Who We Are
News & Stories
Jan 26, 2023
Jan 19, 2023
November 11, 2022
November 17, 2022
November 19, 2022
University Wide Events
No Communication Compromises
Areas of Study
Changing the world
Community & Innovation
Research Experiences & Services
Your Journey Starts Here
Tools & Resources
Explore Our Campus
Dec 9, 2022
State of the University (SOTU)
Yearly on the latest progress of the University.
Gallaudet’s State of the University is the President’s platform to update the community yearly on the latest progress of the University, inspired by the United States of America’s Presidential State of the Union.
[Video Transcript Start][Video presented in English and ASL]
>> (Upbeat Music).
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: Hello, everyone. What a great video, I surely enjoyed it and I hope you did as well. Welcome. I have to remove my mask. If you give me a moment. Nobody is nearby me and I do ask that you all keep your masks on for the evening here, but I will be removing mine for communication purposes. Welcome everyone!
I would like to welcome the Gallaudet community, Board of Trustees, those of you watching the live stream, welcome members of family that are watching. To our global deaf community. Especially to those of you who are here in person this evening. Welcome. I want to recognize a special group here in the audience. The members of the audience that I am teaching. They are all here to the right, if I am correct, thank you for coming. This is actually the time of our class, so instead of being in class and discussing they are here with me, but do not worry we will have our in class discussion next week. But, before we begin here I want to make an acknowledgment to a couple of things that are happening. This is the beginning of Black history month. Not only here on our campus, but throughout our country. There is a number of events honoring this very special month. I would like to encourage you to please look and go engage and be a part of our learning community during this month. This is especially important for our community, I say that because our fellow friends at HBC you, our neighbors, Howard University, and Clerc Center as well has been receiving some threats over the last few days. These threats are in result of the African-Americans who are part of those institution. We stand united and strong in our friends in college we offer our support and encouragement to them. I've sent letters to institutions and expressed my sympathies and hopes for what they are going through and I ask you to engage in support and prayers for them as well.
We are also celebrating the Lunar New Year this month. This is the year of the Tiger. We know that the Tiger represents strength and vitality. That is exactly what we are all about and what we need this year. So the year of the Tiger is our year as we embark on it together! You may note that this is a different time that we do the state of the University address, typically it is during the day, but we are doing in the evening at 7:00 p.m.. We have plan to have this presentation as well as a social event, both day before and afterwards, and we have thought that this would be a great idea to come together and share together as a community, but along comes Omicron and of course that's impacts our plans, but that certainly has not stopped us. We are very used to these kinds of changes, unfortunate, but true. In the spirit of which we are here to gather around is still very important. It is an opportunity for us to come together and take note of our successes. I am so pleased to be here tonight to talk about our state of the University.
This is my seventh year as president, the seventh year of our presidency together. Some of you may not know this, but when I became president in 2016, I began, this is not just my presidency, but our collective presidency. So tonight I would like to highlight a couple areas in my discussions with you. I would like to first talk about the importance of our success with the Gallaudet Promise, which is our strategic vision. I also want to share with you some examples of how we together have used our ABC'S and implement it them in such a way to better manage and over the last year all that we have been through. That success has been supported through so much of our accomplishments of here at the University. I would like to talk about some upcoming items and some thoughts about how we will be able to sustain
ourselves. As we move forward into the future. So, those are the three areas that I hope to cover with you this evening.
But, first let me take a moment to look back and reflect on how this all started. January of 2016 and during that month we were hit with Snowzilla, a significant blizzard. If you remember that, whenever you see a winter storm and one happening this weekend and another one that is coming up this week in certain parts of the country, that is exactly what we explained here in January 2016. There was a snowstorm that brought feet of snow to this area and we even lost power to three important buildings. Storms on our campuses and we had to shovel our selves out. So fast forward five years later and along comes the pandemic. Now we are in our second year of this pandemic. Just wrapping up our second year of the pandemic I should say. And what is fascinating to me is that over the last seven years there has been nothing constant or stable throughout this time. From this, we can take a very valuable learning lesson. We know that things will change and be unstable, but we deal with what we are given. No matter what life gives us, we have to be able to persist and be able to persevere through it. You know, it is fascinating if you think about human nature, so many of us like consistency and stability and for things to be predictable. That constancy is something that we crave. When we look to our elders, the advice they would give us so often is that what is always reliable, what always is a certainty is only one single thing, and that is change. Change is constant. Our seven years together, I think that it is certainly something that we have extremist without a doubt.
It was two years ago that I stayed right here giving the state of the University address and this was the first time that I show to you our Gallaudet Promise. It was at that time that I talked about the Gallaudet Promise and explained that what is most important in it is it was our journey. Our journey of our becoming. And the changing's of that becoming and what it would bring. At that time, we had no idea what would lie ahead with the pandemic and how much it would change all of us and how much we would have to remain persistent and tenacious throughout it all. I'm sure you would all agree to that. The Gallaudet Promise has three important principles. You see them here on this slide. You see here five grand challenges. Three imperatives. Then as well three priorities. The Gallaudet Promise creates for us a goal and a vision and I should mention here that when I sign Gallaudet Promise I am reflecting on the two meetings behind promise. Speak to the commitment or vow that you make to achieve something that you have set to do. The second meaning is equally as important and it's also something that represents this notion that we together are capable of achieving, we have it within ourselves to do great. To be able to achieve much and that is it represented in that notion of our having promise about what we do. So I ask you to hold both of those meanings and understanding as we talk about the Gallaudet Promise. The Gallaudet Promise functions as for us a begin. It is a beacon of light that will illuminate our path forward. It provides a way for us, gives direction for us, a path showing what we should do that will allow us to achieve our mission. It all brings us to the final goal that is stated in this strategic plan. The journey that we embark on it through following this illuminated path allows us to tell our story time and time again. Stories that speak to who we are and what is important to us as a community. How we can make an impact on the world through our mission. This story being told by our community over time includes our amazing ability to adapt.
When we got hit with this pandemic we were able to adapt and adjust. We were able to add to the things that we were able to do on a daily basis, doing more than we ever expected, and doing so in such a way that we were able to be successful throughout a - it all. This comes from our community to hold to that tradition, being a united front working towards her goals despite everything else. Our supporters, donors, and individuals, and Congress have shown up to support us through all of this. Our students and our birth through 21 program, college programs, PhD programs, and our lifelong learners have all come together to continue to show up and continue their learning. We have had to pivot in the March 2020 and then once again we have shifted and pivoted during the summer of 2021 and further another pivot in the fall of 21 when we return to in person learning and now in the spring, yet another. We begin our first two weeks of instruction remotely and those of you that our students here - it was wonderful. I silenced again today, I know what you have posted and I know a lot of people that may not know about this. I think it was the last day of quarantine that was organized by our students and on Instagram that had the banner that had the word "quarantine" spelled out and the students can through and posted to that banner recognizing their excitement for returning to in person learning. But, what I can say I most impressed by our community is our students. Our students are still here and they have returned to our campus. In fact, we have retained nearly all of our students. At the Clerc Center and at Gallaudet despite the pandemic, that is nothing short of remarkable and I will talk more to that here in a minute. You know, people often ask, what is this about?
Gallaudet's secret sauce that has led you to be so successful. How have you been able to achieve so many of the things that you have set out to do? Well, I I have a few thoughts I would like to share with you on this and certainly you can add your own ideas to it. This secret sauce is made up several ingredients. The first being our people. It is you. You are our secret sauce.
Secondly, you carry and live with this notion of Deaf Gain. I often talk about Deaf Gain as to the screens that we have as a deaf people as to everyday we have to adapt to situations that we encounter trying to figure out how to access communication, engage in those around us, or constantly engaging in adapting all day long. Every minute of our lives, with our families and communities, whether it's the grocery story or the theater, and work, and varmint, and discourse. Everywhere we travel in the world we are always adapting. That is one of our greatest assets. Deaf Gain gives us a creative edge. Creative edge to be involved in problem-solving. User visually rich and our visual language to be successful in the world everything will day. Another ingredient in that secret sauce is our intentions that we create together, our community as we began last fall through the professional development week. A community that is based on our ABC'S. So, I used at the ABC notion in our welcome home speech and it speaks to how we intentionally as a community have worked to implement these ABC'S, adapting and bouncing, and showing compassion in all that we do. Last January we added to our secret sauce, to these ABC'S this notion of' sustainability'. I will speak more to that in a bit. But, before I go on any further, I think it would be important that we pause and celebrate for a moment as we organize our collective success over the last year. Now, I have to tell you that we have some different ideas as to what we wanted to include in this presentation. What we came to realize is that because of COVID and impact on us over the last month the team has been successful with what they have been able to create and it has required some reading on your part deceiving as you read
through the compliments. So, I ask that you read through them and we want to make sure that we pace it in such a ways that you are able to take in all that you see. What you are about to see is a listing of our accomplishments. How we have created plans with the Gallaudet Promise and all through completion on a number of areas and you see those shown here.
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: That is quite a list. It's pretty amazing if you think about it, we have not stopped moving forward on the Gallaudet Promise. That beacon has shown brighter than ever. What is amazing is all of this work actually started in the cloud as we were all working in the learning remotely and when we returned to in person work this work continued. The University and it Clerc Center is definitely on the move. There is no doubt about that as evident by these accompaniments. I would like to thank all of you. From the bottom of my heart, I think you. Thank you. Thank you for all that you have done to contribute to the successes. These are assurances that we will be able to continue to make an impact on the world and lives and expenses of deaf, and deaf/blind people around the world. Preserving and protecting our sign language everywhere. If people could see in this room, we have learners who resent people throughout the lifespan of learning. What you see here is the foundation being laid for future success that will come.
Imagine, we are just in phase one of our strategic plan. So there is a lot more to come!
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: Next, I would like to talk a little bit about sustainability. How can we sustain all of our efforts in order to be successful as we move forward? I think we have to come back to our ABC'S again. "A", Representing and adapt. We began this year with a number of upland things that we wanted to accomplish. There were many unexpected unplanned things that we added to that list. I would like to give you tonight two examples of our successes. The first example comes around something that we did not plan. It just speaks to how we work with unexpected, unplanned kind of things that happen in our environment and this is around our health and safety. The second is around creating that chance best student expense. I will speak to both areas. First in the area of public health and safety. We have been so fortunate to have a wonderful public health team. This team is comprised of members of our executive team, faculty, staff, and students. All making of that committee. This group every day has come together to create protocols for us around those same requirements. Our weekly testing requirements. That just this last January became biweekly test requirements and quickly permitted changes that were required of all of us. They created data-driven processes and protocols. In order to ensure that we are doing everything we can do around contact tracing, to make sure that we are choosing the right masks and allowing masked requirements. Isolation procedures and quarantine requirements. They have made sure that our community stay safe and healthy. I just want to applaud that group for all of their efforts! The best part of this whole thing for me and public health is to see the way that they are including our students in their work. Nothing makes me happier than to see students working in our testing center here on campus. We come in and they check us in. They make sure and document every step of the way for us. It is our students that are running that process. Through this the students are getting public health experience, operations experience, and we are using our lived experience as a community to ensure that our students are learning, such that when they graduate they can take this knowledge with them and the experience as well. Health and safety, and well-being is never something that we want to compete around. All of us deserve to have each of those three things in our lives. We deserve to be healthy and safe, and have a good sense of well-being. It is helpful sometimes to see how we are doing in comparison to others nearby. To help us appreciate the success of our community and how we work together to achieve that. Take a look at these numbers here. Over this last year we have administered 43,635 COVID-19 tests. That is remarkable. And to date, with the original Delta variant and the original COVID variant and Omicron, are positivity rate over the last year has been 0.9%. Now, I just want to remind you that is under 1% as our community. If you compare us to other schools in the local D.C. area and throughout the country, we have one of the lowest positivity rate. Our success is really based on the fact that our community is willing to get vaccines and boosters. We have created a community packed to agree on the importance of health and safety for our community. Making sure that we are persevering and being patient to do whatever we are being told to do. A great example of this is our students over the last two weeks, I was talking to alumni, if they could even imagine coming to campus and quarantining for two weeks as the students have done and our alumni said they would have never been able to do it, but you did! That is exactly what you did. Because, you knew inherently the importance of safety in preventing spread and you know how important it was that we created this baseline so we all know where we stood and then we are able to gather together safely as a result. I've seen many students have not gone off campus. They stayed on campus to ensure that safety is maintained. You are really our success story. As well as individuals from the Clerc Center. So, I have one more statistic that I want to show you that is hot off the press, just last Saturday, January 30 we looked to see what our positivity rate was. If you look at the numbers throughout the country because of the spread of Omicron, we see many states are in the double digit in terms of their positivity rate and it COVID spread. Some of them are at 10% plus, five, 6%, 8%, but here at Gallaudet are numbers for this last week, just this last week when we return to campus, again, this is what we consider to be "high-risk" weeks because of people traveling to our area and bring with them perhaps a positive rate of COVID. Our numbers, can anybody guess what they were? I'm looking to the audience to see if I see some numbers here. What percentage positivity rate do you think we had here at Gallaudet? As of last Saturday somebody is saying 2%, any other guess is out there? Other gases? 15%? A 2% and a 15%? I'm happy to tell you it's better than that.
Our rate is 0.47%. Mind you, that is half of 1%. Within our Gallaudet community that is pretty impressive!
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: Because of our community members doing what we should be doing we are actually seeing Omicron numbers declining. It those numbers are on the decline and I think it is very important that we do not allow our guard to go down too much. We still must be cautious and attentive, and alert. We certainly do hold our positivity rate will decrease to the point where we can remove our masks indoors as we did last fall so it's our hope that we would be able to get to that point sometime soon.? Let me shift now and talk about something that I have mentioned in my welcome home address. That is our champ student success program. We are able to adapt it may change throughout our campus. We are building a foundation that is strong to ensure our students get that champ student experience. Our numbers really say it all. They say more than I can say with you in words and stories. We look to our stories as metrics for our success and one in particular is retention rate. If we look at our cohort of 2020, those are our first time, full-time freshman students who enrolled in the fall of 2020. We look to the number of students of that group who returned in the spring of 2021, last year and that were retained to the fall semester of 2021. Now, mind you this was all during the pandemic, during a time where we were studying and working remotely and then transition to somewhat back to in person learning. Our retention rate was one of the highest in Gallaudet history. It was at 80%.
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: 80%! Our students are voting for Gallaudet with their feet and showing the monk of his. Our faculty and staff you have put in work and commitment to our students really has shown in this number. We have wonderful stories as to how we have been able to create and improve the student experience to make this champ experience that we want. For example, I think you saw on the video that we showed earlier, we have redesigned our general education curriculum for our students. We are now offering what we call VEE courses. These are courses that are not just required, but required opportunities for deeper understanding of learning for students as they are as whole persons. We offer resources for support in order for students to be more successful in college. We have invested in our student success coaches and have gone from advisory sort of to providing student coaches and those coaches reflect our student demographics. We have also redesigned our career services. In order to align with our five schools. We are building bridges for outside opportunities for students and we will see further development in this area as we move forward. We have been listening and understanding what we need to do to improve the way that we accommodate the needs of our students who are deaf plus. We are hiring new positions and see how we can provide accommodations to our students who are deaf plus in our community. So, what I just described as well as the accomplishment listed out here earlier with equity and belonging, bilingual work that we're doing, investments that we're making throughout our campus, all of these things together and all of this work just example vice this notion of how much we care about our students. We care about you. You are very important to us. We do what we do to support you, our students. Our students are coming back. Not only that 2020 cohort that had our 80% retention rate, but all of our students are returning and I appreciate you for your commitment to us and bearing with us through our growth and improvement both here at Gallaudet and the Clerc Center. So I would like to look back to an image that we saw earlier. This image here of the earth.
Thank you to the team back there that are trying to work with the technology. We have to be so patient with the team.
They have worked so incredibly hard all day and not just today so we are patient and understanding. This is a great example to use here, but the image that you saw, you saw this two years ago in the idea back then was well before COVID. The idea was that Gallaudet should really open its doors and reach out to students around the world and offer bilingual teaching opportunities, but at that time we had no idea that we would pave it to becoming a hybrid institution because of the pandemic. It is amazing that because the pandemic has happened it has allowed us to realize this vision. I would like to highlight the importance of this work that we are doing. We are now developing more online opportunities and making them available to students who cannot physically come to our campus. There are many students who cannot, because of their career and work opportunities not allowing them to come to campus and return back home. Others have obligations in school and committee work systems that makes it difficult for them to relocate. So we are now making it possible to serve the students, not only here in person on our campus, but providing online opportunities so we can open doors to more people. To have access to our bilingual learning opportunities. This is very exciting! Gallaudet now is making itself available to people around the world. These examples of ways that we have adapted despite the impacts that we have faced are remarkable. We continue to adapt and be in the work we do together and when we do this together, things change. We make an impact. I would now like to move on to "balance". You know that famous quote that begin "life is a balancing act". There's nothing more true than that quote. Many of us here are still sprinting the stress of COVID and those boundaries between work and it studying and home, and living in the dorm, and our friends, and communities are all now blurred. We do not have that clean-cut. So well-defined in our everyday lives. We recognize that we need to attend more to our employees, our learners, individuals, to meet your unique needs in these times. We are using our operational transformation and our human resource redesign efforts as well as other programs and services to provide tools to achieve that balance that all of us in the community desire. We have begun to build and strengthen a culture of caring. That culture of caring is it so important. It helps us build a successful environment for each one of us who are able to feel supported. As much as possible. As we embark on a journey in understanding and creating the balance that we are going to need over time. Balance to me is quite interesting to consider. It is a challenge for us because what creates that balance for us today may not be what we need tomorrow to achieve that same balance. With this we always have to remember that we have been through and experience working remotely, learning remotely, and over the last two years. Each of us have had different learnings in our environment and through our experiences, and each of you have different lessons that you learned long the way. We are now committed to gathering those stories read those learnings that you have understood, understanding what has worked and not worked to achieve that balance we need as a community. We see many positives as advantages around morale and productivity from working remotely, yet at the same time we also recognize there are disadvantages. Disadvantages on our ASL vibrancy on campus, disadvantages in our community lives. We have seen the negative impact of feeling of isolation of people that they have experienced. It can be very difficult and lonely for many. We have seen people feeling disconnected from so many things in their lives and finding it difficult to engage with others when we have had to be separate and we have seen other evidence of inequities that have been pointed out and recognized during this time. Our learning around striking this balance is not done. We are committed over time in talking further in conversation at all level of community to better understand and talk about the impact of remote work and flexible schedules. To provide remote and bold in person learning. So we can achieve this balance in a way that respects all of the needs of our community and most importantly above all maintaining that eye on our vision. Ensuring that our students throughout it all are always successful.
>> (AUDIO LOST).
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: The future work - so we can become a stronger community.
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: Next we moved to compassion. Whatever we do in our work, however we approach our work, we must always remember two very important things. We have to always ensure we show compassion for ourselves, that we are compassionate to ourselves and compassionate to others. Those two things are so important. Right now, we are in the fifth wave of this pandemic. The fifth wave.
When I say "for" that makes me tired just thinking about it! We all are a sprinting COVID fatigue. There's no doubt about that. It's exhausting and I feel the same way. We continue to struggle to find that balance between our daily work lives, increasing challenges from the pandemic that we experience, and then taking care of our family and friends in our community. It is very difficult to balance each area of our lives. The best way to describe how we are able to balance and navigate all of this, and COVID fatigue - the best way to describe how to navigate through all of this and deal with the exhaustion is to rise above it through daily acts of kindness and compassion that we show towards one another. I have seen here at Gallaudet whenever people approach someone and say "hello" and engage with the person and check in with how they're doing and how members of their families are doing, those daily acts have asked skin questions of others inspires others and invigorates them. It creates a sense of belonging in connection with our friends and family members here at Gallaudet and that is the best antidote. To COVID fatigue. Kindness and connections with others. I would like to remind you that our division of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our Trenton office have worked together to create what is called Bison Circle. These are opportunities designed to bring you together with other people to talk about issues and expenses that you have had and to share your pain and joy with one another and to provide support in doing so. We hope that you will find a Bison Circles and join in on those discussions. Compassion then leads to sustainability. You know, a big part of our being able to sustain what we do speaks to the importance of pacing ourselves. If there's anything I have learned as a leader and as president it is how important it is to pace ourselves along this journey.
