On October 31, 2016, Gallaudet University and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) established a collaborative agreement which allows students in NOVA's Associate of Applied Science degree program in American Sign Language to English Interpretation to transfer credits into Gallaudet's Bachelor of Arts in Interpretation program. At Gallaudet, students are immersed in a bilingual living and learning environment of American Sign Language and English. Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students from the United States and abroad all live and study on Gallaudet's Washington, D.C. campus. Gallaudet has similar agreements with John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois, Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina, Austin Community College in Austin, Texas, Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colorado, and Ohlone College in Fremont, California. Gallaudet and NOVA held an articulation agreement signing ceremony on October 31 at Gallaudet to commemorate the partnership. "Equal access in communications is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, too many deaf and hard of hearing people do not have access to qualified interpreters," said Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano. "There is a critical need for skilled interpreters to help us achieve equal communications access in schools, court rooms, public meetings, hospitals and doctor's offices. NOVA alumni will help us achieve the goal of equal communications access for all." Gallaudet is the only university in the world to offer interpretation programs from the bachelor's level to the doctorate level within a sign language immersive environment. Gallaudet's award-winning interactive interpretation laboratories prepare students for a high-demand career through hands-on training in a variety of medical, business, education, and government settings. "When NOVA alumni come to Gallaudet, they will find a community like no other place in the world," said Gallaudet University Provost Carol Erting. "They will be immersed in our living and learning environment with deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students, faculty, and staff. NOVA alumni will learn under and conduct research with faculty members who are both professional interpreters and scholars in their field." Graduates from Gallaudet's interpretation degree programs work in a variety of settings for organizations, individuals, and government agencies. Alumni of the programs work in settings such as business, education, government, theatre, medicine, law, healthcare, and video relay. "Our goal is to increase the quantity and quality of interpreters serving the deaf community and we do this by collaborating with community colleges in offering the opportunity to transfer their graduates to our university," said Dr. Melanie Metzger, chair of the Gallaudet University Department of Interpretation. "We want to also increase our understanding of the products and processes of interpretation and translation, as well as to better understand more about successful interpreters and translators, whether they be deaf, hard of hearing, and or hearing, through research." The interpretation classes are optimized for ASL medium teaching and classrooms are equipped to serve the needs of the rapidly advancing field of interpretation. The department's amenities include tools that allow for recording live and interactive interpreting role play, video conferencing for national and global collaboration among students and faculty, and private recording booths and central computer stations for individual and class activities. The Center for the Advancement of Interpretation and Translation Research includes a library, filming rooms, and student research bays with video and statistical software.