Accreditation for ASL Bachelor’s Renewed for Next 10 Years

ASL Department Chair Peter Cook on stage at the Deaf Awareness Day eventASL Department Chair Peter Cook on stage at the Deaf Awareness Day event
Columbia College Chicago is proud to announce that the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) granted the ASL-English Interpretation bachelor’s program with a 10-year accreditation extension in October 2023.

Only 15 higher-education institutions in the U.S. have accredited bachelor’s degree programs in ASL. This recognition is one of many unique aspects about Columbia that showcases its commitment to high-quality education in the ASL interpretation field.

“Accreditation is a reflection of our commitment to high excellence in interpreter education and it proves we are doing our job,” said Peter Cook, ASL department chair. “It’s not only an assessment of what we’re doing [as a program], but we’re also able to do a self-assessment and make improvements that benefit our students.”

With the limited number of 4-year accredited programs available in the U.S., prospective students who are interested in performing arts, entertainment and creative fields turn to Columbia for an ASL education with an arts background.
“A huge part of what makes Columbia unique is its strong creative arts and media focus in an urban setting like Chicago,” said Cook.

The ASL Minor is popular among students from different departments including Dance, Theatre, and Interactive Arts and Media. According to Cook, there are currently approximately 60 students from other programs who have selected ASL as their minor. This gives Columbia students the opportunity to collaborate with other departments and learn a variety of skill sets that benefit their post-collegiate career.

The ASL program hosts a variety of initiatives and events open to the greater community. One of the more popular initiatives is the ASL Institute—a 6-week workshop that has a beginner and intermediate class for anyone in the community interested in increasing their conversational fluency. Other department-run initiatives include the Deaf Awareness Day event at the Student Center and the annual ASL Student Conference.

The ASL Department completed a two-day site visit from CCIE and passed the rigorous standards required to gain its reaccreditation status in October. According to CCIE, the 10 standards address institutional practices, faculty governance, curriculum development, practicum supervision, and assessment of interpreter education. The ASL bachelor’s program accreditation is renewed for an additional 10 years.

More About the Coalition of Interpreter Trainers

A coalition of interpreter trainers (CIT) act as the governing body for the CCIE and adhere to a strict set of standards. The coalition is made up of interpretation teachers who sought out to improve the quality of interpreter education through a set of standards. Learn more about the CIT governance guidelines.

FOX 32 Chicago featured the ASL program at Columbia College Chicago on its nightly news on November 2, 2023.