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Douglas College

douglascollege.ca

About Douglas College

Douglas College is a public college that offers educational programs and courses in child, family and community studies, commerce and business administration, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, language, literature and performing arts, and science and technology. It is based in New Westminster, British Columbia.

Headquarters Location

700 Royal Avenue

New Westminster, British Columbia, V3M 5Z5,

Canada

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Latest Douglas College News

Douglas College suspends sign-language interpreter course for lack of student interest

Dec 16, 2022

Play Video Douglas College in New Westminster said it has suspended its five-semester course for next fall’s enrolment because of expected low demand, a decision advocates say will worsen the shortage of interpreters just as the need for them is rising. Sunrise presented by Vancouver Sun Start your day with a roundup of B.C.-focused news and opinion delivered straight to your inbox at 7 a.m., Monday to Friday. Email Address Sign Up By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails or any newsletter. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300 Thanks for signing up! A welcome email is on its way. If you don't see it, please check your junk folder. The next issue of Sunrise presented by Vancouver Sun will soon be in your inbox. We encountered an issue signing you up. Please try again Article content “Due to low applications, we are in the position of needing to suspend the program for one year,” Jonathan Davies, the school’s associate dean of the applied community studies faculty, said in an emailed statement. Douglas has suspended the program in the past when enrolment was low and it plans to run the course in September 2024, he said. “The Westcoast Association of Visual Language Interpreters is acutely aware of the shortage in the field,” said Tyler Churchman, president of that association, which represents sign language interpreters in B.C. “Demand for interpreting outpaces the supply of sign language interpreters.” Advertisement 3 Article content With the recent passage of the Accessible B.C. Act and the Accessible Canada Act, which mandate accessibility, “we will continue to see an increase in demand for interpreters both provincially and nationally,” he said. Interpreters work in education, social services, performing arts, medical, legal and community settings and in workplaces where deaf people are employed, Douglas College said on its website. “The unmet need for interpreters is large and actual market demand is growing,” it said. An increase in the supply of new interpreters is “essential to maintain equitable access for Deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind communities,” Churchman said. “Suspending our program will have a significant impact on the number of interpreters available” in B.C., said Barb Mykle-Hotson, who runs the program at Douglas and is one of the teachers. Advertisement 4 Article content For instance, she said, a shortage of interpreters means 15 B.C. school districts with deaf students are without staff interpreters. Douglas College normally offers 18 seats in its five-semester program each fall. It gets most of its applicants from people in Vancouver Community College’s American Sign Language program, and there has been a “significant decline” in the number of those students over the past few years, a college spokeswoman said in an email. The decision means the 16 students enrolled in VCC’s ASL program who want to become interpreters will have to move to Ontario or Nova Scotia to attend a course next fall, Mykle-Hotson said. For the fall 2021 and the fall 2022 intake, only 13 people each year met admission requirements, the college spokeswoman said. Advertisement 5 Article content This time last year, there were 20 applications, of which 13 were accepted. Of those 13, 10 came from VCC. The program receives a small number of applicants from outside of the province. So far this year there have been just seven applicants for next fall, the college spokeswoman said. Douglas made the decision to cut the program now instead of waiting until the deadline for applications to allow students a chance to make other plans for the next school year while hoping to increase enrolment for the 2024 intake, she said. The course used to be offered at Lakeland College in Alberta but it suspended the program for this school year. And a joint program by Red River College Polytech and the University of Manitoba  is “under revision,” according to their websites. Advertisement 6 Article content There is also a program in Quebec for French ASL interpreters. Douglas College on its website says a survey of graduates shows most work more than 20 hours a week as interpreters within four months of graduating, many as freelancers and other in permanent positions. They work at schools, organizations or in video relay services, which allows video calls between those who use sign language and those who don’t. More news, fewer ads: Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 per week, you can get unlimited, ad-lite access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The Province .

Douglas College Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Where is Douglas College's headquarters?

    Douglas College's headquarters is located at 700 Royal Avenue, New Westminster.

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