Creating the Road Map to Becoming

Gallaudet University and its communities are in a continual state of “becoming” or transforming. Through this transformation, the University positively impacts local communities, the nation, and the world for deaf people across the spectrum of identities. To fully become, Gallaudet must understand and reckon with its history, recognize the current context within which it exists, and envision a future where the world recognizes and values the contributions of deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-disabled, and deafblind people of all backgrounds and identities.

Since President Cordano’s arrival in 2016, Gallaudet has committed to a path of transformation that reflects the University communities’ input, ideas, and urgencies. Through this work, the vision for The Gallaudet Promise emerged, creating a road-map for how we will create a more sustainable and vibrant life experience for deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind people, and all of humanity. Preparing for and answering the five grand challenges sets us on the path of transformation for our university and global community. The Short Term Strategic Plan provided the bridge to the Gallaudet Promise and our long term strategic vision.

Gallaudet’s current transformation is a commitment to address five grand challenges:

  • 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 opportunities in both ASL and English-based economies

These grand challenges are central to Gallaudet’s 10-year vision, The Gallaudet Promise. They compel us to act. To address the grand challenges and achieve the Gallaudet Promise, the University will engage in initiatives within our identified priority areas:

  • Extraordinary Learning and Academic Excellence Across the Lifespan
  • Knowledge Creation and Discovery
  • Signing Ecosystems and Career Success

Central to transforming Gallaudet and achieving the Gallaudet Promise, our grand challenges and our priorities, are three imperatives or central values that must be integrated into all of the strategic work and, indeed, all aspects of the University:

  • Our Bilingual Mission
  • Our Commitment to Belonging and Equity
  • Our Belief in Innovation for Impact

As we move forward to achieve The Gallaudet Promise we bring with us the lessons learned in this unprecedented time in our history:

  • An overnight shift to online learning set the foundation for expanded remote programming, expanded visually-based materials for on-campus learning
  • A national platform to support educators, families, and students in birth – 12th grade programs
  • The urgent call to action has demanded action to dismantle systemic and structural inequities which paved the way for a transformation of human resources and a university-wide anti-racism plan and
  • The reminder that trauma can pave the way for growth and change and Gallaudet has a role in that change.

Achieving the Gallaudet Promise is aspirational and to begin our work we have chosen five areas for focused action:


This work will be our focus for FY 21 through FY 22. We will refer to this work as the Gallaudet Promise Phase One. The work in these areas will align with the Challenges, Imperatives and Priorities in the Gallaudet Promise and will emphasize high-impact, cross-division collaborations and connects directly to other essential work happening in all divisions throughout the University. The work in Plan One is fundamental to Gallaudet’s impact and transformation and will continue into the Gallaudet Promise,

We will report our progress and milestones for Phase One. Development of University-level key performance indicators (KPIs) will begin this spring and we anticipate sharing draft metrics this summer. Phase Two will build on the achievements in Phase One and is slated for FY 2023-2025.

(Note: The Clerc Center strategic priorities incorporated into this plan and reflected in their division strategic plan must be based on public input as mandated by the Education of the Deaf Act).

Areas for Focused Action


Goal: Gallaudet will redesign its on-campus and on-line infrastructure to rebuild the Clerc Center and campus experiences to be more agile and innovative in response to planned and unplanned influences.

Measures of Progress

  1. Implement the initial phases of Connected Gallaudet including piloting the design lab within select university academic programs by the Spring of FY2022
  2. Implement Phase One of the Human Resources Transformation redesign plan by the start of FY2022
  3. Establish the Customer Service Operating Model by the end of FY2022
  4. Complete Operations Operating Model Redesign by the end of FY2022
  5. Create mechanisms to address identified needs for in-the-moment campus-wide video production by the end of FY2022
  6. Define programming and establish an online platform to disseminate research, lectures, films and other content produced by the Center for Black Deaf Studies by the end of FY 2021
  7. Fully implement the Clerc Center’s national learning platform and define plans to expand engagement and leadership development with Phase One design and implementation completed by summer 2021
  8. Complete the revision of the website for the University and the Clerc Center as well as the Gallaudet intranet by the end of FY2022


Goal:Gallaudet will enact key foundational elements to address the long-standing systemic barriers to belonging and equity throughout the University and Clerc Center.

Measures of Progress

  1. Prioritize, plan, and implement recommendations based on the public safety assessment report (expected in February 2021)
  2. Establish the University-wide Social Justice & Racial Equity Collaborative (SJRE) by fall 2021 with a charter in place by winter 2022
  3. Complete Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Clerc Center Equity plan during summer 2021 with Phase 3 objectives set by the end of FY 2021
  4. Construct and make public a University-wide Anti-Racism policy with calls to action and sanctions by end of FY2021
  5. Establish a system to provide regular progress updates on the University’s Anti-Racism plan that includes,
    • Building an engagement and accountability database
    • Development of annual division racial and social justice progress reports
    • Dissemination of a comprehensive racial and social justice progress report from the SJRE to the Gallaudet community in September 2021 and 2022


Goal: Gallaudet will establish the foundation for its bilingual framework for teaching and learning across the lifespan, working, and interacting on-campus and virtually.

Measures of Progress

  1. Implement Phase One of Language Planning for faculty, staff and students including creating a first year semester plan for students, language plans for emerging signers, and developing ASL plans for staff by the end of FY2022
  2. Complete ASL Development Program infrastructure and infuse into the Faculty Handbook, A&O Manual and HR hiring procedures by the end of FY2022
  3. Operationalize the Bilingual Evaluation, Test and Assessment Center (BETA Center) by summer 2021 and expand programming throughout FY2022
  4. Develop a plan to further Language Vitality and Vibrancy (campus & remote) in FY2021 and begin implementation in FY2022


Goal: Gallaudet will establish the vision, infrastructure, and strategy to transform long-term enrollment across the lifespan.

Measures of Progress

  1. Complete restructuring of University Academic Affairs as follows:
    • Five schools
    • Career Center
    • Graduate Admissions by fall 2021
  2. Select and begin migration to a new Learning Management System that aligns with bilingual learning by the end of FY2022
  3. Redesign and align the Gallaudet University Regional Centers (GURC) with Regional Early Acquisition of Language (REAL) by the end of FY2021
  4. Create and implement the University enrollment strategy plan that includes an enrollment task force, a marketing plan, and an enrollment goal by the end of FY2021
  5. Complete actions in accordance with set timelines as defined in the KDES/MSSD CEASD/MSA accreditation plan
  6. Define programming and establish an online platform to disseminate research, lectures, films and other content produced by the Center for Black Deaf Studies by the end of FY 2021
  7. Complete renovation charter, identify stakeholder group, and contract an architect for the library renovation by summer 2021
  8. Define the holistic student experience and design and implement a framework to strengthen the student experience on-campus and virtually by the end of FY 2022


Goal: Gallaudet will complete the Memorial as the lead project of Creativity Way’s “front porch” as well as the academic and construction planning for the next phase of Creativity Way development.

Measures of Progress

  1. Develop related plans, documents, and materials that define and communicate a Capital Campaign by Spring 2022
  2. Complete $10-$15 million fundraising campaign for the Division II Memorial Project by end of FY2022
  3. Complete initial academic programming as well as pre-construction design and permitting for the Creativity Way Alley and A&T lots by the end of FY2022
  4. Commence the initial phase of the Kendall Division II Memorial Project construction with completion anticipated in FY 2023

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Strategic Planning & Integration

College Hall 308

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