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Sign-language certificate program funded

By Clara B. Cox

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 07 - October 5, 1995

The Virginia Department of Education, Gallaudet University, and Virginia Tech's Division of Continuing Education have all provided funds to establish a Roanoke-based certificate program for sign-language interpreters. The three-year program will be developed and managed by Connie Meck, Tech's program director for continuing education in Roanoke.

"It has been a dream of mine to establish a professional-development certificate program for interpreters in Southwest Virginia since I came here three years ago. We have been offering one- and two-day workshops for two years with great success and feel the time is ripe for a more intensive program," Meck said.

The non-credit certificate program will not provide a traditional format of sign-language classes leading to interpreting preparation courses. It will, instead, offer intensive-study courses, offered for two weeks each summer, beginning in 1996, at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. Classes will be held Monday-Thursday into the evening.

According to Meck, the training will target working interpreters in the field, most of them in educational settings. "Participants will engage in hands-on knowledge and skill-building activities set at an intermediate to advanced level and pace," Meck said.

An interpreter and American sign-language instructor herself, Meck organized a workshop for sign-language interpreters in July that featured Miss America, Heather Whitestone, as the keynote speaker. Last year, Meck obtained funds to address the critical need in Southwest Virginia for more educational interpreters functioning at a Level II VQAS or above.

For information on the certificate program, call Meck at (540) 857-6055 or write to her at Virginia Tech's Division of Continuing Education, 110 Shenandoah Ave. NE, Roanoke, VA 24016.