We have already done so much work the first five years of our presidency together. We have accomplished so much, and is so much work is yet to be done. This is really the right time for us to begin to think about how we can intentionally slow ourselves down. To pace ourselves in such a way and do so differently. The executive team has now come together to look at different ways as to how we can sequence the work that we're doing. How we can help one another slow some things down so we can all feel that the work is more sustainable as we move forward. That is the commitment from our executive team. We are trying to work to slow down and focus on areas where we can align our efforts in doing our work to achieve the impact that we desire. That we want to see and realize as a Gallaudet Promise. So as we begin this work we hope to begin to roll it out so everyone is able to experience the same kind of pacing. I can see a bright and wonderful year ahead as we do so! I would like to share next a couple of updates as they relate to things that are happening right here at Gallaudet and tie into our Gallaudet Promise. Our executive team has spent the last few months working together in order to explore different ways for how we may be able to shift our day-to-day work, our day-to-day tasks and paste it in such a way that we are able to align that work with the Gallaudet Promise. We realize the importance of optimizing our time to strategically - (AUDIO LOST).
Our goal is to help all of us to continue to work together, both as members of the executive team as a collective community and when we work together in this way we will be able to see a stronger more aligned community moving forward together. Which then of course results in less fatigue. We invite all of you to join with us.
>> Suggestions to us on how we can do this. - What they hope to do is to educate every member of our campus community about the Gallaudet Promise to understand a deeper and better of what it entails. While in this campaign of teaching and educating we hope to continue to build clarity on each of those different ideals stated within the strategic plan. The priorities and the imperatives.
Of course it is now time for - Gallaudet has to go through an accreditation process with the state and we are now in the self-study phase of that accreditation process. This process will last about one year. We have decided to embed that work within the Gallaudet Promise so the self-study will be a part of the Gallaudet Promise who are embedding all of the work together in every aspect of what we do in this campus community. I am very excited about that. You see, the Gallaudet Promise. This is our beacon. Once again, that illuminates our path forward as a community. This will lead us to 2030 and maybe even beyond. We are now in phase one of the Gallaudet Promise and that will last until 2024 at which time we will begin. Our learning from the accreditation process being embedded will be used for our learning and work in phase 2. So, this work will encompass work that is happening in Gallaudet and Clerc Center. We are still in this process of becoming. The state of our university remains strong!
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: I think you owe. My heartfelt thanks to all of you!
>>PRESIDENT CORDANO: Please do take care everyone.
[End Video Transcript]
For the first time in Gallaudet University history, our State of the University Address will be virtual!
President Cordano welcomes you to join us for the fifth annual State of the University (SOTU) address on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 1 PM ET | Livestream on Facebook, YouTube and Website.
Facebook stream link: https://gu.live/RNEJW
We have created a Zoom link for Close/Low Vision: https://gallaudet.zoom.us/j/81543688695
Join our community as we watch President Cordano reflect on Gallaudet's journey of “becoming” to where the University stands today, and highlight the emerging successes of our community. Embrace our shared community values and learn how WE CAN rise and WE CAN show our vibrant Buff and Blue spirit during the SOTU together!
We Can graphic credit to artist: Brittany Castle
Lather rinse, repeat, lather, rinse,
repeat until in these hallowed halls we many
became we few then we few became we departed yet connected through
digital words and digital worlds
large screens, split screens miles apart
come mere tiles apart we gather in grids constantly shifting and
stumbling but united, despite
distance we together, understanding together,
that together will be the very brick and mortar turret and tower clock
still our proud flag half-masted unfurls
while now we lather, rinse, repeat, we wonder
how we wonder when we know that united we stand,
doubt not united we can.
It wasn't that long ago that we made the quick shift from operating in person
on campus to becoming a virtual community.
We shifted our entire way of being the way we learned, the way we work, the way
we conduct research all shifted to the virtual
So what have we learned from this experience,
we have come to understand that we can learn,
teach, and work virtually. We can create a vibrant sign language
virtual environment albeit not quite the same as can be
experienced in person but nonetheless still quite possible in
the virtual realm. You know when we learn new things like
riding a bike for example, it might initially require some focused
effort to discover that perfect moment of achieving both balance and momentum
that keeps you from falling off but from that point on that moment
of learning mastery becomes an enduring part of the fabric
of who we are.
If there's anything that 2020 and the beginning of 2021
has taught our deaf and signing communities
and our nation at large it's that we can face and take on with courage the
challenges of this time in our country's history.
We have collectively faced great challenges
on every level of our society locally nationally and on a global scale
in the face of so much necessary change we have shown that we can adapt
and use what we've learned to continue to meet today's challenges
while also preparing for a strong and vibrant future.
We have remained steadfast on our journey of becoming.
We are becoming and remain eagerly determined to be prepared for the
long-term future and vitality of our mission.
We have remained laser focused on providing
lifelong access to bilingual learning and educational excellence
even in this virtual environment and that focus remains unchanged
and now we are ready and prepared to return to the campus this summer
for some time now we have experienced and
witnessed rapid change and significant societal upheavals
and we know there's more yet to come so how are we to navigate given all that
we're facing the key to navigating our path forward
lies in our values. It's our values that help anchor ground
and unite us as a community
it's in times such as these we're faced with a great deal of uncertainty and
doubt and so many unanswered questions it's critical that in these very times
we draw from our past successes and progress
and celebrate all that we've accomplished
we celebrate our progress and success recognizing that they
are our guideposts it's those guideposts that
help center us and keep us present they help us discern between the things
that are important to us that we want to retain
and those things we can let go of
these values of ours were developed over time
with organizational and community input
our values reflect our human connection to each other
and our collective community. These values make a difference when each
of us actively applies them as we learn work and engage with others
that is why our values are so essential
Gallaudet University is a space where deaf experiences
and language come together with vibrancy and vitality.
We work together to make the world a better place by bringing together
students and a community and working together.
Our values show our human connection
it is well known that values make a difference.
If as individuals we conduct ourselves and commit to following and respecting
shared values in our learning and studies making it part of who we are our
community is stronger our values are the deaf experience
and intersectionality being bilingual belonging lifelong learning and
adaptability and trust and respect
every deaf individual has their own experiences identities
and intersectionalities, we commit to honoring
and recognizing them all
this means embracing and promoting bilingual communication
as well as sign language vibrancy as the essence of our connection as a
community belonging to create a campus that
leverages the rich diversity of identities
cultures linguistic backgrounds languages and life experiences
leading to equitable opportunities
full access and a deep sense of belonging
fostering a community and adaptability about new and differing perspectives
as the foundation for our learning research discovery and
individual and community growth
to act with personal and professional integrity
to create a culture that reflects and respects ourselves
respects our campus respects our community
and respects our planet
it's important that we acknowledge that we have been managing a
great deal of change it's really been a lot
change is not easy for many of us and is often
very scary honestly rapid change such as this creates so
but honestly let me just say that since last spring the spring of 2020 we have
stepped into the unknown there is no doubt about that and what
i've noticed about our deaf community is that when we find ourselves having
stepped into the unknown we share stories we share stories of how
deaf people have stepped into the unknown
almost every day i mean i've seen stories from deaf people sharing how
they step into the unknown when they leave Gallaudet and drive off our campus
property and other stories about leaving their
home and walking into the unknown we deal with this experience every
single day we recognize that we have built our
skills resilience and our can-do attitude as a result of these
experiences we face however what makes this circumstance we
face now different is the scale of what we're dealing with
the sheer scale of the unknown now that we are forced to face
is more onerous than we've ever experienced before
so what are we to do given all that we're facing
we must look to the wisdom of our past and our ancestors
we looked to them to find solutions and the wisdom that they would have to share
what we are looking for often lies in the simplicity of what we already know
our collective successes achieved since the very beginning of this pandemic
are a testimony to our excellence let's now draw upon that wisdom one that
recognizes the simplicity that what we already need to know
lies within each one of us Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center must
continue to rely on that collective internal wisdom
and knowledge to create our future this is what we've always done
and we have shown that we can.
Greetings Gallaudet community
I am elated to share with you the good news
about our plans for this summer this summer 2021 will be
outstanding we are so excited and honored to share with you
on behalf of the Gallaudet faculty what we're planning
for this summer do keep in mind it was not just the faculty but our staff
and our students have been engaged in the process of planning and visioning
for the summer as well. I'll expand on that in the past
our Gallaudet summers have to bend to be honest a bit boring
a six-week session consisting of a three-week
first session of school and a three-week second session of school and once we
were done everyone has gone home and Gallaudet was
dead so for more than a year we have been
remote from one another and we've thought about
how we can transform our Gallaudet education
so we're going to start with this summer and we've thought long and hard and
decided why not make this summer a full semester so
we're planning to have an 11 week summer session this summer yes
11 weeks which will entail a five-week first session a second
session of five weeks plus one week of a break
and that break is going to be replete with a variety of activities events
programs and workshops which we're calling
a Gallaudet festival do keep in mind that this summer
is going to be a hybrid program that will allow us to transition from
being remote to face to face once again in the summer
and helping us getting used to being together again
living learning socializing working and studying with one another here in
Washington DC we are all very much looking forward to
this and it is going to be awesome
do know that this is still a work in progress
and there are many unknowns we don't know what our country is going to look
like what Washington DC is going to look like
or what the entire world is going to look like
and there are many situations that we don't know but we have
a vision and we are hoping for the best future possible we all miss Gallaudet
we miss our ASL vibrancy and we miss one another's company
so our community is working together with
our Gallaudet leadership as well as the public health officials
to make sure that when we come together once again we're going to be
safe we'll be careful because we don't want anyone to get sick
this is going to ensure safety we will keep you informed about the
plans and we have not finished planning we are still working on it
i'm very much looking forward to seeing you at Gallaudet
this summer yes what is clearly evident is that
Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center throughout
everything has been laser focused on maintaining
our collective momentum that is nothing short of amazing
nothing has stopped our progress and we have continued to push forward
as a result we see increased confidence and are now
more than ever determined to persist we are truly becoming
and this is simply wonderful with continued support and the united front
we can press on we just saw our collective vision for
this summer that is to be the next phase in our
growth as a result of this pandemic let us rise to match the energy of that
let us say laser focused on our forward progress
and momentum let us be certain that our decisions support
the safe return of our community to our campus
let us be sure to create an unparalleled experience
that replicates the heart and vitality of Gallaudet University and the Clerc
Center experience the vision of what we are striving to
become represents our long-term vision for Gallaudet's
excellence and the Gallaudet promise
together we can indeed we can
Good afternoon, everyone. Hello and welcome.
2020 begins the third decade of the 21st century.
Our country, and our university, face many different challenges.
These will continue to be challenges that we face in the future as well. Gallaudet University and the deaf community see
these challenges as our opportunities.
In our past, our students, faculty, staff, alumni,
and friends have addressed these challenges that we've experienced and they have responded through
the use of innovation. And that is our history.
And that is our future. Innovation and transformation are really at the root of
our DNA and a part of who we are. So today, you will see firsthand that our university community
is already doing the work. The work of transformation.
And this is because our mission is to graduate Gallaudet
students who now become our alum who are prepared to serve as leaders, innovators and change makers.
And that is what our 21st century world so desperately needs.
So now, it is my honor to introduce our university president, Roberta Cordano.
Thank you, thank you, to everyone. Thank you for being here today.
I see in our audience here students, staff, faculty, members of our board of trustees,
and alumni of the university. I also know we have others who are watching us via live stream.
I want to thank all of you, those of you here on campus and viewing elsewhere.
I'd like to take a moment to thank all of the individuals
who made this presentation possible. I have to tell you, this is the finest teamwork that
I have ever experienced in my entire career. And it's what's made this presentation what it is.
So, my appreciation extends to the team who made this possible.
I am very proud to welcome you to the state of the university address.
As was mentioned, the year 2020 is the third decade of our 21st century.
As indicated here we are strong and I ask you to repeat that with me.
Gallaudet is strong. And not only that, we are diverse.
Diversity is part of what makes us strong.
I know that you believe in the work that you do everyday.
And you believe in the mission of Gallaudet University. The belief in Gallaudet University and its mission is
the source of the strength that allows us to believe and
support the value of deaf people and signing individuals.
We are many things, and never just one.
I chose the word becoming as a theme to represent the notions of this in my presentation today.
The word "becoming".
It refers to our history here at Gallaudet University, since its inception all that we have done to become
what we are today. Represents this notion of change.
To coming to existence as we have. And through this ask of becoming we have grown and developed
into what we are today.
This concept of becoming is something that is an ever changing process.
Our process of becoming is nothing that's new to Gallaudet. It's been a part of our story for the last 155 years.
This is our story, the story that shaped who we are today. And it represents very much all that we are.
I'd like to show some of our milestones that have allowed us
to really transform and become over the time in our history, and they center around three key areas.
First being our mission. Educating deaf students and ensuring student success.
Secondly, the act of becoming as we confront our past history related to admissions and segregation.
And third, our becoming true to our bilingual mission.
And now I'd like to show you a few examples of what that's looked like throughout the years.
I'm happy to see you all inspired by that.
Now we understand that not all of our narratives over the last 155 years are represented in this video.
Many of you in fact hold stories and bits of wisdom that were not shared as part of this tribute.
We do acknowledge that the power of this presentation as we talk about becoming today, allows you to hold those stories and share those with others within our community.
This process of becoming as we have over the years is not an easy one.
It takes a lot of hard work. And it can be very challenging. And we haven't gotten it right all the time.
One thing we do know is that we are committed to this transformational change that will allow us to grow
and to develop into the future. And that's our strength as a community as people
who are deaf and signing users, we are resilient, we persist in light of challenges.
And our history stands as a tribute to that.
So as we talked a bit about the past I would like to bring our attention to more present day accomplishments.
When I first became president four years ago one of the most pressing needs they had to address
was the development that was happening along 6th Street where we owned seven of the eleven acres being
developed and as we began development others as well began establishing various sub businesses.
Union Market was one of the earlier established businesses there. And this issue was brought to my attention because we knew
we wanted to work toward that development so it could become a new gateway for Gallaudet where we could radiate out and
meet the world, and the world would meet Gallaudet.
Our knowledge and experience would radiate out to the world.
This would create a sense of ASL vibrancy too. Both are what we hope to accomplish in that development.
We recognized, however, that we were not yet ready to begin that growth and that development. We needed to instead, focus on shoring up our infrastructure to
make sure we could prepare ourselves for the challenges and opportunities.
And within four short years we have accomplished so much
to prepare ourselves to begin that work.
And I'd like to share with you some of those examples of what we've accomplished together as a community.
We know we worked hard to redesign our administrations and we had one single vice president of this area and
that role has been divided into three separate roles. Chief operations operator that has been selected.
Legal services. The chief legal counsel has also been hired and now we have
a chief financial officer, an interim position which will eventually become a full-time permanent position
within the year. And while at the same time, as doing this, we began to restructure our operations in a number of ways.
We shifted from the way we count our employees from head count
to using FTEs, looking at how to better realign our resources.
Our centralized payroll was shifted to a more distributed model.
Of course our most important resource at the divisional levels.
We continue to push out the budgetary responsibilities to those outside of the centralized payroll area
to be managed by the departments. We've already begun the process of revamping our 2021 budget process which should be fully operational by that year.
All of these are examples of how we have redesigned our processes within the administration area of our campus.
And I would like to now thank all of the individuals in that division for all of your work to support this redesign effort.
It's your commitment that provides the strength to Gallaudet. Thank you so much for your hard work.
I'd also like to now mention the Clerc Center.
There was a single vice president role previously and we changed that to a distributed leadership.
Formally the traditional roles of principal and assistant principal in the high school and elementary school were replaced
by a new model which is a senior leadership team model in both schools that's operational.
This new model of shared distributive leadership is something that's happening throughout all K-12 education and is also evident right here on our campus.
They've expanded as well their national impact work in a variety of ways.
They're now involved in a nine state early acquisition program with families and children working with schools and
states and educational settings. In those southeast portions of the United States. They've also supported the Michigan School for the Deaf
and other schools providing services to the students of the deaf and hard of hearing in the state of Michigan.
And they have provided all services in this respect.
That's been an extraordinary task. Some of you also may remember in 2017,
through the Clerc Center we were able to implement the first ever standards for American Sign Language.
These were developed for K-12 education settings and we worked with teachers throughout the country over
a period of time to develop these standards and now for the very first time we are able to assess and measure
the development of American Sign Language for our deaf and hard of hearing children throughout the nation.
Again, an extraordinary accomplishment. I would like to congratulate the Clerc Center, the staff and the teachers there and all of their allies
throughout the country for their success.
One of the first things you asked me to do when I cover took on this role is to hire a CDO
of which we have done. We have hired a vice president for equity diversity and inclusive excellence and now we have a team of individuals
who have already worked to establish a strategic plan who will lead us into the future around that work and as
you have just seen they have also begun a new pipeline program.
This program will ensure that we are developing a diverse pool of individuals who will be able to become future teachers,
future staff members, and future employees here at Gallaudet and elsewhere in our signing economy.
And congratulations to them, the EDI team for all of their work and efforts.
And moving on now to academic affairs. It really refers to the academic portion of what we do here
at the university. Shortly after I arrived it was noted there was a need for
a general redesign of our general studies curriculum and the faculty began working in that capacity and now today,
there are proposals that have been adopted and recently -- or upcoming in this fall are to be implemented.
These other universities will find all-consuming but our faculty did not stop there.
They took on more besides that. Our academic affairs and administrators and faculty have
really formed a remarkable partnership that together have created a vision.
For them to be able to reduce from 16 individual departments down to five cluster areas.
Our faculty has been reviewing the ideas and will continue to do so through March. And with that, I am very much excited about the transformation
that has led to these areas becoming what they are. This is so remarkable.
Because this act of transforming our student experience also ensures that our students are prepared for the world of work
and for the world that they face today and all of the complex problems they need to resolve.
The leadership within academic affairs has just been extraordinary and I want to thank you and everyone
who's been involved in this remarkable work.
And now the bilingual mission. You may remember a video that was shared about
the bilingual framework that spoke to the work done in this area.
That work began back in 1983 as we first tried to define what it means to be bilingual and it was in February 2019
that the board endorsed our vision. There's a shared understanding and
a vision for what it means to be a true bilingual university.
Now we recognize of course that this is just the first step. And now the hard work begins in this area.
And those of you who have chosen to lead that work know that we have selected an individual to take the realm which is
our chief bilingual officer Dr. Loreen Sims who will step into that role.
I know there have been a number of individuals who have been and will continue to be involved in supporting her work in
that area. That task force helped us to create the framework and
the vision for this work and will lead the way as we change how we talk about being bilingual.
And not just bilingual, but also multicultural. Because we realize those two things cannot be separated.
And that's why we have both a CDO and a CBO. And I can already see evidence of their shared values around this effort working together collaboratively as well as
with the community and wanting of course to see this work continue in that shared way.
We've hired a new chief operations officer.
A COO who has been on the scene for one month and has already established a small group that will expand and include
more individuals who will focus on the transformational work around our employee experiences.
In partnership with leadership in the HR office, along with the COO, they will work to redesign opportunities
for our employees to allow for growth opportunities so that individuals can come to our campus and advance in their careers.
Employers are expected to be more responsive to the needs of their employees and provide innovative ways in order to
encourage their career success. Bottom line is this team understands their call to
continue to do a better job at being a better employer for individuals who work here everyday.
