Provost Rashid announced on August 17 the establishment of a new Center for Latine Deaf Studies. The center has a working name of Nuestra Casa, or “Our House,” and comes in response to requests by our Latine students, faculty, and staff. This is the second step in creating and developing multicultural Deaf Studies centers over the next several years. The first was the Center for Black Deaf Studies, which was established three years ago.

Norma Morán and Leticia Arellano will work together over the next year to launch the center and begin to develop its agenda and programs. The ultimate goal is to hire a faculty director who will lead Nuestra Casa’s academic and research efforts and other Center programs. 

Norma Morán

Norma Morán, currently the Associate Ombuds in the Office of the Ombuds, is originally from El Salvador. Her family emigrated when she was a toddler, and she grew up in Reno, Nevada. During her time as a staff member at Gallaudet, she co-developed and taught several 200-level General Education courses, provided training for cross-cultural and international internships, and served as co-advisor of the Latino Student Union.  Ms. Morán is also a founding member of the Latino Deaf and Hard of Hearing Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., and has served in multiple leadership roles within LDHHAMDC over the past 15 years. Ms. Morán holds a master’s degree in International Education and Training from American University, as well as certificates in diversity, equity, and inclusion; restorative justice; racial justice facilitation; and mediation.

Latine woman with red glasses, long black and grey hair, colorful top, standing against a grey background, smiling at the camera.
Leticia Arellano, ’94

Leticia Arellano, ’94, was born in Mexico and spent her years growing up in the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico). She is currently an ASLPI Evaluator with the Office of the Chief Bilingual Officer. Ms. Arellano is humbly honored to accept the position of interim associate director of Nuestra Casa. She fondly remembers when three students approached her with the desire to have a casa here at Gallaudet University. Now, with this new position, she is eager to fulfill their dreams. Over the course of her career, Ms. Arellano has served as an advisor, chairperson, coordinator, committee member, curator, founder, and teacher in a variety of contexts. She has volunteered internally and externally in many capacities over the years. Ms. Arellano holds a master’s degree in Deaf Education from McDaniel College. 

The Center for Latine Deaf Studies will support teaching, learning, and research in Latine Deaf Studies and other disciplines that benefit from more comprehensive coverage of the Latine Deaf experience, such as history, literature, psychology, sociology, and religion. Its aim is to preserve the history of the Latine Deaf community, as well as Latine Deaf education, culture, and language. It will pay particular attention to the Latine Deaf experience at Gallaudet University and the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. The Center will have an advisory board to provide guidance and consultation to the Center staff on programs, policies, and procedures.

The Center proposes to conduct research on the experiences of Latine Deaf people of Indigenous, European, Latin American, African, and American descent, and to offer a minor in Latine Deaf Studies. It will promote the retention of Latine Deaf and hard of hearing students through an innovative tutorial program. The Center also will organize lectures, films, speaker series, and discussion forums, and partner with community and campus organizations to sponsor lectures and workshops that create a better understanding of Latine Deaf people in the wider social, economic, and political spectrum. 

Academic programs

The Center will create and submit for Council of Undergraduate Education approval an interdisciplinary Latine Deaf Studies minor, grounded like all of Gallaudet’s programs in the liberal education tradition. Both existing and new courses will be part of the minor program.

Academic support

Providing robust tutoring support to Latine students at Gallaudet is one of Nuestra Casa’s goals. In the past, Keeping the Promise-Latino, a program under the former Office of Diversity and Equity for Students, contributed greatly to these students’ tutoring needs by providing a regularly scheduled Study Table. Nuestra Casa will work on bringing this back for our current students. The Center will also engage with the Office of International Affairs’ Global Learning for All program to identify service learning opportunities embedded in their Study Abroad program. In addition, the Center will collaborate with Multicultural Student Programs in identifying, developing, and/or offering a wide range of services for our students. 


Ms. Morán and Ms. Arellano plan to reach out to area and national Latine Studies programs to develop a network of support and advocacy even as they conduct research on the Deaf experience. The Center, with robust student participation, will conduct and disseminate research on the history, language, and culture of the Latine Deaf community. Presentations will be made both in academic and community settings. The Center will maintain an active online presence and will disseminate its research widely.

The University is now determining the Center’s space needs, and will identify a suitable location shortly.

“It is truly amazing and touching seeing Nuestra Casa finally becoming a reality,” says Ms. Moran. “Twelve years after we submitted an innovative proposal with the late Dr. Cristina Berdichevsky and Dr. Franklin C. Torres, we are so proud and grateful to be able to contribute to the launch of Our House/Nuestra Casa!”

Says Ms. Arellano, “I was set with my plans to retire. But for this, my retirement can be put off until Nuestra Casa has built a solid foundation for years to come. Dolores Huerta’s quote has always remained with me throughout the years: ‘Si Se Puede!’”

Dr. Rashid thanked Dr. Roberto Sanchez, Interim Dean for Academic and Student Success, who carried out a study about the wishes of the Latine Deaf community on campus during the 2022-2023 academic year. Dr. Laurene Simms, Chief Bilingual Officer, and Ms. Elizabeth Stone, University Ombuds and Director of Ombuds Programs, ensured that Nuestra Casa could get off to a great start by kindly loaning us the services of their staff members over the next year to launch the Center. Dr. Jeffrey W. Lewis, ’76, the previous Provost, was also instrumental in this work.

A note about nomenclature: We acknowledge and respect that there are several terms that our community uses when referring to people who are Hispanic or Latina/Latine/Latino/Latinx, and the various perspectives about them. While we will always be mindful of and respect all individual identities, Latine will be used in the name of this center for the sake of simplicity because it describes the rich variety of our pan-ethnic and multiple-identity Deaf community.

Recent News

Stay up to date on all the gallaudet happenings, both stories, and initiatives, we are doing with our Signing community!