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Facts About the Hearing Undergraduate Students Program

Dear Campus Community: 
 
A recent blog and YouTube video both contain inaccurate information about the number and influence of hearing students in the undergraduate degree program at Gallaudet University. This communication is designed to provide our community with facts so you are positioned to respond correctly should you be asked. 

Gallaudet University is primarily for deaf and hard of hearing students, and has been since 1864. It has always welcomed hearing students who are bilingual and committed to learning in a signing environment. From time to time, there are challenges to this very notion, on social media and elsewhere. We recognize that these pieces represent a broader struggle that our community has faced for years in regards to discrimination, exclusion, or audism. As a community of Deaf people, it is important that we recognize this while at the same time separating facts from fiction.  

Context

For nearly two decades, Gallaudet University has admitted hearing students to its undergraduate degree programs. This began as a pilot program in 2000, and was formally recognized by the United States Department of Education in 2006. At that time, a cap of five percent was placed on the number of hearing undergraduate students who could be admitted each year. Over time, this cap has been increased twice, first to seven percent, and since 2017 to eight percent. 

Gallaudet also has a Bachelor of Arts degree program in Interpretation (BAI). The BAI program began in 2005, and accepts both hearing and deaf students. It was created in part to address the acute nationwide shortage of qualified sign language interpreters, as well as enhanced professional certification requirements. Per the United States Department of Education, hearing students in the BAI program are not counted under the eight percent cap. Before Fall 2018, hearing students in our Online Degree Completion Program (ODCP) were not counted under the eight percent cap. Beginning in Fall 2018, they are counted.

Relevant Data

Here are some facts from the last two academic years.

2017-2018

In Fall 2017, Gallaudet enrolled 132 hearing students in its undergraduate degree programs. Of these 132, 82 were Hearing Undergraduate students. This was seven percent of the total undergraduate enrollment of 1,111 students. Fifty-three hearing students were enrolled in the BAI program, and four hearing students were enrolled in the Online Degree Completion Program. BAI and ODCP students were not counted under the eight percent cap.

Among the 82 HUGs, 29 had declared majors and 55 had not. (This adds up to 84, not 82, because two students declared two majors). Declared majors included Biology, Business Administration, Communication Studies, Deaf Studies, Education, Government, International Studies, Physical Education and Recreation, Psychology, Self-Directed Major, Social Work, and Spanish. 

2018-2019

In Fall 2018, Gallaudet enrolled 127 hearing students in its undergraduate degree programs. Of these 127, 69 were Hearing Undergraduate students. The total of 127 hearing students included nine hearing students in our Online Degree Completion Program (ODCP), who were being counted for the first time. This was seven percent of the total undergraduate enrollment of 1,066 students. Forty-nine hearing students were enrolled in the BAI program. BAI students are not counted under the eight percent cap.

Among the 69 HUGs, 23 had declared majors and 47 had not. (This adds up to 70, not 69, because one student declared two majors.) Declared majors included American Sign Language, Communication Studies, Deaf Studies, Education, International Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Spanish. 

Admissions Requirements

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions receives and screens all applications for admission as Hearing Undergraduate students. They must meet the same requirements as deaf and hard of hearing students. In addition, they must have a personal interview with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and must attain a score of 2+ or better on the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI). 

Characteristics of Our Hearing Undergraduate Students

In recent years, some enrolled HUGs have been children of deaf adults, or CODAs. Some have deaf siblings or extended family members. Some come to us after having taken ASL classes in elementary, middle, or high school. Anecdotally, HUGs are highly motivated, and are driven by their desire to support the Deaf community. They are respectful of their deaf and hard of hearing peers, and of community norms for language and culture. HUGs are full, valued participants in our academic and social community. They join organizations and clubs, and play varsity and intramural sports. Any suggestion that they are at Gallaudet to overcome and overtake their deaf and hard of hearing peers, or to participate in the systematic dismantling of the Deaf community, is simply inaccurate. 

Summary

  1. The number of Hearing Undergraduate students has not increased. 
  2. It is noteworthy that the number of HUGs, both in terms of absolute numbers and as a percentage of all undergraduate students, decreased, not increased from 2017-2018 to 2018-2019.
  3. Gallaudet’s mission, vision, core values, and strategic goals support the education and empowerment of deaf and hard of hearing people the world over, and will continue to do so infinitely.

All of us in the Gallaudet University community are ambassadors of Gallaudet. Please share these facts accordingly as appropriate. Contact public.relations@gallaudet.edu if you have any questions.

Thank you,

The University Communications Team 

Posted by Andrew Greenman | Posted July 31, 2019 at 4:04 PM

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002