They understand that call and that responsibility and appreciate their persistence in always striving to do better.
And of course, that again, refers to this whole notion of becoming. So I want to thank that team and the new COO for the work
that is being done there.
And I've received permission after asking because I'm a little closer to this work than some of you may have been.
Over the last couple years the board of trustees have also taken on difficult work.
They are determined to lead us strategically into the future
and we'll be seeing more of their work and announcements that are yet to come.
We know academic affairs has reduced the number of departments to some clusters and of course,
the board is looking to do the same kind of work reducing the number of committees to a reduced number so we want to thank the board for their continued work and
their evolving and becoming along with us at the university.
Wow, that is something else. In four short years, just think of all the work we've accomplished.
We've not done this under any pressure from Congress,
no mandates from the Department of Education that we make changes, our creditors are not asking us to transform
or do something differently. The board as well isn't directing us to do any of the changes that we have.
We rather have chosen to transform in the ways that we have.
And I think that bears repeating. We have chosen to transform Gallaudet in the ways we have.
The amount of work that we have accomplished in the last four years is only possible because of your commitment to the vision of Gallaudet,
to the mission of Gallaudet which by the way inspires me every single day.
It is your work and our work that we can see has paid off greatly. We are shoring up that foundation,
that will set us strongly for the future.
So as we look to the future it's important to start with
something fairly simple you must know that I am fairly competitive and so I have seen time and began other college
presidents talking about the pride they have in their college and universities serving the local economy.
There's a pride in the ways these universities are able to be the backbone, the engine of their economic development
and their regions. In which they are situated and that's often left me wondering.
How does Gallaudet do that? We always share the strong story about our social and
political contribution. We can speak to the places that we have publications made and our involvement in the world federation of the deaf and deaf
Olympics and examples as well as any development involvement with success where Gallaudet has shown their ability
to contribute to the global deaf community.
Both socially and politically speaking.
But there's a story there about our economic ability as well. And what is helping us discover that story is the ecosystem.
Lately you've seen a lot of social media remarks about the ecosystem, the signing ecosystem.
And what it makes us realize is that when we have
a signing ecosystem, money always follows.
Just as an example dawn sign press was accomplished by an alumni of Gallaudet, Joe Dannis.
He was one of the early entrepreneurs that established a business that was solely devoted to selling products and
resources and publications about ASL. All centered around our language, American Sign Language.
His business has flourished having just this single focus and many other stories follow that one many not shown here
on this slide. We have our story about the VRS industry,
passage of the ADA that allowed an economy to flourish as a result. We have demanded the ADA provide us equal access to
communication through American Sign Language and that strengthens our economy.
All based on our language. Streetcar 82 is another place everyone loves to go.
A fresh made brewery owned and operated by deaf individuals and in fact, another example, this spring,
the first ever deaf owned alumni owned business will be established on H Street, Mozzeria.
Over the last 155 years we have been evolving and changing and now finally we have this historic landmark situated
right by our campus. The strength of our ASL economy also can be noticed in
the programs we offer here at Gallaudet. We have one example of how we can provide sign language
education for individuals not just here in the United States but globally speaking.
That creates an economic engine for teaching and learning ASL.
ASL Connect is another example of online communities. We are looking to create a platform where ASL can
be handled and managed online. It's very difficult to do this in a 3D environment and yet
we're working towards that end. So you might be wondering, what is the value of this economy?
Any guesses as to how much it's worth?
Someone is saying 50 million, a billion dollars. What is the value of this economy?
A billion dollars? 3 billion dollars? 10? 100 billion?
Currently we're estimating our sign language economy to be worth...
2.8 billion dollars. That is simply amazing.
Strengthening our leadership in this economy is a big part of Gallaudet's future our students are uniquely positioned in such
a way that they can contribute to the sign based economy
or the spoken language economy. They have the opportunity to flourish in both economies.
And that's one of the important reasons why students should come here to get their education because we provide them
the ability to be able to flourish in both economies and no other university in the world provides that
opportunity except for Gallaudet and it is us, we are the ones that provide this opportunity.
You may remember last fall I spoke about the Gallaudet promise and showed this slide.
Excellence in learning and discovery.
The work on the Gallaudet promise will start in 2020
and carry on through 2023.
I will be shifting now to provide you with a sense of some
of the work that's been done around this innovation. So this is not something that's just in printed form that really doesn't hold much value.
But rather, it's something that will be used as a way to help us create and evolve from where we are now to what
we hope to become in the future. We're not adding new work with this Gallaudet promise.
But we're helping dreams be realized through the actions that we're taking.
Next you'll see examples of some of the work that's been done already towards this end.
Pretty impressive. I'm sure you'd agree.
Thank you for the contributions you make everyday towards achieving this vision.
We already recognized there are five grand challenges that we face.
As we evolve and transform into the future,
we must face these five grand challenges. And transform these challenges from those of challenge
to opportunities. And that will allow us to achieve the Gallaudet promise.
Excellence in learning and discovery. You'll note there are three priorities shown here
as well as three imperatives. All of which combine together to make this work possible.
We'll begin the important work of planning and implementing towards this future.
As we launch this work in the fall, we have to consider that in order to succeed with this plan,
we have to come together around a set of committed and shared values.
That we all hold as a community. These are the values that will guide our community through
this growth and through this process of becoming what we will be together. Over the last couple of months I'm sure you've received
some communications requesting feedback on those values and after this presentation, we'll be headed over to the bison cafe where we will
gather together to ask for your feedback related to
these values. We hope to have your value set in place so that it becomes
a guide for something that will hold us together collectively as we move towards our future goals.
So I encourage you to come and join us there in the bison cafe for this work.
Gallaudet has been growing for 155 years. We've been at this process of becoming.
We are strong, we are innovative and we continue to be committed
to our mission here at Gallaudet. I am so proud to be president at this time working with
all of you and I'm so proud of our presidency that we have created together.
This university is a great university. As are its people.
Our future will remain strong because of your commitment to the work that we do every single day.
Gallaudet has been and will always be becoming
all that we hope and dream to be.
So often when I'm done I quickly walk off stage and some of you kind of laughed about that but I remain here on stage
because we have a nice treat to share with you all here. One alumni who happens to be a great example of
the many alumni we have, people who represent as does she the talent here at Gallaudet,
the talent and innovation, not just of her own talent but her ability to recruit other
talented individuals to come together to produce something absolutely beautiful we have asked her to create
a video about belonging.
And this is 100% Gallaudet produced. The entire experience.
Where I'm standing right here is where I first met Storm for the very first time. I had to make a vlog for the dance studio and
I couldn't make the performance and Storm was sent to video me and at one point, she dropped to the floor
and started to film me from the floor. And I thought, what a creative way to go about filming and
I knew at that moment I had to have her on my team. I knew I had to have her join my team.
So I brought her into the president's office. But she didn't last long enough for me. I kept asking her to come back to serve Gallaudet
and so she has done so. She is back and I would like to welcome Storm Smith.
I would get on the floor but I want to make sure I keep my jacket all nice.
Thank you, yeah, let's hear it. I like that. Wow.
It has been such a pleasure to be back here. I flew in just yesterday and I was a bit excited and
anxious even though knowing it is colder here than in California but that's something I learned to live with.
But I do want to recognize and extend a great deal of gratitude to Gallaudet University, to university communications,
and Bus Door Films for making this video possible. It took us ten months to produce this video.
And we probably shot -- I would say, not exaggerating maybe 15-18 hours worth in three days time.
Yeah. To do all of the video work that kept us up until midnight and then we had to be up early the next day to continue shooting
but the best part is that nobody complained.
We had so much fun. We enjoyed the experience, we got to bond with one another,
to support one another and when I pitched this ten months ago to Brandy I clearly remember talking to her through
FaceTime and she said I want there to be music, I want to be able to feel something.
I said, sure, we can do that. We'll have some dancing as a part of this, we'll incorporate it with the story line.
With the story line, I'm a storyteller and in telling a story, you know -- the best part of this is
we were creating a new narrative. In 155 years of our existence, we've always been great storytellers.
That's our bragging right, you know? You know what I'm saying?
So in thinking about this project it really is not just about what it is that Gallaudet has.
It's really about that universal experience from a student's perspective. You know, some students immediately feel like
they belong, some it takes more time to be able to create that belonging. That sense of belonging but it's all creating that
home here at Gallaudet. You know, when I think about Kobe Bryant and his passing
just a couple of weeks ago, in thinking about his legacy,
if there's anything that I've learned from that, it's that he was more than just a basketball player. He had that mamba mentality to be the best of the best and
that is who he became as a player, a father, a husband. In 20 years of doing his craft and work he produced and
created an environment that people feel at home in L.A.
People have that sense of belonging there. They feel that they're part of a community and
the same rings true here at Gallaudet. We have that bison mentality. Right? We have that. We have that here.
So with that bison mentality, that brings the new energy about
becoming and transforming who it is that we want to be. That transformative energy that creates that sense of belonging,
that sense of home that allows us to have that bonding experience with one another. University communications has that goal to bring people in,
they wanted to make sure that they had deaf talent that was supporting this work in bringing people together and your bragging rights is that this is produced here at
the university by our own alumni. Oh my God, what's better than that?
We didn't have hearing corporations or companies. This was produced by all of us. Our own community members.
So I know that everybody's excited to see what we have to show you today.
So I want you to enjoy the film. You know, watch it and experience it for all that it is
and really bleed that blue pride and know that this is all about our community here at Gallaudet in 155 years,
again, we are avid storytellers. And, you know, I am so grateful for what the university has
given me, that foundation to be able to go out and tell my story and I will continue to be the best storyteller anywhere
that I go. When I'm working for the best advertising agency in the world
and telling my stories it's all because of Gallaudet University.
All of my experience is here. That has allowed that to be true and it is my honor and my privilege and it really is my gift to everyone who's watching,
those people who are joining us live stream and watching from all different places in the world that this really is
a model of where we belong.
[SHARON NARRATING] When our academic advisor asked how our semester had been going, we couldn't put it more simply.
Allow me to take you back to the beginning of the semester. ♪ Soft Music ♪ Home.
It can mean many things to different people. Home can mean many things for us.
It is hard when you feel home in an unfamiliar space. And, then
I saw a sign. If only my heart would believe this, to just find the courage and take the leap.
Our fears can make us run in opposite directions. And, oftentimes to nowhere.
It is up to me to decide how I want to do this. Then this happened.
♪ Hip-Hop Music ♪
♪ Hip-Hop Music ending ♪
[SHARON NARRATING] The pen? I’ve learned only you can write your chapter, your story, your own experiences.
How can I sum up my experiences? I love my classes. I’ve made friends I know will be lifelong friends.
I've found my home at Gallaudet. This place is teaching me to embark on my own journey.
Looking back, I do know one thing's for sure. I don't know what the next few years will look like.
But I do know I want to be here. I belong.
I belong. I belong.
♪ Music ♪
Please join me. And Storm as well.
All the people who were in that video, if there are others of you here in the audience,
please join me on stage.
Look at this team. Are you inspired to become?
And this is exactly why we're here. You are exactly why we are here.
Thank you all. Thank you for being here.
Head over to the Bison Cafe. We'll meet you over at the Bison Cafe.
Captioned by aslcaptions.com
All right. This is fun.
Hello, everyone. It's wonderful to be here.
I think this is my quietest introduction over the last three years. Normally we have drums and cheerleaders and people
coming up on stage, but this year, it's a little bit of a different experience, with me walking up with this background.
I want to thank Bilal for his creating the video you see here, or rather the graphic you see here of me,
and I changed glasses here. I'm not wearing the same glasses as I was the day that this was done.
So welcome to the State of the University Address.
Welcome to the beginning of the academic year, 2018 and 2019.
The state of our university is strong, and we are transforming.
But we're not just transforming in isolation and alone, but rather we are transforming with community intention.
When we lead a community, it's important to look carefully at two things. One being leading indicators,
and those are the actions that we are taking. And the results of those actions are the changes
that we see, but those changes are what we refer to as lagging indicators. Those are oftentimes things that happen at the end
of our process, as a result of those leading indicators and actions being taken.
The strategic plan is a good example of this. We are taking certain actions within our strategic plan,
certain initiatives, completing a number of these initiatives and actions so that we can create
the lagging indicator, the Gallaudet University that we want to be.
We are now in year two of our three-year strategic plan.
This three-year strategic plan is based on our mission, the mission of Gallaudet University.
And there are several aspects of that mission that we are giving direct attention to, one being our bilingual mission.
The second being student success. And the third being creating a culture of belonging here in our community.
All three of those areas are of critical importance to our success as a university, and important parts of our mission, as well.
These three areas are also important in our understanding how it is we as a university have been able to provide
fair chances in the race of life to all individuals.
President Abraham Lincoln signed our charter, and he was well known for having the notion
and the philosophy that all people deserve a fair chance at the race of life.
And fortunately for us, deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf blind people, we're included and a part
of that vision that he had, and that vision has been realized in the establishment of Gallaudet University.
We are now seeing the success of our work over the last two years in our work with the strategic plan as we enter our third year.
We've completed at least 80% of the strategic goals that we set forth in that plan just a few years ago.
We've either begun or completed a number of those goals and initiatives which is remarkable.
I want to thank all of you for your hard work and commitment to this, and your leadership in this area.
If you'd like to get a sense of what those things are and what the strategic plan is, I direct you to the website,
where you can find information which both state the measurements and metrics in terms of how we will be able to achieve our goals,
so that information is available there.
Today I'll be sharing information about our bilingual framework, student success, and creating a culture of belonging.
All of these tie directly into our strategic plan. Most importantly today for you is to understand our purpose
of our mission and our strategic plan is in place to help us really determine our intentions,
to determine our intentions which guide our commitments, and also direct our attention.
Attention and intention are both critically necessary for our success, and we've been doing this work,
and I'm very thrilled to share with you all of our collective successes that we have achieved over the last couple of years.
You may remember this graphic, this beautiful graphic, that represents our six goals of our strategic plan.
When we established the strategic plan, we noted that each of these six areas are interdependent on the other.
They all weave together in such a way that they support and enhance the other.
I think maybe the next graphic that we create will somehow represent that visually, but these are not single, isolated goals,
but rather, they work in conjunction. Gallaudet doesn't work in silos. We all know that's the case, and you've already begun
to notice the pain in this work, because it does require us to work in ways that we're not used to,
working across divisions, across these silos as we bring together each of these areas,
and I'd like to share with you these three themes and understand how these three themes of community intentions were actually established here.
That creates the integrative experience that we have here at Gallaudet, bringing our learning and our experience together as a community.
So first, addressing the topic of bilingualism and the bilingual university.
We have a bilingual mission framework that is spelled out in our strategic plan, and it was two years ago
after the plan was initiated, we set a bilingual task force in place.
I'd like to ask members of the task force to please stand if you are here today.
I see a couple of you here in the audience. Thank you so much. Thank you.
I'd like to speak a moment to our history related to being bilingual. We were established 155 years ago to instruct deaf
and hard of hearing students using what they called back then manual signs.
Manual language, manual signs is what we refer to this visual language back then, as well as in English.
And in 1960, we know that American Sign Language was discovered as an official language here at Gallaudet University.
That notion began to shift our understanding as to who we are as a university.
Once we understood that this was an official language that we were learning, we began to develop new vocabularies
within our university, and the notion of bilingualism and being bilingual first emerged, and it emerged
because of the recognition of American Sign Language as an official language, seeing it on par
and of equal status to the English language.
Again, that discovery was in 1960, and we've seen a number of issues come up related to bilingualism and bilingual education,
but it wasn't until middle states came into Gallaudet in 2007 asking Gallaudet to define our niche,
what makes us unique, and when the task force, the bilingual task force, presented to the board
just a few weeks ago, they in that history explained how when they came together back in 2007,
they wanted to define, what is Gallaudet's niche? And clearly and evident, the notion of bilingualism
came to the surface, and it was named as part of our mission by the board for the first time ever in 2007.
We saw it clearly stated as a part of our mission here at Gallaudet. Educating students in both American Sign Language
and English became a prominent part of our work.
The bilingual task force was established and they were asked to do three things. Their charge included three areas that we hoped
would help us as a community better understand our community's intentions about what it meant to be bilingual.
And we didn't want to start with policies and procedures and defining what it meant to be bilingual,
but rather a framework that would clearly articulate what it meant to be bilingual right here at Gallaudet.
We asked them to clarify for us, and again I want to bring highlight to the word clarify.
Clarify what our assumptions are as they relate to our being a bilingual university.
What does it mean that we understand when we talk about being bilingual? And that brings together some of our intuitions
as well as our assumptions. Secondly, we asked them to define some of the principles
and concepts of what it meant to be bilingual, and thirdly, the values behind bilingualism,
and to bring to light these three areas for our community. They worked tirelessly over two years.
This was a very difficult charge they were given. They met with many obstacles and opportunities to learn.
And as a result of their efforts, they've come out of the room, if you will, with a framework that they shared
with the board of trustees just a couple of weeks ago. I wonder how many of you were in Ole Jim to see the unveiling of the framework
just a couple of weeks ago. So they decided to come out of their deliberations,
out of their work, and share this content with the board of trustees, and understand, this is the early draft, the early stages of their work,
yet to be completed.
So we have agreed to show in this presentation the bilingual framework to all of you who are here
in the audience, and those of you watching live stream, but understand, this is an early version of the bilingual framework that you'll be seeing today.
And we can see the evolution of the sign over time, and I'll show that to you after you actually see the video.
But a few words of warning before we watch the video. There's some new learnings and understandings
just over the last couple of months that have come to be understood by the task force.
The first was recognizing that official statements originating in ASL were something
very new for our university. This task force released a bilingual mission, a bilingual framework, was the first time
a statement, an official statement was produced in American Sign Language. Typically, we see these kinds of official statements
being issued in English, and they were able to put these ideas down on paper with ink,
with a separation between the words and the concepts and the message and the author of those messages.
But when we do this in American Sign Language, it's next to impossible to separate the messenger from the message at this point in time.
We're hoping at some point in time that might change. We know here at Gallaudet when we see a problem, we're quickly into looking to ways to resolve it
and transform the issues. So when you see the bilingual framework, we recognize that it's hard to detach the messenger from the message.
So we experience representations of the community, individuals who are White, African American,
Native, Hispanic, from varying cultures, and we want to see ourselves reflected in each
of the different messages that are being shared in this video, and that might not be an experience
that you all have as you watch this video. Dr. Laurene Simms did a beautiful job when this content
was shared with the board of explaining how hard it is to detach the messenger from the message
and the experience that oftentimes people have when they see this kind of a statement.
For years, publications have been made, researchers and scholars have studied American Sign Language
and those individuals who have done this work have been predominantly people who were white. People of color have been distanced, detached,
and just been distrustful of this process.
And I certainly can't do justice to a full 10-minute presentation in which Dr. Simms presented this content, but I do want to give you a flavor
of what was shared within this content and to understand our community is not homogenous.
And the experiences are not always the same. In the beauty of this, we recognize that this is the work
that we have ahead to struggle to learn to listen to one another and to integrate the work
into all that we do.
We also recognize with being a bilingual community, there are certain complexities that result in issues
that surface as pain points. All of us, each of us, have certain pain points
that we deal with, consciously or unconsciously, and very often, they surface in ways that may be intended or unintended.
One of those pain points that's very common provides us an opportunity to understand what it means
to be in a community that's intersectional.
Intersectionality shows up for each of us in a variety of different ways.
And when you watch this film, emerging signers may be watching wondering where an individual
who's reflective of their life experience appears in this film. They may not see themselves reflected there.
Intersectionality as it relates to language identity and language fluency may be something that each of you
experience as you watch this film. I would like to encourage you to support
the task force work and their understanding that this is in its imperfected state, but the excitement is, is they're already beginning to work
on adapting and editing this so that a new video will be ready for release on March 26th.
