Few other groups compare with CSUN’s National Center on Deafness when it comes to competing for federal grants for the deaf and hard of hearing. NCOD has received a $10 million grant for the past 10 years, providing $1 million each year. The grant is given to provide assistance to improve the education and assistance for the deaf and hard of hearing, and to better academic accomplishments.
NCOD also received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education last October.
“NCOD is like a mini-CSUN,” said NCOD Director Roz Rosen.
NCOD does hold their own orientation program, but does not share funding with CSUN. The department focuses more on staff, workers and deaf or hard of hearing students.
Although the deaf studies department and NCOD serve a similar purpose – to enrich the lives of those in the deaf or hard of hearing community – they are different entities that serve the deaf community in different ways.
“We don’t have a whole lot (to) share. We serve different functions on campus,” said deaf studies department secretary and CSUN deaf studies graduate student Laura Cummings.
“We are an academic department like any other college and the NCOD is a service provider,” Cummings said.
“The grant focuses on outreach training and technical assistance to serve in the western region,” said NCOD Project Director Catherine McLeod. “The funds are spent on in-service training, conferences and material development. It is for external outreach work.”
NCOD, also known as Postsecondary Education Programs Network West, is a partnership of four regions that spread nationwide to create need-assisting programs to better the lives of those individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
One of the four centers is the California-based center that represents the west, which CSUN’s campus accommodates near the health center. A few of the states the West region covers are Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming. The other regions are the Midwest, South and Northeast. These four regions come together and use their funds to apply leadership outreach activities, training administrators and personnel about legal responsibility, ideologists and speech therapists. Their goal is to coordinate a program to allow a national design to assist individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
CSUN is one of the largest universities in the nation that has deaf or hard of hearing students. Simply because of the number of deaf or hard of hearing students who attend CSUN (300 in all), the aid received is greater than that received by other universities. This is why creating a national design to assist the deaf or hard of hearing will allow any university to accommodate deaf students the way CSUN does.
“Deafness is a (densely situated) population,” Rosen said. “There are only one out of 1,000 people that are deaf. So the school and cities need to meet the needs of these children and parents. The university has to meet the type of needs but it is not just about access but quality.”
One of the ways NCOD offers help to students is by offering interpreters. CSUN students who are deaf or hard of hearing can take advantage of this aid in classrooms and events. But problems can occur.
“Sometimes they have (a) limited number of interpreters,” said senior psychology major Storm Smith, who is partially deaf.
Possible solutions to this problem can be to coordinate with another student so it can be one interpreter for two students.
If the class is more than three hours, two interpreters switch off every 20 to 30 minutes.
Other forms of assistance students can request include note taking and captioning. Captioning uses two different types of programs. The first program is called Typewell. Training lasts for one week and must be self-financed. The program teaches you abbreviations and the program will finish the word.
Another form of captioning uses a program called Realtime. Captionists also use a stenographer, similar to what court reporters use, to type the lectures from class.