Clemson University announced yesterday that assistant professor Stephen Fitzmaurice was awarded more than $1 million to establish the South Carolina Educational Interpreting Center.
The South Carolina Department of Education, which awarded the funds, South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind and Clemson will work together to open the center.
“As a nationwide leader in preparing educational interpreters,” Fitzmaurice said, “we are excited to receive this award which will go a long way not only to improving the skills of working educational interpreters in South Carolina but towards improving educational access for children who are deaf and hard of hearing across the state.”
Clemson is the only university in South Carolina to offer a BA in American Sign Language. It also has the only interpreter program in the state. Educational interpreters must quickly hear, comprehend and translate lessons into American Sign Language. Proficiency levels in South Carolina are below national levels, with only 30 percent of interpreters having passed the educational interpreter exam.
“Clemson’s new center for educational interpreting will pave the way toward a better education for deaf and hard of hearing students in South Carolina and beyond,” College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities Dean Richard Goodstein said. “It is core to our mission as teachers — doing everything we can making sure every child in the classroom has a chance to access the lesson.”