This is truly a work in process. I mean, why it's important for me to share this with you
as a president is because this is the work that we do every day. It's always a work in process.
Some of you have the courage to stand up and show all of the work that you do, despite its flaws,
despite its imperfections, in the state that it is, and it took the task force the same kind of courage
to show the work that they've done to date. And again, this is the first time in the history
of Gallaudet that we have an ASL-originated text, the first time in the history of Gallaudet University
we have set forth our community's intention, and the first time we've been able to do these things
together with intention, that will provide the community representation in the actual messaging
of this bilingual statement. So I ask you to watch this film, focusing on the message
that's being delivered, and at the same time, noticing your experience, and not letting it interfere
too much with the message. The task force is eager to hear the feedback that you have, but I ask that you do both of these things
as you view this film. So we're going to now watch the eight-minute video.
I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you to all the members of the task force.
And now, to make it even better, when the board of trustees watched the draft film that you just saw,
they gave a statement of their full support, without any hesitation, to what was presented in the content.
I wanted to point out here a particular statement.
They understood this was not in its final form, and they supported the work in process
that we as a community will continue to work on.
I'm thrilled to see now, with the community support and the board's support, undoubtedly, Gallaudet
as a community will make all things possible.
We have everything that we need here to ensure the success of this work.
So you saw the sign for bilingual framework. The previous way we showed that in American Sign Language
has now been adapted to this new sign to represent that same notion, bilingual framework.
This is now our community's intention, and it sets the vision, the principles, and the values.
Gonna advance the slide. I talked about Dr. Simms and other members of the task force
presenting to the board, and you'll see their content on March 26th, but our work moving forward
requires us now to really start paying attention to the daily things that we do on our job.
The work that we do and the frustrations that we may experience, the challenge along the way,
looking to see what works and where we continue to struggle, and pay attention to the actions that we take
in the next coming months, so that we can be more intentional about what it means to be a bilingual community, because that work that's being done
at the base of all of this framework is the work that you engage in intentionally.
To be able to help us understand this, we recognize that we are in the muck, we are in the day-to-day work,
the day-to-day activities, and it's not easy in any way. In fact, it's very challenging.
And let me just give you one example to help you understand what I mean by the kinds of discoveries you might realize
through your attentiveness to the work that you do every day. I've done many vlogs, and many of you have given me feedback
to say how much my American Sign Language representation has gotten better, that it's easier to watch now
as time has gone by. And one of the changes that happened at some point in time during my creation of the vlogs, is that I always
would follow a teleprompter to help me communicate my thoughts, and it's very difficult to do an immediate translation
from the teleprompter into ASL. At some point in time, a Certified Deaf Interpreter was brought in to help me make sure
that my facial expressions matched the meaning that I hoped to intend to communicate through my message.
And the CDI worked together with me over a number of months, through a number of vlogs, and for those of you
who may not know, a CDI is a Certified Deaf Interpreter. This individual plays a role with me though
in creating these vlogs that's very different from the job she might do as a Certified Deaf Interpreter.
She rather plays the role and functions as an ASL editor.
Now, I've looked, and Gallaudet doesn't have a job description anywhere for an ASL editor.
But this is the work that she's doing. And once I put some attention and noted it,
I wondered how many other kinds of things like that are happening in the areas where we work
that we need to give a bit of attention to, being intentional about the things that we're doing,
because that attention and intention is what will lead to our creating a structure, that will then provide
support to the bilingual framework. The framework does not provide the structure
nor the policy, nor the procedures. It's our intentions and it's aspirational in nature.
The work ahead of us is the work that we will begin together to build the structure that will then
shore up that framework. We also recognize that Gallaudet
is not working in isolation. You saw the videos when you came in about why bilingualism.
The student from Iran was talking about the difference between American Sign Language and English, and recognizing that we are part
of a transnational community, a global community when we recognize other sign languages
along with American Sign Language. And we have to be intentional in our understanding of what it means to be global but focusing first
on our home, with attention and intention to the work we do here in our community.
So this represents a wonderful story of a lotus flower, one that I heard not long ago.
You may or may not know that the lotus flower that sits beautifully on top of the water,
it's able to bloom and rest so beautifully on top of the water because of a system of roots
at the bottom of the riverbed that's bound within the muck of that riverbed.
And it's those roots and an integrated structure that then create a stem upon which that flower can blossom.
I think it's important that we learn about ourselves, that while we are mired in the muck,
that's where the work is. It's certainly not a pain-free zone in any way, shape, or form.
It's also not a conflict-free zone, by any means. There will be emotions and pains.
There will be highs and lows, that we can expect and anticipate. But we have to ask ourselves, how do we honor ourselves
and others as we live within the mire of this muck, and do this work together?
And when conflicts emerge in your areas of work, it's probably not something
we should take personally in any way. It's probably problems that are tied to our working towards a community goal.
And recognizing at the same time how hard this work is. You know, oftentimes people will tell me, you know what?
The CDI will say, I'm not really certainly paid here to do the CDI work. It's a lot of work. It could be very difficult, being an ASL editor
on top of the CDI work that she's doing. We're paying her in this instance to be an ASL editor,
so how many times has that sort of thing happened to you? The work that you're doing maybe not fit the job description that you actually have,
but yet it is the work that you're doing, and many times this is very true. All of this is part of realizing the complexity
that we deal with on a daily basis, from within that muck, but from that muck emerges a way that we can define
who we are as a community, why we do what we do, how we do what we do, and also what causes those conflicts
is often the diversity that we find within our community. The intersectionality of our community is what we find
at the base and the roots of our rising above and creating the framework that we have before us.
It's the everyday work that we do on a daily basis, and I'm sure as we go through this presentation,
you'll see more representations of this notion of the lotus flower.
So I want to make sure that you put March 26th on your calendar, and I hope you're all there to be able to watch the task force
official presentation to the community. They're still revising the film and editing the narrative
to make sure it's prepared and ready to share with all of us on that date.
So we've announced the date. I just want to do a quick time check here.
The second area of focus this afternoon really centers around the fact that we have an enormous promise
that we've made here at this university towards student success.
Over the last number of years, we've made huge strides in three particular areas related to student success.
One is looking at birth through five populations, where we understand that student success is critical,
and it often begins with these younger children, the birth through five population.
We have begun to work very hard to provide support and build structures in what we're calling
the 50 Programs in 10 Years Initiative.
We're calling it the Beacon Initiative. The goal is that we're able to have at least 50 programs
serving students between the ages of birth through five in the next 10 years, and that work has already begun.
Second, we've received $2 million from Congress last year to establish a partnership with the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind.
This partnership has allowed us to serve a nine-state region of the Southeast region of the United States
for them to be able to have programs available to families, schools, and communities in that nine-state area.
It's a very exciting initiative, and that experience will help us better understand how we can replicate
that same kind of initiative in other parts of the United States, and it's a wonderful place for us to begin this work.
That builds the pipeline of students that will be coming to the university, but at the same time, we must be mindful
and attentive to the students who are currently on our campus. But let me back up for a moment.
It's not just the birth through five population that we're focusing on, but it's also the K-12 students.
The board had the opportunity during their recent meeting to visit the Clerc Center, and two things stood out
for them, the Clerc Center is working with collaborators around the country to set ASL standards.
The work that they've done in applying those standards into the classroom on a daily basis is remarkable,
and it's already begun. Not only in the Clerc Center, but elsewhere throughout the United States.
The second thing is that they were working on ensuring that the equipment and the classrooms are available
to support bilingual learning environments, making information visible to all students.
Being able to see this was very exciting as they put to work all of the efforts that will create success
for our students in these K-12 settings.
The pipeline that we create in the birth through five populations and the K-12 populations all working
with our national missions and the ASL standards work, all of that comes together to bring students
to our university, as university students. And I'm delighted to share with you that our faculty
are not waiting in any way. Academic affairs and our faculty have already recognized
that the world is rapidly changing around us.
Complex problems like how can we build artificial intelligence to create smart cities.
Other questions about climate change and how we're able to build healthy
and thriving communities, these are just a few examples of the complex problems that our students will face
when they leave this university. Our faculty are not waiting, but rather have already
committed to redesigning the curriculum. In fact, right now, they're going through or just finished
a review of their GSR curriculum, and we are watching intently at the momentum of change that's happening,
created by the faculty to ensure that our students are ready for successful careers once they complete their graduate
and undergraduate studies here at the university. Last year I reported to you that digital adaptive learning
has begun to be implemented in the mathematics area. Now this year, we've expanded that work into other areas,
where English is developing the same kind of digital adaptive technologies and developmental English.
This further supports our bilingual mission. Many students come to our campus not knowing American Sign Language, and we offer them
ASL one through four. And other students come, not quite proficient in English,
and we want to make sure we give attention to their developing the skills that they need in English, as well, and that will happen through
these developmental courses and the GSR classes. I want to commend and appreciate all of the faculty
who have been a part of this, and academic affairs who supports the students' success.
We are moving at a pace which is just remarkable, and we must, in order to meet the needs of our students,
so that they in turn are prepared for the world that they will face after graduation.
So I've mentioned a number of things that we're doing and investments that we're making to ensure that we are creating an intentional bilingual community,
that we're designing our curriculum in such a way that we are intentional, that we're renovating spaces
as we have in HMB and the new Welcome Center, so all these investments are happening in one sense.
While we move to the future and these new innovations and creations, there are certain expenses
associated with that, new expenses. While at the same time, we continue to operate
on our daily basis, as we do, but this will not be able to be sustained.
We have to make sure that we can make adjustments in our regular operations and our business-as-usual area
so that we can support and allocate resources to our Budget Reallocation and Reinvestment Initiative.
We encourage all of you to be present on March 6th
at 12:30 in the JSAC. We will be giving a community presentation
on where we are with the FY '19 budget, sharing with you some of the challenges that we're facing, the opportunities that we have to help you
get a better picture of where we are. The board has recognized that unfortunately,
they had to close that portion of the board meeting, the budget board meeting, and didn't have an opportunity
to welcome the community in to hear that presentation. So because of that, the board will be present,
the administration will be present, as well as others in the community to hear and understand where we are
with our BRRI, our FY '19 budget, and the community is welcome to attend that at that time, as well.
And last, over the last few years, we have been recognizing and developing our understanding of what it means
to build a sense of belonging here at Gallaudet. Last year, we talked about living, well being, and belonging
and the initiative around that, and a lot of work's been done to better understand how we can build a community
that's diverse and inclusive, where everyone within that community feels a sense of belonging,
so that they can contribute their best and do have a sense that they belong here
and that they're happy to be a part of our community. So now I'm slightly shifting the way we refer
to this understanding to describe our intentional building of a community. I'm referring to this as curating a culture,
or curating a sense of belonging. This is something that we do together as a community.
But first, I'd like to share with you some of the work that we've been doing, because we've made progress, and I have a couple of examples that I'd like to share
with you, work that's been done in the EDI division. They've been up and running in the last couple of years
and a lot's happening in that area. Secondly, we've done some work related to accessibility,
and third is the creation of some community hubs around campus, so EDI work, accessibility,
and also community hubs are three areas that we've been focusing on to help us better curate a culture of belonging.
In 2017, we established an intent to make sure
that everyone feels a sense of belonging on this campus. We have been giving attention and intentionally working
to understand how we can create this sense of belonging, and one way we've been doing this is by engaging
in cross-cultural conversations. We had one event last August, and another last week
where we had seven days' worth of cross-cultural conversation training, and now even this evening we'll have a series
of opportunities for students to come together, the first one being tonight, to have their own experience
as a student throughout these cross-cultural conversations. So we're building on this work, and the board as well
has also done important work related to this. They've established their own EDI, Equity, Diversity, Inclusive Excellence Committee,
and they as well have engaged in cross-cultural conversational training, and they've had that experience.
All this to say that we have continued to engage in this work as a community, and as opportunities surface
to be involved in EDI work and other work that's provided by other teams, I want to encourage you as members
of our community to participate. The next is the area of accessibility.
Students who are deaf and have other disabilities have experienced great frustration in terms of their ability
to navigate successfully on our campus. So we want to show our commitment to accessibility,
and in doing so, we shared with you a statement, the commitment in email, a couple of weeks ago,
and that statement is here available for you to view today.
So what you see here is another community intention, our intention to set up places on our campus
that are welcoming to every student and every person who's a part of our community. So we've made progress in the work,
but we're certainly not done yet. I hope that you leave with a sense of purpose,
that you, as well, can give attention to this work in all that you do, in your departments, in your divisions.
That you give intentional attention to the work. And I've seen the impact of the work we've done thus far,
it's been very positive, recognizing the changes and the strides that we've made, and so I want to thank you
for your involvement in creating a sense of belonging for everyone.
Now, to the community hubs. You probably have already recognized a number of spaces
on campus that have been identified, and you can see some of these shown in the images here, but one I have to mention,
and that's the one in the top center. You may be wondering what those things in blue are up there.
You know, Hanson, ELI Plaza rather, was a concrete space with concrete tables that were fixed and immovable
from where they were placed. So we've done away with them and cleared the patio and instead put in furniture that's more flexible.
So during homecoming last fall, the students pulled out all of the furniture, and put in bumper cars.
How awesome is that? I mean, I thought some faculty and staff would probably like to play on those bumper cars.
That might help us maybe feel better as we work out our frustrations as the students did, but that kind of innovation is what we hope
these community hubs to be used for. Building memories as they have done,
and things they will never forget is what we intend to have happen in these places. These hubs are places to come together
where people can create memories and connect with one another. And I just want to thank the people who are involved
in the work with this. There's lots more to come related to these experiences, but again, we're certainly making great progress here.
And the last thing I'd like to share with you, a number of people have been asking with me about what's happening on campus, and how difficult it is
to find information about events that are happening, or successes we as a community have reached.
So where is a place to be able to store our stories and share them?
We've listened, and as a result of your comments have created something called GallyShare.
GallyShare is intended for students, staff, faculty,
administration, those of you who are here in the auditorium, as well as our alumni and others watching via live stream.
Everyone can post their own stories, their vlogs where they share the success, and it can be created
in a bilingual format. You can post a creation that you do in American Sign Language or a text in English.
Both can be submitted. So I want to encourage you and your departments to readily upload information about what you're doing
as it pertains to your work and the successes you've realized into GallyShare. This becomes a clearinghouse where we can intentionally
share information to the broader community, sharing with them your success stories.
So please take advantage of this, for your own personal benefit as well as for the benefit of Gallaudet.
Alumni especially, we want to see your stories shared here on this platform.
In closing, we talked about the importance
of community intention.
In our best moments, we see the success, and the analogy I use here is of that lotus flower.
But if we see that lotus flower on the surface, we know that beneath it is a system of roots,
and we don't live above the water in that beautiful space.
But rather, we live within the muck and the mire of this root system.
It's all a part of what we do on a daily basis and how we navigate in this intricate,
interwoven root system. It's not an easy, pain-free space,
and that's why they call it the muck. It's the muck at the bottom of the riverbed
and the soil and the darkness that we have to dig through and sift through.
But the importance is as we navigate through this very intricate system, we make connections with one another.
And through this, we create something that will blossom into that next flower.
So go forth, living in the muck on a day-to-day basis as we do, connecting with one another within that space,
and yet finding joy within that muck, even though we recognize that suffering exists.
And I look forward to seeing the blossoms and the flowers that will result from your work.
Many thanks to all of you.
All right, we want to see your hands in the air, show us some spirit. (drum thumps)
(performer mumbles) Yell out loud for the Gallaudet buff and blue.
Team, are we ready? (drum thumps)
Look. (drum thumps)
Awesome job. Thank you for taking the time to watch the Bison Song.
Now I'd like to ask the President, Bobbi Cordano, to come to the stage. (drum thumps)
Well, that was incredible. Thank you so much to the Bison Team.
I want to welcome everyone. Welcome back to our spring semester. Welcome back to our school year of 2018.
I'm delighted to see you all here today. And for those of you who are watching via Livestream,
hello to you as well. Hello and welcome, everyone.
There are three key themes that I will be using in my remarks today.
The first one is thoughtful.
The second, pragmatic.
And the third, impactful.
So these three themes you'll see evidenced in my remarks with you today.
So often, thoughtful and pragmatic actions,
which are often achieved through many incremental accomplishments along the way.
Those accomplishments that we make are the keys to creating long-term success towards our future impact.
And an action such as this, every person's contributions are critical and valued towards that end.
It is the collective work of the whole that creates the impact that we are looking for
that drives us towards success and are quite powerful.
As the proverb goes, "We stand on the shoulders of those who went before us."
In 2017, we acknowledge the loss of a number of significant individuals who are a part of our Gallaudet community.
Some of them were former administrators and faculty, staff and students as well as alumni.
I'd like to ask that all of us take a moment of silence to acknowledge their loss and recognize those individuals who are no longer with us.
We certainly will miss these individuals who are no longer here, and yet we know that they will remain with us.
Their impact is a part of who we are and has influenced our community greatly.
You know, we have been and actually it's been two years, if you can believe, I'm beginning my third year as of January 1st,
but we are on a journey towards transformation. There is no doubt about that.
And what affirms the possibilities of transformation really comes down to two things.
Those are citizenship.
And I'm going to repeat that for all of you. Again the first is citizenship and with that belonging.
Both of these are critical for our success.
Citizenship is measured by our collective success as a community.
So when we talk about citizenship, we're talking about our collective commitment towards our success as a community.
And belonging. Belonging is that sense of being able
to be a part of that success and contributing in some way. Both of those are happening here at Gallaudet,
and we've seen evidence of that already. You are citizens of Gallaudet,
and we will all rise to the opportunities that await us.
But we will do so through very measured and strategic steps,
all of which we have taken and will continue to.
We began this journey two years ago. And we began this through listening,
listening in order to gather feedback and ideas and input from all of you.
And from that we shaped our Gallaudet priorities.
Those priorities then led to our current short-term strategic plan.
And I know you recognize that this process is one that doesn't allow us to jump ahead of ourselves
towards making transformation happen, but, rather, to go with it through pragmatic ways,
dealing with the day-to-day issues and yet creating the conditions that make us ripe and ready
for that transformation that is to come. Last semester, the Board of Trustees approved this strategic plan,
and we shared this plan with the community in December of 2017.
We are building the conditions to ensure that we are ready and prepared
for future transformation and change.
Just take a moment, I ask you, to just imagine what it will be like over the next two years.
It will fly by faster than we know it. Between now and 2020, I'm referring to this period
as being like an incubation period, an incubation period where we slowly grow and develop
and improve and test and experiment our ideas and our learning and our understanding
and then from that create the strong foundation that will prepare us towards that future.
And this foundation is what will support our future success.
Throughout this year, we'll be focusing on our short-term strategic goals without a doubt.
But we won't wait to develop our long-term plan. In the meantime, between 2018 and 2020,
we'll be working to design our long-term strategic vision
and determining exactly what that will look like. By the end of 2019, we will have a design
which everyone will come to consensus around, and we will build from that our future vision of what we will be,
imagining the impact that Gallaudet will have here and abroad, a global impact.
This approach is thoughtful, pragmatic, and will result in nothing but success.
Everything that we do together collectively will have a collective impact on our world.
And this collective work that we do together pragmatically will be critical
to making that vision, that transformation become a reality.
And that vision, we're referring to it as our Gallaudet Vista. And now I'm excited to share with you
our new short-term strategic plan that we're referring to as #GUVISTA2020,
as you see displayed here. It is that vista of our future that will be made possible
through all of you here at Gallaudet.
Some of you might not be recalling the strategic plan, and don't feel bad because what I'll do right now
is summarize for you some of the main points that we've come to agreement around. You may remember last year getting some information
and voting on what those priorities are. So let me run through them here with you now.
We are providing the foundation for our bilingual mission within a diverse, multilingual, multicultural community,
a community within which we live, we work, we learn, and we play together.
