforting
because this bilingual approach is unsurpassed.
I want to share my experience
growing up in poverty with a family of 8 children.
I was the last child.
We were destitute.
Reading was my survival that kept me going.
An example of this experience was in a picture
that my daughter found and gave me.
It perfectly captured the essence
of my experience growing up.
Now you can see it.
Because I didn’t want children to go through what I did;
navigating in a hit-or-miss academic environment.
Many children are language deprived,
I decided to go back to college
to teach our students,
who are the future teachers
in the field of bilingual education.
“…not always true.”
“Some people prefer to sign…”
“…while some people prefer English…”
Finally, a breakthrough came around 2006,
when Gallaudet announced a trial
bilingual education program here at the college.
They wanted to test and see if the pilot group would succeed.
I was up for the challenge.
My small research group proceeded,
while others continued with traditional approaches,
including sim-com, total communication and so forth.
Compared with the larger group using traditional approaches,
this smaller group got the attention of the community
They could see a clear difference between the two groups.
The pilot group signed fluently
while passing reading and writing tests
and earning teaching licenses.
That’s living evidence of a bilingual,
plus the application and understanding
of bilingual teaching methodologies.
They saw this, and accepted the results.
Now with the beginning of the Gallaudet Promise,
which align perfectly with the theories of bilingual education,
it has helped me surge forward.
Its application has brought much understanding,
expanded programming, and support.
That’s the changes what I’ve seen.
Now as CBO,
I see much more work to do ahead of us,
so we continue.
One cool thing about my experience
here at Gallaudet,
is that back in the day
when I came to Gallaudet as a freshman myself,
I was part of a New Signers Program.
I never experienced interacting with other deaf
with other deaf or hard of hearing individuals
before coming to Gallaudet.
Now, we have the JumpStart ASL program,
one of several programs under Student Success.
I feel like I have come full circle,
experiencing that program as a young student
and now as an administrator,
supporting students who are going through
that program acquiring ASL.
The nice thing about looking back on this
is to see how my identity evolves over time.
I started to recognize that sense of
Deaf as valued,
Deaf as contributors to the broader community,
while offering unique perspectives
as people who define excellence
on our own terms.
It’s a really powerful moment to realize
and detach from that self-oppression
to become truly free.
I really started to identify myself
as an involved leader.
I really don’t think I could have been a part of
that kind of experience anywhere else.
Gallaudet really provides wonderful opportunities
for developing confidence,
If not for that experience as a student
when starting to work for Student Affairs,
and student development programs,
I would not be where I am today.
“…months, about $100?…”
I really want that moment for all of our students.
They deserve to feel
that same sense of self-affirmation.
I have a lot to contribute to the world.
I can do all these things.
I can succeed and become my own person
based on what I feel
is my own excellence and values.
As a Deaf individual
going through a life-long journey,
I’m always thinking about
how to show our values
and how we can change perspectives
that promotes and embraces
our personal growth
through sign language.
When I learned about the Gallaudet Promise,
with its vision to be a place
where people of different sign language journeys
can come together
and thrive together,
I was inspired.
I want to continue to celebrate
who we are
as individuals and a community.
This fueled my passion
to align my experience
in financial skills and leadership
with Gallaudet’s resources
to support this work
and make this vision happen.
Through this work
of capital projects, strategic initiatives,
and enhancing the student experience,
I’m committed to support Gallaudet
in building a stronger and brighter future.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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