22 October 2013
University marks milestone
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has celebrated the 20th anniversary of its successful British Sign Language (BSL) and Deaf Studies courses.
It is estimated that over 60% of British Sign Language/English interpreters working in the UK have been taught on UCLan courses.
Since Deaf Studies was introduced to UCLan in 1993, graduates have gone on to work in a number of deafness related careers and professions. This has made a major impact in enhancing access to information, services and jobs for sign language users and has established UCLan’s reputation as the market leader in such training provision and professional development.
The courses offered by the University have expanded over the years, with UCLan being the first University in the country to establish a BA (Hons) British Sign Language degree in 2008. More recently, courses in BSL teacher training and a Masters degree in BSL/English interpreting and translation have been introduced.
To mark the anniversary milestone, UCLan invited back some of its most successful alumni for a one day celebratory event at the University including Asif Iqbal MBE, the public appointments ambassador for the Cabinet Office and Government Equalities Office.
"Deaf Studies courses are vital for both deaf and hearing people to gain a powerful insight into how deaf people live on a day to day basis, as well as educating those students on the ethics and professionalism of working with deaf people."
Asif said: “Many congratulations to the Deaf Studies Team at UCLan for achieving their 20 year milestone. Deaf Studies courses are vital for both deaf and hearing people to gain a powerful insight into how deaf people live on a day to day basis, as well as educating those students on the ethics and professionalism of working with deaf people in a huge range of professions from public services to charities and the third sector.”
Dr Martin Atherton, Course Leader for British Sign Language and Deaf Studies in the School of Education and Social Science, commented: “The work of the BSL and Deaf Studies team and our graduates has influenced policy and practice in areas such as education, BSL/English interpreting, curriculum development and support for deaf students on national and international levels.
“On a national level, these activities have served to place UCLan at the very heart of BSL and Deaf Studies discourses, research and education in the UK and beyond to establish the team’s reputation for quality and innovation.”
The international work of the British Sign Language and Deaf Studies team has seen collaborative work with partners across Europe, the US and South America, as well as offering student exchanges between UCLan and universities in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and most recently the Czech Republic.