Priority number two, we are addressing the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, EDI,
ensuring that every individual who is a part of our Gallaudet family, our community,
feels a part of this family in every sense of the way,
that you feel you have a sense of belonging and that your unique contributions to this university are valued.
Priority number three, we are committed to improving our student experience,
both through academics and socially, such that every student at Gallaudet,
those from early childhood throughout the span of their lifelong learning,
feel that sense of student success. Priority number four,
we are investing in our people. We are investing in our infrastructure
and in our relationships. It's in these three areas where we're investing
to create the impact that we have on our daily community for our daily lives and on our community and the world.
Priority number five, we are fostering research and interaction
that allows us to drive innovation outward into the world and to strengthen Gallaudet's academic vitality.
Priority six, we are strengthening Gallaudet's short and long-term financial well-being,
and we're doing so through planning, budgeting, and decision making.
So those are the priorities within the strategic plan.
I'd like to share with you now some updates related to what's happening here at the university in the area of budget, operations, and academics.
We know here at Gallaudet, we are so capable of adapting to whatever situation that we face,
and that is our legacy. We will continue building on this legacy
by implementing a process of smart investing.
Coming up soon, on January 29th, we will begin a process of reviewing and revising our budget.
We will be undertaking a budget reconciliation process.
And I have to tell you, this is not the similar kinds of processes that we've undertaken in the past.
Because whenever we hear talk about budgets, we immediately think about making budget cuts.
That's not the case with this new approach. We will begin to look to identify areas
where there are potential savings through efficiencies, through our ability to reallocate our resources
to determine how best we can use our resources at Gallaudet and move them to places such that those critical areas
will help us have the success and the vision that we're striving towards. That is where we want to invest our resources.
And it's vital for us to be thoughtful about the use of our resources, those resources that we currently have at our use,
that we look to that star, that transformation that we're heading towards, and make sure our resources align towards that goal.
Smart investing is a process of reinvesting some of the same resources we currently have
into different places,
these places that will add to your daily experiences that will fulfill your dreams and your desires for our future.
That is where we want to invest. And that is the future that we all value.
So imagine, in five years from now, Gallaudet will have transformed.
And that impact will be significant because of the thoughtful, pragmatic actions
that are being taken today and will be taken as we move forward.
You know what's remarkable is whenever we're faced with a challenge, we respond with amazing spirit and strength,
and that's especially true here at Gallaudet. No place in the world can they match our strength
and our spirit of confronting challenges. No one does it like we do here at Gallaudet.
Now, I'd like to share with you some of the successes that we've realized over the last year.
Some things have already been undertaken, responding to issues that have been raised by our community related to their needs,
and let me give you a few examples. This one is especially important for the students.
We are responding to the student's financial needs by no longer charging course fees.
I see no response (drum thumps) in the audience to that. I was expecting some kind of a positive response.
In fact, we have already begun that process in this year's tuition, so no longer will we be
charging course fees. We've also made changes in our loan requirements,
increasing those levels so that students can re-enroll here at Gallaudet.
We understand the financial pressures that students are on and we want to respond to your needs. (drum thumps)
Secondly, and this relates to the area of development, we had established a goal last year
hoping that we would be able to raise about $875,000 from our alumni
in order to support what happens here within our Gallaudet community, and we were going to do this
through pledged commitments and giving. I am happy to share with you
that in just half the amount of time, our alumni committed $4.8 million
to Gallaudet University. (drum thumps)
And this is a beautiful example of how much people care about Gallaudet.
Third, in the area of human resources, payroll, time and labor sheets,
I am happy to say that we have finally automated those systems and created online systems instead. (drum thumps)
I'm looking for a response here from faculty and staff.
Now as we have payroll procedures all online, we are going to be much more efficient
when we hope to be able to save time and frustration for many of you resolving many of these previous inefficiencies.
A major part of our budget here at Gallaudet comes from a place not far from here,
Congress, as we all know. Our congressional appropriations are quite important to Gallaudet,
and we rely on the government. We have been investing a significant amount of time and energy,
including Gallaudet Hill Day which many of you participated in, in building upon our congressional relations.
We have seen members of Congress and their staff, Secretary DeVos, the Secretary of Education,
visiting our campus here at Gallaudet.
And it's important that our faculty, staff and students and administration, that we are recognized for the wonderful job we've done
in describing who we are and the importance of the work that we do here and the teaching and learning and research
that's conducted on this campus and sharing that with these visitors. Because in sharing this information
and showing them who we are, we feel very positive about our future here at Gallaudet
with our government relations. (drum thumps) Thank you all for that.
I'm sure you've been watching the news, however you get your news source, about the government shutdown of recent
and wondering the impact that might have here on Gallaudet.
The government shutdown has been resolved, and they have deferred making decisions related to the budget and until February 8th.
So the government is open for business again. But we will have to wait until February 8th in order to get the results of the budget vote
that will happen at that time. I want to share with all of you,
a lot of hard work has gone into us and the work we've done, creating a position such that we hope that we don't see
much disruption from this process after February 8th. But we're in a wait and see mode,
and we will keep you informed as time goes by and share with you any updates that we learn.
I ask that you continue your steadfast, cautious oversight of the budgets
and making sure that we are committed to getting information, whatever it might be, from Congress.
Again, we're approaching this in a very thoughtful and pragmatic way.
That's the approach to everything that we do here at Gallaudet. Focusing on our current operations
and what we're doing currently.
Each one of you who are members of our community brings a significant amount of value,
value that you bring to our community and to our university.
Your individual contributions through the work that you do make Gallaudet not just a place
where people come to get a degree, but in fact a premier institution
that is a one of a kind in the world, and that's what Gallaudet is.
We continue to work to make Gallaudet a great place, continue to improve upon what we have that's working well,
and I have some wonderful examples of our successes over the last year that I'd like to share with you.
We've been working with a program for emerging African leaders called the Mandela Washington Fellows,
and in fact we hosted deaf leaders. This will be our third year of doing this program.
Those deaf leaders came to us from Africa hoping to learn and then bring knowledge back to their country from what they've learned.
We have established internationalization committees
and various efforts throughout our campus where teams will be formed
ensuring that we begin to take a close look at how it is we can engage more in the global communities.
We acknowledge the very important place that Gallaudet plays in the world,
and it's important that we define the way that we reach out to our communities and how they reach out to us.
We've been doing the work of our bilingual mission for quite some time now.
That bilingual mission is the heart and soul of our community.
And we could look to examples from the faculty of the work that they're doing on ASL proficiency standards.
They are redesigning and re-envisioning what it means to have ASL competency standards in place.
Our academic departments are experimenting through the way they disseminate
and share information in a bilingual way, and we see evidence of this, which is remarkable.
I want to thank the Center for Bilingual Teaching and Learning
and also the Bilingual Task Force. I want to thank you for your leadership, your hard work,
as you build the foundation through the number of efforts that you have begun on our campus.
The next area that I wanted to share with you is with the Math Department. The faculty in the Math Department are eager
to begin a new approach. They are on the cutting edge of implementing and designing
something that we're referring to as adaptive learning.
This is a process that's designed to help us shape our curriculum in such a way that it is tailored to individual learning styles
and individual unique learning needs in the best way possible.
That process is very exciting for our university and for the future of our university, and I congratulate that department
for their work in this area. And now, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Our equity, diversity, inclusion work began in 2018 with a plan, will begin in 2018 developing a plan
that will help guide our strategic plan. It will be designed and launched and disseminated
by the fall of September 2018, and we will be sharing that information with our community
so that this plan will be communicated in such a way, and we are creating the conditions and the foundation
for that to happen. Dr. Elavie Ndura, our Vice President
of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is making changes and restructuring the divisions such now that ODES is now part of her division,
the Office of Equity and Diversity for Students. And they are now focusing on realigning that work,
focusing on students and developing of mentors.
And more work and more information will be shared with you related to this new department and this new vision
as the time comes. We want to ensure that we're having an impact, a positive impact on all of our students.
What we know is that we will succeed when every single individual feels a sense of belonging
and are valued at Gallaudet.
Again, going back to this notion of citizenship, citizenship is our investment
in the collective community around us. Belonging, belonging is our sense of well-being
within our community as an individual.
Which leads to what I announced last fall, our Living, Well-being, and Belonging Initiative.
And I am still waiting for a better way to represent that concept in ASL. I'm sure you have ideas so please share them with me.
We really want to begin this work by focusing on three key areas, the first one being food security.
The second area is a PNG review. And third, our community hubs.
So the third area is community hubs. So moving back to food security, the first area.
We have a committee that's led by Christine Gannon, who is our Health and Wellness Coordinator
here at Gallaudet. She will be working alongside of Vice President Ndura
and the Associate Provost Tommy Horejes.
The three of them will be working to continue assessing what is happening with food security here
and access to food on our campus and then make recommendations available related to our community's experience
as it relates to food security. There will be opportunities
for students to be involved and engaged in this work as well as other members of our community as we gather your input through your involvement.
The second area of this initiative is the PNG review. This is specifically related to issues of PNG status.
We have instituted or rather Dr. Ndura and Ted Baran, Director of the Department of Public Safety,
are now in the process of working together to institute and design a panel
which will come together to review all of our PNG cases that have been assigned PNG status by DPS.
They will continue to work and gather information about best practices as evidenced by other colleges and universities
and then assess what is unique about our community, our signing deaf community,
understanding its size and how we best can implement those best practices here. Those best practices will be recommended
to our community for review.
This is a very very thoughtful process, very thoughtful and important work, which will carry on through rest of the spring
and through summer, and informational updates will be shared with you throughout that time.
By September 30th of 2018, this coming fall, we will have the tools in place
and preparing us to actually implement a new design of the PNG system within DPS,
and I'm sure that will influence other systems that relate to the PNG process.
This is a great opportunity for our community to get involved to take ownership of our campus.
Now the third area is an area, of course, which all of you can get involved in, and that's the area of community hubs.
For some time now we've heard multiple requests about wanting to have some kind of a community hub.
The work related to this will be led by Eyob Zerayesus,
the Program Manager for Campus Activities, and Carl Pramuk who is the Associate Dean
for Student Center Programs and Activities. The two of them will support the efforts related to these community hubs.
The community hubs will be designed by this group which will come together and develop recommendations
that will be given to me as well as the executive team.
These recommendations will center around our shared experiences, and recommendations are due April 30th of 2018,
which a very short timeframe, meaning we must move very quickly to avail those hubs for our community.
Your involvement and your input will be critical. So please engage with us.
And also keep an eye out for those updates and announcements that will be coming.
It is quite remarkable to reflect back on all that we have done. You have led the way to create cultural change,
not just here but around the world and especially here at our home, here at Gallaudet.
And this comes from you, this is your work, and I have to say it is quite impressive.
(drum thumps) Again, this is your work.
In March, we will begin a series of events, and many of you have been here at Gallaudet
for quite some time, and you may recall DPN, Deaf President Now.
The 30 year anniversary is upon us. Can you believe it? (drum thumps) It's been just 30 years.
And this year, we are also celebrating the 200 years of educating and teaching and learning
for deaf children in the United States with American Sign Language and English. It's our 200 year anniversary.
(drum thumps) These milestones require us
to take a very thoughtful approach to the ways in which we will celebrate these anniversaries.
It's important that we just not focus on individuals, but rather the communities who are involved in these efforts.
They were part of this movement's success, very similar to Dr. Martin Luther King.
While he was the leader who led much of the work that was done towards civil rights,
there were masses of people who were a part of his work that created civil rights for African Americans
and people of color and for all Americans here. And in the same way, we want to recognize leaders
here at Gallaudet and those who were involved. DPN has notable leaders and students and the Ducks,
all which were backed by a number of people who are important to recognize,
all of the individuals who came together to support the success of DPN and the 200th anniversary of deaf education.
This is also the celebration of our bilingual mission here at Gallaudet.
We are Gallaudet, and the world looks to us. They look to us to learn, to lead, and to provide support.
And through Gallaudet, we are making significant global impact. (drum thumps)
DPN is our treasured history.
It's a legacy in our past, but it is not the end,
by no means. We are prepared to build upon
and create new legacies for our future. This is our calling!
(drum thumps) We must continue this work.
So you may be wondering how it is that we go about doing this. It's actually all not all that hard.
I have a couple of examples of ways in which you can create our future and create the legacies of our future.
First, I encourage you to get involved.
Consider our short-term strategic plan and ways in which you can engage yourself in developing that plan.
You might also take up an interest in smart investing and get involved in understanding how we use the resources we have here at Gallaudet
and how we go about increasing our resources. So that's another area, smart investing.
You can also work to help us continue to show Congress, the Department of Education,
our investors, our funders, our researchers, our academics, everything that we're doing here at Gallaudet,
to highlight this information to get their attention that will then lead to their continued support.
And you can continue your commitment to bilingualism.
Not just that, but through diversity, equity, and inclusion, by continuing this work in this area.
You can engage with the Living, Well-being, and Belonging Initiative and all the work that's being done in that area.
So there are multiple ways and many many ideas of how you can get involved.
As Gallaudet citizens, you can rise to that bright future.
I want to invite you to be thoughtful, to be pragmatic in all that you do,
and to create an impact. You can do that, and I invite you to do that very thing.
We need to get down to business! (drum thumps) All right, thank you everyone.
Welcome everyone! Welcome to those of you here and those who are watching via live stream.
This is actually my second State of the University address
in front of all of you, and I'm happy to report to all of you --
and you may remember how I say this -- not my presidency, but our presidency.
Our presidency is strong.
What's important is that today I'm going to be sharing with you
some updates about a number of different things. Of course, we have our Gallaudet six priorities,
and those priorities have been shared with the community. Some of you may not have seen them and some have,
so let me show them to you now.
So while I'm not going to go into detail on all six priorities, I did want to give you some reports,
and I have shared information through blogs and in various meetings, but what's important today is to focus on some critical things that you need to know,
so we can continue the success we've had throughout the upcoming year.
First and always of most importance, student success and academic vitality.
One thing you may note today is that I will be alternating
between two words: students and learners. You know, we have over the last year,
been talking about lifelong learning and by that we mean that students are here at Gallaudet
for a specific time period in their lives, but when you come to Gallaudet, that's officially a time --
and I should add here you may come to Gallaudet through our Clerc Center, through our pre-kindergarten language acquisition program,
but you come to this university or to the Clerc Center however you might through your journey as a learner.
So I'll be alternating between the two words, learner and student, throughout my presentation.
We're here because of our students and their learning.
And while we recruit students and we work to retain students, it's important that we know that our ultimate goal is
and always has been to create innovators, change makers, and leaders.
And that has been Gallaudet's legacy that has been carried on throughout the years, and that continues to be what we do and our mission.
As we can look to see products of our university seated here, within our employees and around the world.
There is no place like Gallaudet. No place creates the kind of people
that we create here at Gallaudet University.
This is a good time, during the State of the University address,
when we're all gathered together, to reflect a bit on the journey through which we've come, and also to think a bit about the future.
And in doing so we recognize the privileges we have to serve here at Gallaudet.
The privilege we have to learn here at Gallaudet, and the privilege we have to work and engage with our community
and the work that we do here at this university. When we think about the importance and the significance
that experience gives us, we very much value that, and with that value comes a great responsibility,
to continue to work towards achieving the mission of Gallaudet University.
That is our collective responsibility.
You know, here at Gallaudet, we enroll students and we work to retain them
as they go about their learning, and we graduate them from various programs and that happens at Clerc Center as well as the university side.
So I'd like to share with you first some good news.
Here at Gallaudet, we increased our enrollment by 105 students this past fall.
That's the largest increase in enrollment for Gallaudet, and that's a significant number. Congratulations to everyone on that.
That was a community effort to make that happen.
And what's even more amazing, is that the numbers that we're seeing now, for the upcoming fall semester,
are indicating the enrollment to be even higher. Which means that we are succeeding
in getting our stories out, and demonstrating the value that we have as a university
because people are choosing Gallaudet right and left. So, again, congratulations to everyone for that.
So why the picture of the horses? I was told this story some time ago.
Someone was talking to me about wild horses out west,
and I think they were referring to Colorado, where there is a number of different herds of wild horses.
I don't know how many of you have traveled out west and had the opportunity to see these horses. What I learned about this is people very often
would come upon these herds and take one of the horses, for whatever purpose they had, and others would do the same,
each one taking a horse away from the herd. People didn't think that was a concern --
that taking one of these horses had no ill impact on the horses at all --
but it was realized that in fact the horses had a social structure
and when one single horse is removed outside of that social structure,
the structure is changed and it shifts in a negative way.
The structure becomes weaker as a result, and the same holds true for our community.
When we invite people to learn with us together as a community,
every time a single person leaves our community, we suffer a loss.
With each person departing, we become weaker and suffer losses. And for that, it is critical that we recognize
and see every person as valued member of our learning community.
It is our job and our mission to make sure we retain our learning community and to keep it intact.
Because every single person brings with them
a perspective, experiences, wisdom and knowledge,
heritage from their family and their life experiences, and when they leave our community,
we suffer a loss as a result with each and every person. And they as well suffer a loss.
The most wonderful story I hear is when people tell me they've returned to Gallaudet
after having left. For whatever reason, they may end their studies and leave Gallaudet before they finish,
and yet they return to finish what they started. People know that when they leave,
they may leave to become more mature, or work on something, but there is a loss that's suffered.
And they feel the desire to come back and finish their degree. Their degree is the number one predictor of lifetime income.
And it's our job and our responsibility to make sure that our community and all of our employees
provide opportunities, employment opportunities for our learners. And that's why we're here.
It's important for us to keep our community strong and intact.
And I will add, wild, just like the horses.
That wild, strong spirit that they display, that sense of openness and freedom is the same kind of sentiment we have here within our community.
We're open to learning and examining ourselves and from that, become free. And that's what we represent as a community.
And what we must continue to keep as we remain intact as a community.
Next is academic vitality. We are very proud and pleased to report that we have established a GSR Study Review Team.
This team is important because we have agreed as a community
that we must start preparing ourselves for the 21st Century in terms of our education, to meet the needs of our students
and to prepare them for the world beyond Gallaudet. And that all begins with our GSR Review.
The team consists of the following individuals:
So this team now is studying and working -- am I missing anyone from this slide, let me just check?
No one's missing? Okay, good to know. This team is co-lead by Leslie Rach and Lindsey Buchko.
They will be leading the team for the upcoming year, and they'll be studying a number of different bits of information and ideas,
understanding better how to design our GSR programs here at Gallaudet. I encourage you to look at the individuals on this list
and learn more about what they are doing. They'll be sharing updates with you from time to time
during the year about the progress they are making and they'll also ask many of you to be part of their process. So please volunteer.
Share your information and your wisdom with those on this group.
So I am delighted to share this with you. I know many of you have been hearing about 6th Street
for some time now. And we've been working for a number of years now and are finally now at the stage
where we are developing what's called the program aspect of what's actually going to be happening on the corner
of Florida Avenue and 6th Street. That corridor will become not just something for Gallaudet,
but for Washington, D.C., a culture and creative corridor.
We are now working with this design team
or with this steering committee to come up with a design that will create possibilities on that corner
to really showcase to the world what Gallaudet is and who we are and so we can reach out to the world
through that 6th street corridor and the world can, in turn, meet Gallaudet at that entry way at 6th street.
Two of our Vice Presidents, Carol Erting and Paul Kelly will be leading this effort. Provost Erting and Vice President Kelly
will be the chairs of the steering committee. You see represented on this committee faculty and administrators
all making up this very important team.
The Lyceum up on the third floor of College Hall
is just above the president's office and it is a room
that has been designated as a space to be used for 6th street planning.
You'll be able to see the work that they're doing. It's going to be set up like a lab, and much of the information will be displayed on the walls.
You are invited to come and share your ideas with all of them. The Lyceum will be set up as an incubator
where ideas can be shared about different things that might be seen on 6th street. It will be open and visible to all of you
as a community. And I wanted to thank that team for their visionary work.
I know many of you heard me talk about this idea of citizenship.
Citizenship is vital. Not just as a member of the Gallaudet community,
but in our city, here in Washington, D.C., our nation and in the world.
We must make sure we are preparing our students,
our learners to be citizens of the world.
You know, this is a place where we can experience and experiment what it means to be a good citizen.
What exactly does that mean? What are the behaviors and the values and the ideals
that being a good citizen actually reflects? This is the space where we have the community come together
and ask questions and build concepts about experiences, where we understand better our behaviors
and what we believe it means to be a good citizen and reflect as to whether or not
we are a good citizen of our community. Citizenship holds us together united.
It's one thing that guarantees you're a member of the community. That as a citizen we come together
and form this community. As a citizen of this community, it connotes some sense of belonging.
You belong in this community. If you're an international person, an international student who comes to Gallaudet
as an immigrant to this country, you've come here to learn you as well are a citizen of this community undoubtedly.
It's also important that I share with you
a test of citizenship that will be experienced in April. It will be Gallaudet Hill Day,
that will be happening in April. And that's a day that many of us will be traveling to Capitol Hill to visit with Congress.
There will be a team who will be working together to prepare individuals for that day and we welcome every single member of this Gallaudet community
to be a part of that. Even those of you who are watching via live stream, you can go to your state legislature
and be a part of what we're doing here. But we want to communicate to the individuals on the Hill
how important Gallaudet is and the value that we give to the world.
It's important for them to recognize our importance and our value. And this will be a great opportunity for us to share
that with the legislators on the Hill. On Tuesday, February 7th, during common time,
we'll getting together and giving you more details about that Gallaudet Hill day and what you can expect.
Please make sure and attend that event. That will be a kickoff event for this effort.
Those of you who are watching on live stream, you can contact our government relations office and get more information, as will more information
be shared during that meeting at common time. Each one of you plays a role here as a citizen
and your presence is important here. You come here for a purpose.
You come here to work perhaps. You come here to teach. Or perhaps you come here to learn. Or maybe it's just to engage within the community.
And that's your purpose for being here. The most important thing for each of us to do is to recognize that we are a citizen and in doing so
we respect the citizenship of others who are members of this community, as well.
We are all equally here respected members of our community and we need to engage one another
with respect and compassion.
You know, when you have strong citizenship as a foundation,
you can begin to build strong communities. But communities just don't happen naturally
and automatically. Community building actually happens through relationships that are formed.
It's through relationship building that we build communities. When we're curious about other individuals
and when they're equally curious about us. When we come together to learn from one another and what each other's presence means to one another
in terms of our own learning. It's through those associations that we build community.
And I just wanted to take a moment to speak to the sign I'm using for immigrant. I know there are a number of signs that represent different things,
one representing your picture photo on a passport and that stamp that's given,
that's one sign I'm using to represent that idea. But however you sign the word "immigrant"
we want to welcome you to our community. Whether you are an individual of color, you are welcome as a citizen here.
If you are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or practice a different faith
than those that I mentioned, or perhaps practice no faith or religion, you too, are welcomed.
For those of you who are disabled, I mean
we know that Deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind are technically considered to be disabled.
But we also understand that there are others who identify with other disabilities, you, as well, are welcomed.
If you're a member of a signing community here at Gallaudet, you are welcome.
If you are hearing and don't yet sign, but hopefully learning, you are welcomed, as well.
If you are a woman, know that we are committed.
Committed to protecting your rights to have freedoms
from violence and sexual assault. And this applies to males, as well.
So all of us, every single person, is welcomed here.
I did want to mention two other groups. If you are a Trump supporter, you are welcomed.
If you are a Hillary supporter, you are welcomed. If you support Jill Stein, you are welcomed.
If you support any other party, you are welcomed here. All political thoughts and perspectives
are welcomed at Gallaudet.
Thank you for that. And this is important. All are welcomed.
And yet welcoming environments are created through relationships. When we come together and understand one another
with compassion. Your daily actions are essential
in how they influence people's feelings and their sense of being welcomed.
Each one of you owns that responsibility. If you feel somewhat removed like you don't belong,
find a way to engage. Find a way to understand where those feelings are coming from.
There are times when it is a group's behavior that's excluding you. And there are times, as well, when that feeling
comes from the own experiences that we bring when we already come feeling defeated
and feeling less than. And when we engage with the person who has that feeling,
it's important that we ask them about where that feeling is coming from and better understand their life experiences
that have led them to be who they are. It's important that we understand how our past experiences influence where we are
and what happens in our lives now. That's what layer of analysis that needs to be happening, and then look at others' behaviors.
Where can we ask for clarification and understanding about why we're feeling the way we are?
Engage in dialogue through asking of questions. Because once those conversations start, they are powerful.
And they can change all the lives of every individual involved. Transformation is possible.
We can become an even stronger Gallaudet in the years to come.
It's a daily practice. It's not a one-time thing. I certainly know that's the case.
It's every single minute of every day, every hour, we have to continually self-examine ourselves and be mindful of ourselves and relationships
with other individuals, recognizing the impact we have on them.
And if we should make a mistake, we return to that individual and reconcile, ask for apologies
and be willing to admit when we make a mistake. And accept that admission with kindness and compassion.
It's on us. We all know about this. Right?
We all had our green T-shirts on. You all remember those T-shirts?
You know, this is typically associated with sexual assault and violence on campuses where we show as a community that we can change,
that we don't have to wait for something to happen to change, but we can come together. It's on us, it's our responsibility to take change.
And this continues to be a place that we want to ensure that it's free from sexual assault and violence. It is on all of us, each and every one of us.
But I wanted to take a moment to talk about why I selected this picture. It is on us.
And this ties right into the story of citizenship and community building. But it also leads to something else.
And that is Title IX. I have to say, one of my greatest learning moments
occurred last fall with a group of students. We all know students are important. But students were asking me questions
about the investigation as it related to a Title IX case, and it was then that I notice that had we sort
of co-mingled this idea of a legal process with community healing.
That somehow there's been an overlay of those two components.
And what we learned together was this notion of "I Heart Consent" students began talking about what it meant to give someone consent.
And that experience was a wonderful way of showing how a community can come together and heal.
I understand that it's a small part of that healing process. And I'll be able to update you a little bit more.
Going now to the HOEZ situation. I know there's a lot of conversation and was a lot of conversation over the spring about the HOEZ investigation.
There had been a formalized investigation that was conducted. And as you know when it comes to Title IX,
there are many details that are not allowed to be shared. There are legal restrictions.
But two very important things I wanted to say is that the investigation is ended.
Individuals have been identified and findings will be shared with each of them.
What's most important, though, that I want to share here is that we must continue to support
our Title IX process. And please know that we have taken an approach
within this investigation that supports what's already in law,
in legislation, that's related to restorative justice, that affords a way to bring healing and resolution
for those individuals involved. And we continue to emphasize that the culture
around this campus absolutely must be one where we respect and value every single person
of this community. Assault and violence are unacceptable.
And the narratives and stories about that behavior is not acceptable either.
For many of you who may not know, the narrative around this kind of a story creates
an environment that is unsafe for males and female alike, not just for women, but for males and females alike.
When we talk about violence as it's non-important or non-significant, that creates a hostile environment.
So please be aware of the language that you use. And your behaviors.
It's my commitment to continue to support all of this work to create a safe environment
for every member of our community.
Last Fall or rather last January, even before that, when I was negotiating with the students,
I committed to the students that I would create a diversity strategy team. And we did that last Spring.
At the end of the semester many of those members graduated and left our community.
And so we've reestablished that committee this past Fall. The diversity team members are on the screen here
behind you. Two things that were different this time around.
This time we are actually asking each of the governing bodies, the students, the faculty,
the staff governing bodies to submit names of nominations for individuals to serve on this team.
And secondly, each person is committed to serving 18 months.
My learning from last Spring was we selected a group of people who were not able to stay on long enough for this team to be successful.
And so we changed and redesigned the way the team would be formed and selected individuals who could stay on for the full term.
They'll be working for 18 months upon which we'll select another group of individuals who will serve the following 18 months.
I certainly want to thank the individuals on this team for their willingness to step up and serve. Their role will be to advise me as president,
to advise the provost, and the future CDO, as well as the executive team
on issues of diversity, strategy, and thinking about how we can improve the work that we are doing in this area.
It is absolutely critical now that we have a group of people from the community that advises and informs
the leaders of this community about what we can and must be doing.
I want to share with you that our CDO search that was started this last Spring has ended.
We have relaunched the search with the forming of this group.
I have two co-chairs now who will be serving on this new search committee.
Chief of Staff to the President, Heather Harker, is one of the co-chairs.
And Gaurav Mathur. Those two individuals will be leading the search committee.
Our hope is to select an individual as CDO by the end of Spring and have someone here no later than Fall.
It's not lost on me that I said this a year ago. But as with many things, it's also what we learn
through a process that's just as important as the outcome.
So the team who conducted that had last search worked very hard, diligently, and mightily,
I have to say. And we have learned a lot through that process. A tremendous amount of information has been learned.
And with much regret, but with great pride I want to share with you that we will continue to work
on this critical mission for the university to hire someone full time for this position.
It has been four years and 114 days, and yes we are counting, since we last had a CDO here at Gallaudet.
That's an awfully long time. And we are committed to stopping that clock. Thank you.
Accessibility. We have to be able to commit to accessibility
to one another. As individuals and as an institution it's our responsibility to do so.
I want to remind you when you see something that's not accessible don't ignore it.
When you see something, report that. And if you can, do something!
Whatever you can do within your area of responsibility to fix it. Report it.
Let someone know something needs to be done to make something that's not accessible, accessible. We are finding more and more instances
that there will be a problem with accessibility. And the chain of communication has just broken down.
I need and I want individuals to really be able to focus and fix these things.
But we need to retain that chain of communication. So that each one of us sees it's our responsibility
to work towards this goal. It's everyone's right to be an equal citizen
and participate equally in our lives here in this community. As we said earlier, when we lose one individual
we are weaker because of that. And it's only with everyone that we gain our strength.
And so the chain of all of us working together is what makes success. It shouldn't be an after thought.
It should be something that we see and work actively towards to ensure that our community is always accessible.
No surprise to see this slide. Right?
This is one of the hallmarks that I talked about when I came to this university
and I shared my desire with all of you. And now we have established a task force for bilingualism.
I've done a Vlog and most of you have probably seen from that we have created a group that will ensure that we come together and understand a framework
of what it is we value, what our principles and practices are,
that are crucial in order for us to be successful in being a truly indeed bilingual university,
from birth through lifelong learning. The bilingual task force committee members
are seen here on this slide.
Just like with citizenship, the discussion of bilingualism is not just held
within this team, this team needs every single one of you. All of you have wonderful experiences with languages,
the way you use language to interact, to communicate, what works, what works best, what you feel is inspirational to you when you communicate.
Ways that language is a detriment because of the in-context. We need all of you and your input in order to be successful
because you have daily experiences. Your wisdom is needed within this group. Find someone you know who is a member of this group,
two or three people, and share with them your experiences. Make your experiences known so they can add it
to their experiences.
What is important with bilingualism is we consider sign language, as we know here being American Sign Language,
and language in its print form, and written and spoken form, in this case English, that we here in America
and Gallaudet recognize that those are our two primary languages. American Sign Language and English.
Yet even so we know there are a number of different languages that we in our community use. Many signed languages, as well as many other languages
that are spoken and written. And bilingualism is about including all of those languages
within our university.
We are strong and we are strong because of you. We are strong because of your leadership,
your commitment, your ability to manage, to do what you need to do to get things done,
to lead and to engage in dialogue. Many of you lead quietly with very little recognition.
You do your job on a daily basis, getting done what needs to be done. And we recognize you, as well.
You may not get the accolades on a daily basis, but from me right now, I want to say you are very important to us.
Students who come here every day and study and go to classes, we thank you and we recognize that we are stronger because of your commitment to learning.
We are strong because we are all learning. And we model learning every day.
Without you, what would Gallaudet be?
So thank you. Thank you for all of your hard work and your participation in this community, Gallaudet.
So the next topic is pretty short. You may remember, I remember it well.
When I first came here, we talked about Gallaudet's values and needing to identify them.
Well I've spent the last year really noting a number of different things.
You know, when we're not clear about what our values are
here at Gallaudet, it creates conflict.
And that conflict is unresolved and cannot be resolved.
And that's because we don't know what are the values
that we hold that lead to this conflict. Conflicts are often a result of not conflicting,
but rather competing values. I value efficiency, let's say, where somebody else values effectiveness.
I want people to learn and make sure they do things the right way, where someone else wants to get things done as quickly as possible.
So those are examples of competing values.
Oftentimes it feels confrontational and argumentative, but when we take a moment
and recognize the values that we each hold, that drive that conversation, it can help.
I am curious. And I'd like to begin today, just briefly, having you look to the person beside,
in front, or behind you, or text someone who is not here right now. I want you to identify two or three values
that you see present here at Gallaudet every day that are important to you.
What are Gallaudet's values that you believe should drive what we do here every day.
So look to someone, take a moment with another person, and just share those values and ideas with one another.
What are the top values that you see here at Gallaudet?
Wow! I'm going to have to ask you to stop here for a moment.
This is great. I mean it's wonderful! The energy in this room just exceeded
what it had been previously. This is great! It's clear that you have a lot of thoughts about our values.
And so now I'm curious. I'm going to share with you next our Credo and the values that are seen in the Credo.
It's available on the web, as well. I'm going to share those with you now and I want you to take a quick look at what's here.
So I'm wondering how many of you actually named one of the things you see here. Let's say at least three or more of the things
you see here. How many of you named at least three or more of these?
How about one or two of the things that you see here? Can I see a show of hands? Wow!
So there are many values that you clearly have named that are not shown on this slide. So many values that you have come up with
that are not seen here. This is learning, this is curiosity, this is exactly how this works.
So we're going to be in the near future sending out a survey, a survey about Gallaudet's values.
And we'll be launching a more formal discussion about values here at Gallaudet in the near future.
Keep an eye out for that e-mail. And I ask you that you take time to respond.
We'll be using different forums for discussions of the values, not just through e-mail. I wanted to start with a simple survey.
So I'll let you know the results. If we have a nice big N, that's gonna give me a great result.
So I hope you'll all commit to giving me a big N, a large number of respondents would be greatly appreciated.
So thank you very much. I'm looking forward to that big N, as we say in research.
I see a number of you applauding the slide here.
This was from the Vlog I did the other day.
Right now we are at a time in our country where it looks like we're trying to divide.
Because there are so many competing values. One of the values is about the safety and security
here in our country. Another value is about being open and engaging
in dialogue with other individuals across the globe. And these two values have now come into conflict.
With some specific concerns on the national scene.
We need to hold space here at Gallaudet. Hold space for the recognition
of these competing values that exist in the world around us, and recognize when we see those same kinds of conflicts
here within our communities, those disparating priorities, whether or not we hold those differing values,
we have to recognize that there is a third value in play. And that is the value we have and the care we have for one another.
I ask that you take that value and the care that you have for others and make it be primary.
Let it guide all of your discussions. That you come to a place of empathy and understanding and how people are impacted
by this conversation. And clearly we are impacting the conversation on a national level. There is a lot of pain, anxiety, and worry
as a result of this national conversation. The details are such that we can't fully understand them.
But it does require us to support one another as a community.
It does. And I thank you for that.
And now it's time for question and answers. It looks like we have sufficient time set aside for that.
I did want to thank Trevor Anderson, the president of the Student Body Government who will be our moderator for this portion of our presentation.
So thank you Trevor. He is going to be moderating you and moderating me. Feel free to tell me to summarize those comments
and wrap it up. So for those of you who have some questions
after hearing our president speak, please come up to the stage to ask your question, or if there is any point of clarification.
We do have some time until 1:45 to accept any comments, or points of clarification.
Feel free to come up to the stage. We have a quiet group. Oh, I see one person making their way up to the stage.
Maybe we'll have you stand here so everyone can see you better.
So can you introduce yourself and tell us who you are? My name is Oather and I'm a senior.
And my question is in regards to you talking about the values.
And looking at the list that you showed us, respect and diversity. I know those are two issues that we see happening today.
So how can we focus our efforts to improving these areas? And would you like me to stay on stage while you answer the question?
BOBBI CORDANO: You know, this is why I talked about citizenship. This is why I mentioned that. I have a story that I want to share with you.
There was a man who came to Gallaudet and some students and staff were able to engage with this gentleman who visited.
His name was Ron Delham. And he was one of the first African American individuals
who was elected from a majority white district in California.
He was in the House of Representatives in Congress and he established the first African American caucus
in Congress, as well. He came to Gallaudet asking how he might get involved,
which was a great benefit to us. And he told a story that I think reinforces my presentation,
and responds to your question as well. The story that he shared, that if you're a person of color and you're approached by the police,
you typically will back off and raise your hands in the air. And in some countries, doing that
is actually a sign of aggression. That's a physical sign of aggression when you greet someone that way.
So he would tell African American young males that maybe that's not enough to take that stance.
Perhaps it would be better to get on your knees or maybe even lay prostate on the floor. When is it enough to ask someone to do
when encountering law enforcement? He was at Howard University and he told students there
that rather than putting your hands up that way to respond by saying I am a citizen.
That is so powerful because it reminds the police that you are a citizen of this country.
That you are here legally. You have rights. You have the right to be treated as any citizen would be.
That is part of what you say. There may be concerns, but that is a call to action here for every single one of us.
He is now telling us that we don't really represent this value enough. He is sharing with us
that we're not doing well enough in this area. And I have seen e-mails from a woman who said
this is not safe enough of an environment for her. I've seen LGBTQ individuals say they don't feel safe,
and those who are transgender.
Even one recently who was experiencing violence. We're still not where we should be.
But it's important for us to recognize that we are all on a journey.
And that journey is one that we're committing to do together as a community. I agree. I hope we all work together.
Great, very well said. Thank you. Good job on keeping the answer short.
Hello to you both. My name is Keith. I know that some individuals have already
left the room. But I did want to ask you if maybe you could talk a little bit more and maybe talk later on about 6th street
and even the Lyceum and what that process is going to mean to all of us and what your input is
and how we can build strong community engagement for the developments that will be happening there?
BOBBI CORDANO: Thank you for that question. And I know you are part of the entrepreneurship program
and Think Biz. You're busy operating all of that. It's important to mention your role here.
Ben Bahan. Professor Bahan. Dr. Bahan and Dr. Laura Ann Petito, both of them
are faculty members who will be leading that work. They will be sharing information with the community about what's going on.
They will involve you in ways that are appropriate. If you have questions, please reach out to Provost Erting
and Vice President Paul Kelly. If the two of you wouldn't mind standing please. Provost Erting and Vice President Kelly?
If you all have questions and you don't feel you're a part of what's happening, make sure you talk to them.
They can find out ways to engage you more so. I was thinking not just myself, but what others in our community can do to get engaged.
BOBBI CORDANO: Absolutely. A team has been established. They're getting organized.
More to come. I'm checking to see if I missed anything. I think I've covered it all for now.
Even with the experience I've had in the past doing this work, the more that we participate, the better results we will see, so I'm hoping that more people will want to get involved.
Thank you. One last thing I wanted to add. That we as a team remember that many of you back in 2008
came up with different ideas. All the of that work is not forgotten.
It will all be included in the work going forward. It's not forgotten. Looking forward to it. Thank you.
Hello, welcome. Could you tell us your name? I'm Risa Shaw. I'm in the linguistics department.
I've been teaching in the linguistics department for a while now. Several students have come to talk about
what's been happening in the country with the current president. And we talked about them coming in early in the morning
and then staying late at night because they don't feel safe being off campus. So many students will come here and stay here
because this is where they feel safe. So the students who are really living off campus choose
to stay here because of safety concerns. And I'm wondering how can we make them feel and actually be safe while they're here on campus.
And if we have the immigration customs enforcement officers,
if they're actually asked to come here to campus, what is the university's response going to be here?
And DPS's response going to be to that type of situation occurring?
If the students are talking about the terror they are experiencing and the fear of people who are going to come,
and detain them in their own rooms, so those types of situations, so those are real thoughts and experiences
that they're experiencing. And having a hard time focusing on their class experiences because of it.
BOBBI CORDANO: Thank you for bringing that up. Because I know a lot of people feel a lot of anxiety and have a lot of questions about what's happening.
It's natural that every person wants to think about what's happening and how they should respond individually.
Yeah, you're reinforcing what we expected people are feeling. We appreciate that.
We've known this is happening. This is real. It's what happens every single day for people.
The second thing I wanted to say is that we have called together CLT, the crisis leadership team to study and work together.
We have leaders from all different departments, including faculty members and people from the provost's office were there to develop strategies
to really accommodate and work with what's happening. The specifics you asked about, like what about ICE coming,
those are pretty complex questions that I cannot respond to right now. But I do want you to know that we are preparing
for that potentiality to happen. There will be other events.
I don't have the details to share with you right now. Please know that we are taking the president's executive orders seriously.
When the president signs an executive order he expects people to comply.
And there are a number of questions about what really was intended
or what's really meant by that executive order. And now we're waiting for the courts to interpret that executive order.
There are a lot of parts that are happening on a daily basis. Lots of executive orders are coming out
every single day and decisions are being made. There are constant changes we are confronting.
We are committed to staying on top of this and being mindful and aware and adjusting as we need to.
You all have our commitment to be supportive within the boundaries of the law.
Thank you. I look forward to more of those details being shared
with us at a later point.
I'm Meredith. And I'm a staff member, but I'm actually asking a question on behalf of an undergraduate student
who is not able to be here. I'm bringing their question in their stead.
For our liberal arts program, I know that we've seen that the numbers have started to decrease. And we've seen an increase in business
and the technology departments on campus. And there have been some staff who have retired
and left the university. And their class sizes are shrinking.
Being that Gallaudet is a liberal arts university, what can we do to be sure that continues to be our focus
and support the programs that are here. BOBBI CORDANO: Thank you for that question.
And also thank you for delivering that question on their behalf.
We are a small university. You know, we're not like George Washington or Georgetown University.
You know, when a person retires, it has a significant impact on us. So part of what we have begun to recognize
is that we need to start strategically developing a vision in terms of how we can use the resources
we have most effectively. To be the strongest liberal arts college,
small liberal arts college that we can be. Here at Gallaudet we know that now
and people around the world support us. We want to prepare people for being able
to navigate the world. And the best way to do that is through a liberal arts education. So we'll never give up that component of who we are.
The short-term impacts of retirement and changes is certainly significant that the student experiences in an immediate way.
But our commitment is strong. Because students and learners, all of you,
must be able to continue to think critically, to be thoughtfully engaged in conversations,
to be able to critically analyze issues and the context around us.
That is part of our own intellectual and emotional development. Those are all components of a liberal arts education.
And with that, we need to ensure that we have allocated resources in the right place
to retain that kind of strength. GSR is beginning their restructuring to reset
the foundation which will then be built on over the next couple of years to strengthen our liberal arts education.
Provost Erting would you like to add anything to what I've shared? No. Okay, great. Thank you.
My name is Marissa Rivera. I'm an undergraduate student.
And I'm a bicultural and bilingual individual.
When we think about Gallaudet being bilingual, what are the end results?
What's the ultimate goal? BOBBI CORDANO: Thank you for your question.
It's an important question. You know, when I first came to Gallaudet,
and also this reflects my experiences growing up. I founded two charter schools,
and very often there would be a cultural conflict between deaf and hearing people. Talking about spoken and sign languages,
when should we sign or use English in written or spoken form or do we Sim Com,
people object when we speak and sign at the same time. And others thought it would be okay. But amongst all this dialogue and conflict,
the conversations often lead to judgments and conflicts
and those sorts of things. They all come from our not understanding the underlying values that drive our decisions.
What are our values? What are our values that allow us to connect?
Just even the two of us. How can I connect to you? Do I have choices with the language that I choose to use?
How do I carry out and live those values out? You know, if I'm a teacher here at Gallaudet,
clearly I teach ASL. And maybe I'm a linguistics teacher and I teach in ASL.
How can I balance English within that context?
Making sure that of course students are here to learn through ASL, but also have the ability to learn English in the same capacity.
So that task force has been called on to really just name out those values that we have.
When we can identify every value that goes into our being a bilingual community, from there we can develop policies.
And that can translate into practices. And when we try to live this out,
it helps us better understand through our conversations, each other.
So when we see ourselves disagreeing, we can look to those values that have been spelled out and understand where those disagreements come from.
Last Fall I was at Jump Start and I have a unique way that I personally sign that.
But I was at Jump Start and I stood before the groups there. And I intended to sign, and I thought after that
I would put down my hands, have an interpreter join me on stage, and I would begin to use then spoken English.
That's always been a habit of mine, being around people who speak English.
I would Sim Com. It was an unconscious behavior to me to Sim Com.
And 30 seconds as I start to do, this I would stop. But I thought about doing this, standing on stage,
and speaking or SimComing for three or four minutes. And I happened upon this wonderful conversation with Jump Start students.
It was a wonderfully engaging conversation. And we talked about the difference of access
through captioning versus an immersion experience where you may miss information,
but you're completely immersed in the language environment. So I got a beautiful e-mail from one of the students
who said to me after that conversation, thank you for talking. Because that individual was really able to relate to me
in a different way than they would have otherwise. I have since committed to signing, that individual
said they since committed to signing. But they came to this university coming from a background very similar to my own.
I use spoken English, but my parents did not. So how do we place value around these kinds of topics
and these kinds of discussions? Because they are complex. As your president, I need to understand
every student who comes to Gallaudet and ensure that they belong in this community.
Whether or not they use spoken English. They must have a sense of belonging.
Of course we want to make sure that you all develop proficiencies in the English language in its written form.
But as a community, we all thrive together when we engage in these kinds of discussions.
So I see the bilingual task force as a place to really delve into what it means to have a conversation
in this context. And then I would encourage you to have these same kinds
of discussions amongst yourselves. Because, you know, we are greatly influenced by the world that's around us.
The world out there is very different from the one we create here. And we are a product of that world.
It's brought us to where we are. And it's important that we look at who we are as a result of that.
Liberal arts education really asks us to analyze and critically think about who we are and the question at hand.
And one last thing to say, I do have to share one story with you, there was a professor
at a fairly large university, a prestigious university, at an Ivy league school who asked me a question.
If there are two deaf students who choose to text and not to sign, will not that then become the norm?
What a powerful question, right?
Would you give up signing with someone and just text rather than ever sign?
And that question told me an awful lot about her experience of language, her perception of our language,
her perception of our culture and our world. But I answered her and said no, that's not what would happen,
that we would text as opposed to sign. But there are some people who are deaf who do use spoken English.
And they will use spoken English because they have been taught that spoken English is the language of success.
To be successful you've been taught you must use spoken English. But we all know that American Sign Language is
a language of success, as well. We all know that. But does the world around us?
They don't. Not yet. And that's part of what we need to do together
as a community to engage in learning and thinking, you know, every single day I learn something new.
How are we doing with time? We have about 10 minutes left. So maybe 5 minutes before we wrap up.
I'm Kirk VanGilder. And I teach here, the GSR course, program.
And I know there was a large meeting that had happened last Fall when I was here. And there were different religions that were represented.
And thank you to your office for making that event a success. I want to think about how can we really transfer the success and invest in ways that we can enrich
the Gallaudet community? So what kind of resources could be used and committed to raising the awareness about religion
and those who choose not to practice a particular faith or religion? What are your thoughts on that?
BOBBI CORDANO: Right. You're on the GSR review committee? I am. BOBBI CORDANO: I think that's exactly
the reason we put you there. That question you just asked. That's my answer, right?
I mean if you have ideas, you're going to get put on a committee. You know, one risk though is there is only one of me.
How do we ensure this is infused into the entire campus and the resources are integrated in a more enriching way?
BOBBI CORDANO: There are many colleagues on that committee who have the same passions as you do.
And secondly, I wanted to say we all understand that liberal education is not limited
to just studying social studies and science and computer science.
It's also about developing yourself as a spiritual person and your spiritual experience.
Religion is about your spiritual life. And that can happen in a number of different ways.
It's important in the liberal arts education that we understand our experiences really are such that we develop the heart and the mind
and the spirit together. We cannot exclude any part of our life and our personal development through our college years.
And so that's why I think again GSR is going to help us establish the values around this.
And I hope that we'll be able to see, being able to address all the three components that I've mentioned.
Because that's what a strong liberal arts education does. And I'm so happy to help you with that.
And be an advocate for you in terms of resources. Thank you.
All right. We have two more questions left. Two more.
Hi there. I'm Conner. I'm a third-year student, an undergraduate student here at Gallaudet.
We're now here in the year of 2017 and you're planning for the future. How do you ensure that more undergraduate students
are here at Gallaudet? Many undergraduate students are here but often are not aware and not engaged
with what's happening in the university? How could people be more involved?
BOBBI CORDANO: How could you help us? Well I've thought about ideas, but I wanted to ask you, too. BOBBI CORDANO: Every single month I go to the dorms.
At least one dorm a month. I think I've already been
to at least four dormitories over the last Fall.
I will continue to have direct interaction with the students in the dorms.
We also bring students together at MPR to engage in dialogues. I will continue to do that as we did in the past
to get a pulse of the students and how they're feeling and doing. I think this goes back to understanding
our common time usage and what the students think of that time and the purpose of that time.
You know, there's a reason why we set aside that time. But we want to look at the values and the values
that students place on that time. That seems to be less of a value these days. Because the values, the behaviors
we're not really following what was intended through the values. Do you have a sense of why that might be the case?
I don't have an answer now. But I was wondering how the students could get involved, because they do have a lot of free time. I won't deny that.
BOBBI CORDANO: I do want to recognize that a lot of the graduate students were involved
in the I Heart Consent program. They got engaged and did this independently.
That's the power of students stepping up and taking action. In some ways our measure of success is
not just having people come to an event like this, but it's the action that they take as members of the community.
It's the citizenship. We create this community and have you actively involved. If that's happening, I'm completely satisfied.
I know it's not an easy question. It starts with you. With me.
It starts with all of us. BOBBI CORDANO: Right. But I would like you to share with me any other ideas that you come up with. I will.
Okay, go ahead with your question. My name is Rafel.
And I'm in the linguistics department as a Ph.D. student. I'm representing the Graduate Student Association.
And I have a question because of the fact that I'm an international student I know you had mentioned values and core values.
I have a question for you. I know that you're a very busy woman. But my suggestion is why don't you go
and visit the dorms more often? And maybe set up some meetings with different staff,
faculty, and students and to gather feedback in making sure that Gallaudet is a safe place?
What do you think about doing that? BOBBI CORDANO: So I want to make sure I understand. What you're suggesting is that I should have
a separate meeting with students and faculty who are international students? Yes.
Meet with them at least once. BOBBI CORDANO: Yeah, especially given the time that we're in now.
Yeah, I am very open to engaging in that discussion. I think that it is very timely and appropriate
that you ask this question. I meet with faculty regularly. I meet with staff separately. I do have meetings with students, as well.
There are international representatives of each of those groups. But maybe you all getting together as a group
to interact with one another. I'm looking to the provost and the executive team to see whether or not we can do that.
I will take your ideas and feedback on that. Thank you.
And now we would like to give you the last few minutes to wrap up. BOBBI CORDANO: Thank you very much, Trevor.
Very nice job. Your leadership within SBG is just wonderful.
Thank you. We wouldn't be able to do it without all of our students and your support. That's really what's led to our success.
Thank you. BOBBI CORDANO: So thank you all for coming.
Thank you for participating and thank you for participating in what we've done today.
Go in peace, thoughtfulness, and I hope we can continue to be kind to each other
as we move forward in strengthening our community. Thank you all very much.
Before I begin my remarks today,
I'd first like to extend my thanks
to all of you for coming here,
especially on a day like today,
with the snow and the slippery roads.
I do so appreciate that.
This morning I had a conference call
with Heather Harker, the chair of our board,
who is right now in Boston,
where they've really been struck pretty hard
by the storm and they can't even get out.
They may be trapped in their homes
for a day or two.
And her son, Nathan, is, of course, thrilled
and delighted to have
a play day, a snow day.
But again I want to thank all of you
for coming today.
I appreciate it.
I would like to welcome you now to a new year,
to a new semester, to a new beginning.
I hope that each of you
enjoyed a well-deserved winter break.
The return of students at both the university
and the Clerc Center
has brought our campus back to life once again.
It reminds us of why we are here - our students.
For me, the New Year is a time to pause and reflect.
The New Year brings with it a renewed sense of hope
as we look to the future.
The New Year brings energy and excitement
as we begin anew.
The New Year brings renewed optimism
in confronting the many challenges that await us.
This New Year also means a transition
to the next administration.
It is now my sixth year
as President of Gallaudet University.
The search for the next President of Gallaudet
And a new President will most likely deliver
the next State of the University address before you
next year at this time.
"If I move a grain of sand, I change the universe."
When I accepted the position of President
of Gallaudet University, I strongly believed
that it was my responsibility to work with this community
in order "to leave the university better
than when I arrived."
As we look to Gallaudet's recent history,
each President of Gallaudet has done this.
President Robert Davila helped lead the university
after a tumultuous time.
And he worked with members of the community
to ensure that our accreditation
was reaffirmed when it was in jeopardy.
The President before him, Dr. I. King Jordan,
built strong relations in Congress
and in the business community,
and the university's endowment
and its federal appropriation increased tremendously.
Our academic programs and scholarship also
increased in number and quality.
Dr. Jordan, Dr. Davila, and the seven Presidents
before all moved the university forward
in their own ways.
In my own way, I hope that because of the work
we have done together, I, too,
will leave Gallaudet better than when I arrived.
Let's reflect on what we've accomplished together
during my five years as President.
The most recent, of course,
was celebrating our 150th anniversary.
Let me share with you the accomplishments
we've seen these past few years.
Our graduation rates are rising.
We have a National Science Foundation
Science of Learning Center (VL2)
and a state of the art Brain and Language Lab (BL2)
which are led by world-renowned neuroscientist
Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto.
VL2 and BL2 are releasing research findings
that are advancing knowledge of visual language
We were recently awarded a grant
from the U.S. Department of Education
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
(NIDRR) for improving technology
for deaf and hard of hearing individuals
led by Dr. Christian Vogler.
VL2, BL2 and the NIDRR grant
are advancing knowledge and contributing
to our strategic goals in research, development
and outreach as stated in Goal E.
We have established four new graduate degree programs:
a Ph.D. in Interpretation,
a Master of Arts in ASL Education (a hybrid program),
and a Master of Public Administration (MPA)
as well as a Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience.
Our programs in pre-med, pre-law, and pre-MBA
are in early stages or in full swing.
The final pre-program, pre-architecture,
is in development now.
We were given reaccreditation through 2023
by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The field house was renovated.
The physical campus is alive with change.
The field house was renovated to include
DeafSpace principles and new baseball
and softball turf fields were added
as well as a new track and field facility.
With these accomplishments,
Gallaudet has demonstrated it is a leader in universal design.
Those same DeafSpace principles are evident
in the beautiful Dormitory LLRH6.
And the future MSSD dorm is now beginning construction.
And the upcoming redesign and construction
of the HMB science labs are underway.
The Field House was renovated to include DeafSpace
and new baseball and softball turf fields
were added - as well as a new track
and field facility.
Gallaudet has demonstrated
it is a leader in universal design.
New collaborations have been formed with:
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management
and the MPA program,
with Central Piedmont Community College,
with the Bachelor of Arts in Interpretation program,
with universities in Japan, China and Panama.
And VL2 Memoranda of Understanding have been formed
with 15 universities around the country
including Georgetown, Yale, Stanford,
and RIT/NTID, and internationally.
An area I am particularly proud of us working together on
was to mitigate the impact
of the $6 million sequestration cut we experienced.
We navigated that difficult time
and when the money was restored by Congress,
funds were allocated to critical programs and staff,
faculty, and teachers
were awarded a general pay increase.
Our federal appropriation for FY 2015 has increased
to $120,225 million which allowed us
to award another general pay increase this month.
Our endowment has increased
from approximately $150 million in 2010
to $200 million in 2015.
We also have faced challenges.
Enrollment remains a top priority
for the entire university.
The recent Noel-Levitz report is helping guide us
in our strategic decision-making.
At the same time - the Offices of Admissions
and University Communications are coming up
with unique ways to recruit students.
Our "I'm IN" campaign was a big success last year.
Some of you here likely participated.
"I'm IN" was a great way to keep accepted students
engaged with our community
during that critical time period
before they decided whether or not to enroll.
"I'm IN" will continue this year.
One of the most effective ways of attracting students
is our Open Houses.
Students consistently tell us that seeing our campus
and our community is what made them decide
to come to Gallaudet.
And now, for prospective students who unfortunately
cannot physically visit our beautiful campus,
we have a virtual tour in ASL and English -
reflecting our commitment to our bilingual mission.
Shared governance - meaning the involvement
of faculty in the planning
and decision-making processes of the university -
is an issue we are still defining.
Initial work with the Faculty, Administrators
and the Board has begun
and at the upcoming February Board of Trustees meeting,
we will begin our work together to define
what shared governance means for Gallaudet
and how all constituencies - faculty, staff and students -
can be engaged.
We have filled key Leadership positions
over the past year with the hiring of our Provost,
and Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
As always, diversity and inclusion remains
a top priority and we are moving forward with the process
of searching for a new Chief Diversity Officer.
Last September, we held campus-wide dialogues
to collect feedback about the qualities needed
for our next CDO.
A job description is being developed and the search
and selection process will begin this semester.
Our goal is to have a new Chief Diversity officer this fall.
Like all colleges and universities around the country,
Gallaudet is engaging in thoughtful
and productive dialogue
about sexual misconduct and assault.
This spring, we will have four more
Green Dot bystander intervention trainings.
In April, we will recognize
Sexual Assault Awareness month with a variety
of educational programming events
open to the whole campus.
And by the end of this month, all students, faculty,
and staff as well as board members
will have completed our first online training on Title IX,
the Clery Act, and the Violence Against Women Act.
Challenges do not mean setbacks,
here at Gallaudet we embrace challenges
as opportunities to grow and change...
to continuously improve.
Challenges do not mean
that we should give up or blame others.
Challenges make us a stronger
and more supportive community.
The challenges we work through today - together -
will ensure the success of our future.
As we look to the future and continued evolution
of Gallaudet University we must remain keenly aware
of the fact that while we face
our own challenges here on Kendall Green,
Gallaudet is part of a broader national community
of colleges and universities that are all grappling
with how to address crises
affecting our nation and our world.
My hope is that as we approach each challenge
or future issue, we do so with:
Tolerance and respect;
Patience and support;
and Open hearts, minds, and eyes.
The future holds great promise
for Gallaudet University and during my final year
I will continue to support and help move forward
our efforts with...
New campus development on 6th Street -
our Theme is focused on transforming
from Isolation to Innovation.
In a few years - the 6th Street corridor you see today
will be transformed
into mixed-use development
with an urban feel.
Imagine shops, restaurants, and living spaces
will be just steps away from campus.
It will create many opportunities
for our community for jobs, internships,
training, and collaborations.
We will extend our strategic plan
into the 6th year (2016) as we still have work to be done
in critical areas of the current strategic plan.
The board along with a new president
and the community including faculty, staff and students
will take the lead to develop a new strategic plan.
New programs require that we invest our resources
to maximize the potential through our cost cutting efforts
allowing us to invest in programs to prepare students
for in-demand careers:
Like: Information Technology, Public Administration
and International Studies.
We need to pursue an infusion of funds
to launch new majors and programs currently
in the planning stages to prepare students
for the workforce in high demand technology, health care,
and business sectors:
Including: Public Health,
Pre-Architecture with an emphasis on Deaf Space,
Entrepreneurship, Computer Science,
Communications, and Digital Media,
Risk Management and Insurance,
and an Educational Leadership Training Institute.
We also need to consider development
of paraprofessional degree programs in Human Services,
Legal, Education and Health Care
which should boost Gallaudet University's
strategic enrollment initiative.
This spring we will launch a new Gallaudet brand
which will build upon previous work
and include a new tagline, core messages, and strategies
for marketing and communication.
Noel Levitz has outlined steps to develop
a strategic enrollment plan that will be fully executed
by end of this academic year.
The challenge I want to address is
to make Gallaudet more student-centered.
How do we do this?
By improving customer service.
Giving students good customer service
It means knowing that everything you do
ultimately serves one purpose - our students.
We all know this, of course,
but it helps to be reminded again and again.
means being available to answer questions
and address their needs.
If you don't know the answer -
help point the student in the right direction.
Even if it means walking a student over
to the Registrar's Office, the Financial Aid office,
Counseling Center, or the Tutorial Center.
I understand that the campus climate
remains a key concern.
I am pleased that this issue is being discussed
among faculty in the Faculty Senate
and among staff in the Gallaudet Staff Council.
Concerns and questions are being brought
to the attention of administrators
and board members.
My hope is that our continued efforts
on both fronts will unite us all.
While I will not be able to see the outcome
of all of these endeavors as President -
I am confident that the next President will lead Gallaudet
into a successful future -
and leave the university even better
than when he or she arrived.
In this rapidly changing world,
we must always be thinking of how we can improve ourselves
and our efficiency.
The world around us changes constantly
and so we must adapt.
It's what we've always done.
We adapt and become leaders.
We push for change.
We raise the bar.
We strive for more.
In my last year, as President
I will continue to work with the community
in order to leave Gallaudet better than when I arrived.
We have already accomplished so much together.
And I have confidence in our campus community,
administrators, and new leadership
on the Board of Trustees.
I am confident that we will work hard -
together - this year and lead the way
for the next President of Gallaudet University.
Let's make 2015 a year to remember.
[Video Transcript Start][Video marked private]
President Hurwitz cites importance of opening the gates wide to campus diversity and inclusion.
I'd like to begin by thanking you all
for coming out here in the middle of a cold, damp day.
I do appreciate your making the time to be here this afternoon.
So thank you for that.
I believe we're ready to get started,
so with that, let's begin.
How fortunate we are to live in an era
of new found respect for differences.
We have seen new vocabulary arise in recent years.
Words like "diversity" and "inclusion"
receive significant emphasis as parts of the lexicon
of the national work environment.
"Diversity" and "inclusion."
They are both old words in English,
but words of new importance.
They are both old words,
but words which in ASL are very complementary.
The sign for "diversity" appropriately reaches out.
The sign for "inclusion" appropriately draws in.
All of us at Gallaudet -
thinking in both ASL and English -
must reach out and must draw in.
It was tempting to start by trying to convince you
of the benefits of diversity.
It would have been easy to begin by citing
the added value of diversity in all we do.
But I believe we are beyond that point.
We are a university filled
with smart students being educated.
with well-educated faculty and staff.
We are a university,
so I believe it is not necessary to convince you
of the benefits of diversity and inclusion.
Some of you may disagree with me, and some perhaps strongly,
and insist we must be regularly reminded
of the benefits of these topics.
But we work in a university.
We are well educated.
Therefore, I hope we have accepted the syllogism
that we have considered
and accepted that diversity and inclusion add value.
We all follow the discourse of the day.
That dialogue surrounds us in the nation's capital.
In fact, we see the "theater" of diversity and inclusion
so openly here in Washington, D.C.
Whatever our political beliefs, we must feel pride
in President Obama's words in his inaugural address.
Unfortunately we live in a time when the theater
of constant contention in Washington is tragic to observe.
We also witness times when the theater of Washington
is comic to consider.
We often see the mask of this theater.
It shows tragedy on one hand, and shows comedy on the other.
But on occasion we see through to the underlying truth.
"Labeled" groups in every generation seek respect.
People who are deaf have started to look back
on one of those movements.
We are now celebrating Deaf President Now - DPN.
Twenty-five years ago, in March 1988,
the Gallaudet community came together
for an extraordinary week.
Consider the words "came together."
Such very powerful words.
And a powerful outcome.
We were a diverse community then as we are now.
But we came together.
We changed our University.
We changed our community.
We changed the world.
The DPN movement sought a new deaf university president.
But it was so much more.
It was for the recognition of our dignity and self-esteem.
It was for the recognition of our abilities
It was for the recognition of our purpose and character.
DPN succeeded when other righteous causes have not.
And why is that?
We showed the country that our struggles were their struggles.
We showed the country that our purpose was their purpose.
We showed the country that our triumph was their triumph.
I believe one of the reasons why DPN succeeded
was because of its inclusion.
Everyone - inside and outside of the University -
was part of our cause.
That inclusion provided the strength to overcome.
We reached out to others and felt their warmth in return.
We learned that the wider the gates are open
the more we can welcome others.
Because of DPN, for the first time many people
across the country saw through to the heart
of people who are deaf.
We showed ourselves as a contributing part
of American society's diverse coalition.
"Deaf President Now" - what wonderful words.
DPN led to more access and insight.
Later the messages of DPN became codified
in the wonderful American with Disabilities Act.
We are all proud that DPN succeeded.
We are now honoring our success.
Do we label diversity groups at Gallaudet?
Yes, however we are moving to speak of diversity
in more generalized concepts.
Look at another quotation with a similar meaning
but totally different wording.
The fight for equality is an issue for many labeled groups
in our society.
The national discussion on the rights of those
of diverse sexual orientation provides us
with a absolutely stunning example.
National attention is focused on the lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender community - LGBT.
Again terminology is receiving increased attention.
Over time, terms that are new to many of us
are added to the national vocabulary.
But of course it is not the terminology that matters.
In my view, the LGBT community is gaining acceptance
and appears well on its way to attaining full legal rights.
They ask not to be special.
Instead they ask to be equal and to have equal rights.
They ask to raise families and to serve their country.
I feel pride in the LGBT community's success.
I feel humbled
by their tremendous discipline and effort.
I feel the dignity of their determination.
I feel the understanding of their anger as well.
Large numbers of young people demonstrate
open and empathic acceptance of sexual diversity.
It is many in the younger generation who help lead the way
to LGBT acceptance and inclusion.
It is a lesson being taught by youth.
It is a lesson to be learned by those
in older generations.
I celebrate these changes
and express my admiration for what you have done.
Again we are learning that the wider the gates are open
the more room there is for all of us.
All of us know how confusing it can be
to share our worlds with those who have no experience with us.
We also know the heartache of feeling
their uninformed judgment.
We have learned our heritage one by one from each other.
We have fought to develop our history and culture.
The wider the gates of acceptance open
the more room there is for all.
And sadly the community that excludes, shrinks and dies.
I remind you all - we are a university.
We are filled with educated faculty and staff,
and students obtaining their education.
But, I am regularly informed of the simmering,
unresolved conflicts between some of these groups on campus.
We need to act better in our conversations with each other
and in our written exchanges with others.
Many say this is my responsibility;
it must start at the top.
I can, and I am, bringing the issue to the surface.
But there is no magic programming
that will open each of your hearts.
Many say these conflicts
are someone else's responsibility to resolve.
I say each of us must work to resolve these issues.
Many say this cannot be resolved,
that it is here to stay.
I say we will face these issues and face them down.
We must open our gates wide to all who would come here.
I do not claim to understand
what life is like for anyone else.
So I can speak only for myself.
But I can believe
we all sometimes feel alone and excluded,
and we all sometimes feel a longing for respect,
and we all sometimes feel the desire for acceptance
and understanding - to be included.
We must open our hearts for those who want to be here,
no matter what their label.
We must make all feel at home.
We must be "equal" under the principles
by which we operate Gallaudet.
This acceptance must transcend basic hospitality.
Acceptance is the reflection of our character
to share our deaf culture with others.
Acceptance is the basic generosity of spirit
in how we should interact with others.
Acceptance is the "moral force" of how we should behave.
What contrasting prose.
William James uses every element
of the eloquence of the English language.
Rodney King, recently deceased,
makes only a simple admirable appeal.
Both of them touch my theme for the day.
We know we are diverse.
We know we can be inclusive of others.
We know we must respect diversity and foster inclusion.
In our lives let us strive to substitute William James'
"moral forces" between individuals
for what has been labeled "micro-aggressions" -
the subtle demeaning of those in excluded groups.
And the concepts of "intersectionality,"
the study of the ways discrimination
against various minorities interact,
needs to be part of our discussion on campus.
Let us move forward together.
Diversity is strength.
We have seen this throughout the history of our community.
Inclusion is strength.
It is not always easy to be with those
who are different from us,
who may even criticize our beliefs and backgrounds.
Diversity and inclusion are strengths.
But to live up to them, we must be wise, respectful,
flexible, and show courage.
We cannot exclude.
We cannot stand only for ourselves.
We cannot accept a limited, static idea
of what our community should be.
Can we not help those on their "long journey?"
What happens if we exclude?
What happens if we stand for only ourselves?
What happens if we limit ourselves?
Then we fail.
Because instead of fulfilling our most inclusive
and diverse vision, we become isolated and assaulted
by forces that don't understand us and don't care to.
So I encourage us all to:
expand our own limits,
enlarge our circle of friends and colleagues
to be inclusive of others who are different from us,
embrace others from different backgrounds
in the common cause of advancing our community and humanity.
Let me bring both hands to the middle in producing
the sign for "together" and let us move forward
with respect and acceptance for diversity and inclusion.
I am proud to lead this university.
I end my message today with a challenge to all of us.
Commit to acknowledge, support, and engage all others.
Commit to mutually respectful dialogues, attitudes,
and kind gestures.
Commit to opening the gates wide.
And finally, commit to being heroes for one another.
President Hurwitz drew inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his February 7 State of the University Address, which celebrated Gallaudet's past and present and envisioned its future. Dr. Hurwitz said he chose "A Dream for Gallaudet" as the title for his presentation after a moving January 19 tribute to the late civil rights leader hosted by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the Black Deaf Student Union, and the Student Body Government.
For more information about his presentation and to read the whole script: http://www.gallaudet.edu/News/State of University Feb 12
Before I begin my remarks, I did want you to make note
of this brand new theater we are sitting in.
If you've noticed, we have new seats, new carpet, new paint.
I think the colors blend very well.
So it's very exciting for us to be here,
a very exciting time for Gallaudet.
Let me begin by saying welcome.
Welcome to the start of a New Year at Gallaudet!
I hope you enjoyed the slide show.
Those pairs of photos appeared
in our recently published Annual Report.
Yes, the photos were very fun to watch.
But they also have served a serious purpose.
The photos celebrate our past and our present.
The photos make us think about our future.
Because comparing our past with our present
makes us dream of our future.
Our past remains with us today.
Our traditions remain with us today.
And our future is also with us today.
Today I will start by sharing some other information
from the Annual Report.
And I'll use the goals of the Gallaudet Strategic Plan,
the GSP, as a framework for my presentation.
For Goal A, our Annual Report tells us that
the total for our enrollment for undergraduate, graduate,
and English Language Institute students
was up slightly in the fall as compared to last year.
Enrollment at the Clerc Center was up significantly.
But yet, so much work remains for all of us
on this issue of enrollment.
We must ensure that Gallaudet is "top of the mind"
for potential students.
And we must ensure
that Gallaudet is also "top the of mind"
for enrolled students, so that way they will return
year after year until they graduate.
Now for Goal B, our Annual Report tells us
that the graduation rate for undergraduate students
was up significantly this year as compared to last year,
but down slightly for graduate students.
However, both percentages exceeded targeted numbers
that were established by the U.S. Department of Education.
Later in my address today,
I'll talk about the other GSP goals.
Just two weeks ago Vicki and I, and also many of you,
attended a wonderful campus event.
"Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,"
was the inspiration for my words today.
Now I'm sure you can make the connection
between Martin Luther King, that event
and the title of my address today: "A Dream for Gallaudet."
Dr. King compares our present
with our dreams of the future.
An entering student leaves one world,
and at graduation enters a far different world.
Fortunately a liberal arts education is
the heart of preparation for a changing future.
Fortunately moving into the future is based
on a deep emotional tradition here at Gallaudet.
And fortunately our university is alive with the ability
to adapt to prepare students for that new world.
Liberal arts provides all of that and more.
It promotes analytical and critical thinking.
It engenders a life-long love of learning,
and it provides preparation
for the ever-changing jobs of tomorrow.
And so today, we take our inspiration
from Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
He passionately questioned our nation.
Just last October, his memorial opened at the National Mall.
His monument is beautiful, dramatic, and spiritual.
We all take inspiration from his granite sculpture.
We all take inspiration from his eloquent speeches.
And most of all, we take inspiration from his dreams.
We all know that Dr. King had a dream.
On what do we build on our dreams?
What is our foundation?
What words would we carve in granite?
KNOWLEDGE is our foundation.
COMMUNITY is our foundation.
COMMUNICATION is our foundation.
Let us cherish our knowledge.
We fulfill the dream of a university education
for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
We fulfill the dream of educating the country
about the capabilities of people
who are deaf or hard of hearing.
And we fulfill the dream of educating the world
about the capabilities of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Let us cherish that we are a community.
No university in the world has a community like ours.
No place in the world has a community like ours.
No people in the world have a community like ours.
Let us cherish our communication.
Our bilingual communication fosters
sharing of diversity of opinion and ideas.
engaging in the dynamic exchange of ideas.
summarizing our dreams for the future.
I love this new logo.
It symbolizes so much about Gallaudet.
So many different people came together to create it.
We came together and we made it happen.
We attended to others' opinions,
we took them to heart with respect.
Over 2,000 opinions were expressed in the process.
We can soar together into the future
with a logo representative of the University.
In particular I thank students.
Because of them we didn't just "settle"
for one of the earlier designs.
Many thought that this logo change should be postponed
or perhaps take several years to occur.
But instead, the change was swift and empowering.
Instead, the change occurred from the inside
under our control.
And instead, the logo process
was an open and inspiring process.
The University Council was pivotal
in the review process of the new logo.
Let me cite another example of change.
Consider the many construction improvements on campus.
In prior years we learned of improvements
through limited announcements
or when we saw the improvements actually happening.
But it was recently announced at the University Council
that we would establish a new process.
We will now solicit input from all segments of the campus
before the projects are selected.
This is one of many ways we better manage our resources,
all part of Goal C of the GSP.
Also in process is the development
of a ten-year master plan for the University.
What a dramatic responsibility as we envision...
dream... of the transformation of this University
in the coming decade or two.
We have a momentum on our side.
These changes reflect our goals for openness
and inclusiveness that are all part of our dream
for the University.
Well, how can we ensure our success?
How can we use this great foundation to soar?
And how can we ensure our students will succeed?
For guidance, let's look to Dr. Martin Luther King.
"Intelligence plus character."
Let me repeat his words: "Intelligence plus character."
What a fabulous definition of liberal arts.
So how will we use our strength in liberal arts?
How will we meet Goal D of the GSP on academic programs?
Well, let me return to a theme that I raised in the fall.
Let me share some ongoing developments
and the incredible potential of the pre-programs.
They were first announced
in the welcoming address last fall.
Since that time an academic team is meeting
on a weekly basis to make these ideas become reality.
Two of the programs are actually under active development
and two are being researched.
We will return to those programs today
because I believe so strongly
in their potential to transform.
They are part of our dream for the university.
Each builds on our existing strengths and on areas
where we want to become even stronger.
Of course, people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
are currently succeeding in these important areas.
But their numbers are small.
There is so much work to be done in these fields.
There is so much untapped potential,
and there is so much we can contribute to the opportunities
of young future students.
Let me briefly review the service
that we can provide because of each new major.
The passage of the ADA brought forward the issue
of rights for all.
Lawyers are needed to advance this work.
Lawyers are needed to promote equal access.
And lawyers are needed to advocate for all of us.
But beyond those specialized needs,
our society needs lawyers in all fields.
They help to ensure that we live in a society
that is fair to all.
Let's make this new program part of our dream.
For too long, people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
have been underserved in health care.
And for too long, they have been unable to find
health care workers with whom
they can comfortably communicate.
And for too long, the door to this incredibly rewarding
health care professional fields has been shut to people
who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
But there is change coming.
Gallaudet has been working as a partner
with three other institutions
on a national Health Care Task Force.
We anxiously look forward to the final report
of this group which will be available to us
at the end of March.
Our thanks to all who have represented Gallaudet
so very well on this 18-month task.
We will make the offering of more health care careers
a part of our dream.
Business entrepreneurship has become a national need.
And people who are deaf or hard of hearing
often talk of starting a business.
But it's happened only in limited numbers.
We want to encourage those dreams by preparing students
to enter graduate business programs.
The knowledge provided by those programs matches
the foundation of today's economy.
Let us encourage and grow the entrepreneurial spirit
and the abilities of our students.
Let us encourage them to establish
and run the businesses of tomorrow.
We dream of establishing a pre-architectural program.
We want to prepare students to enter
a masters of architecture program.
It is possible to enter many of those programs
no matter area of undergraduate study.
But our dream is to provide a liberal arts
baccalaureate program designed to help students enter
and graduate from a masters of architecture program.
We can uniquely prepare those students.
And how is that?
We have a groundbreaking knowledge,
knowledge of Deaf Space.
And that knowledge connects to Universal Design,
for what we implement in our community
benefits all populations.
Our new living and learning residential hall
exemplifies what we can offer our students,
those who want to pursue architecture as a career.
So why do we dream so strongly and toil so hard
to have these pre-programs set-up?
Because we believe in these liberal arts programs.
They will create an environment that encourages
all potential students to dream without limits.
They will improve students' confidence
and abilities for graduate work.
They will prepare our students
for passionate careers rather than just jobs.
And they will benefit all Gallaudet students,
for we will strengthen so many of our current offerings
to support these new offerings.
In addition to these new academic programs,
we will continue with the pride we feel
in other undergraduate and graduate programs.
We will continue to emphasize
our other strong baccalaureate programs.
And we will continue to counsel undergraduate students
about their work options based on their majors.
And we will continue to emphasize
that those programs provide entryways
to our own existing strong graduate programs.
We will continue to build our research capabilities,
which is Goal E of the GSP.
Our Annual Report indicates that the dollar amount of grants
received last year was the highest of any
of the most recent ten years.
In addition the dollar amount of proposals
has grown significantly.
We will continue the expansion of our research activity
so that we meet the dream of becoming the epicenter
of our research areas.
To fulfill our dream, every one of us must contribute.
I include students, faculty, and staff.
And I also include our Board of Trustees
and our Board of Associates.
The success of one is the success of all.
Reverend King reminds us that "no work is insignificant."
we redefine for each other what is possible.
Let us all use Gallaudet to pursue
our shared dreams for our future.
By reaching for our dreams we are serving others.
Let's take a moment to cherish
the amazing work of our graduates.
Almost seventy percent of our graduates
are in service careers.
What a very proud record.
Of course we will end today by repeating
the most famous quote of Dr. King.
Throughout this speech I have mentioned
time and time again his words.
They have been a unifying element of the speech.
The words of Dr. King continue to impact us
so strongly today.
His words closely parallel our lives and our issues.
His words excite us to consider our future.
And his words encourage us to dream of that future.
Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
for your inspiration today.
And thank you Gallaudet.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Copyright © 2023 Gallaudet University. All rights reserved.
800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20002