Before the U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations, Ralph Regula, Chairman
April 24, 2001
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:
Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Request
The budget request for Gallaudet University for fiscal year 2002 is $89.4 million, the same as the amount that was appropriated in fiscal year 2001.
Congress has played a vital role in the higher education of deaf people in the United States through 137 years of continuous support for Gallaudet University. Gallaudet's history is closely intertwined with those of the land grant institutions and the historically black colleges and universities. During the Civil War, Congress recognized the role that publicly supported higher education could play in unifying the nation through passage of the Morrill Act. At the same time, colleges were being established to provide for the higher education of the previously disenfranchised African-American population. Gallaudet was established to serve a similar function for the deaf population of the United States. Because the deaf population is widely dispersed throughout the country, it was not efficient or effective for each state to establish a college for the deaf, and Congress recognized that there was a need for a national institution. Deaf people continue to face barriers to higher education, and, as is true for the historically black colleges and universities, Gallaudet continues to serve a vital national function.
Congressional support of Gallaudet represents a commitment to and confidence in the aspirations of individuals with disabilities that is unique in the world. Each year I am grateful to have the chance to discuss with you the opportunities that Gallaudet University has opened to American individuals who are deaf.
This year, I must also mention tragic events that have occurred on our campus. The past six months have been the most difficult of my 13-year tenure as president of Gallaudet, and I believe this period has been the most trying time in the history of the University. As you know, two of our students were tragically murdered and a third was arrested for these horrifying crimes. Because of these terrible events, we have done a painstaking review of our campus security systems. We have determined that, although our campus is very safe and our crime rate is quite low, we must nevertheless do everything in our power to ensure that events like this never happen again. If Gallaudet University is to flourish, we must be able to demonstrate to current and prospective students and their families that our campus is safe and secure. We plan to do everything in our power to ensure that we achieve this goal. In particular, the University plans to increase staffing for the dormitories and the campus security force. We also plan to increase the number of security cameras and improve security at the entrances to the campus.
I also would like to say that I have never been more proud of Gallaudet's dedicated faculty and staff than during the recent crises on campus. They gave selflessly of their time on weekends and during evenings; and, because we did not know the nature of the threat to our campus, they were more than willing to place themselves in potential danger to safeguard the well being of our students.
Government Performance and Results Act
For the past several years, Gallaudet has been engaged in the refinement of our strategic plan and in the process of working with the Department of Education to ensure that our plan fulfills the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). Assessment of progress toward our goals, as tracked by GPRA indicators, is now an explicit part of the budget process. Gallaudet has made progress in achieving all three of its strategic objectives, which focus on: student academic and career achievement, providing leadership in setting the standard for best educational practices for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and establishing a sustainable resource base.
In order for Gallaudet to continue to serve a critical function for people who are deaf in the United States and the world, it is vital that we increase the number of students who graduate. To that end, we are using different, but interrelated approaches. We are re-examining our assumptions about learning and teaching and how those assumptions affect the approaches we take to achieve particular student outcomes. We have continued to upgrade our technological infrastructure and infuse the most advanced technology into all of our programs of instruction and research, as well as into our administrative and student assessment functions. As technology redefines the landscape of education and the workplace, Gallaudet is re-examining how it can ensure that our students are prepared to become effective users, consumers, and producers of technology. The University is employing technologies that support all types of learning-including traditional face-to- face instruction, self-paced instruction, and online learning. Gallaudet students, faculty, teachers, and staff are eagerly exploring applications of technologies such as web- enhanced and web-based courses, video conferencing, and real-time captioning. During fiscal year 2000, Gallaudet committed more than $3 million to improvements in its technological base, and during fiscal year 2001, we anticipate spending more than $5 million for this purpose. We plan to continue our investment in this area so that our University and the students who graduate from it continue to be competitive in the market place.
The University is particularly motivated to increase the graduation rate of its students, because of the excellent prospects that Gallaudet graduates enjoy. Data about our alumni, collected over the past several decades, indicate that they have a high rate of success in obtaining productive employment and in earning advanced degrees. Researchers at the University have completed a comprehensive study that provides further information about the success of our deaf graduates. In this study, information was gathered on alumni who either graduated from or left the University prior to1998. Consistent with information collected during the past 20 years, more than 60% of our former undergraduates who responded to the survey went on to graduate school and more than 40% of those earned advanced degrees. This is about twice the rate for a comparison group of undergraduate programs. Also consistent with previous University surveys is the finding that only 4% of bachelor's level respondents were unemployed and looking for work-for graduate degree holders, the corresponding figure was an even more impressive 2%.
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center
Gallaudet also prides itself on the programs we provide for younger learners. The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center is comprised of the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES), the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD), and related research, demonstration, and outreach activities designed to improve educational programs for deaf children throughout the United States. The Clerc Center is playing a vital role in serving the extended deaf community by continuing to implement its three priorities for research, development, and dissemination that were established through a process involving public input: (1) Literacy; (2) Family involvement; and (3) Transition to work or higher education. A new programmatic goal will be to find effective ways to work with and educate children with cochlear implants, as these children represent a growing proportion of the deaf and hard of hearing school population.
In keeping with its mandate to serve the Nation's deaf students, the Laurent Clerc Center has been greatly expanding its work with a variety of educational programs throughout the country. The Center is currently cooperating with programs in the following locations: Little Rock, AR; Delmar, DE; Hillsboro, OR; Portland, OR; Baltimore, MD; Upper Marlboro, MD; Staunton, VA; Talladega, AL; Encinitas, CA; Clarkston, GA; Omaha, NE; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Oakland, IA; Richmond, VA; St. Paul, MN; Dallas, TX; Council Bluffs, IA; Port Richey, FL; Bloomfield Hills, MI; St. Augustine, FL; Pinellas Park, FL; Williamsburg, VA; Oklahoma City, OK; Olathe KS; Danville, KY; Palatine, IL; Baton Rouge, LA; Columbia, MD; Davie, FL; Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Fulton, MO; Moore, OK; Mooresville, NC; Chesterfield, VA; Columbus, OH; Powahatan, VA; Eau Claire, WI; Sioux Falls, SD; Salt Lake City, UT Charleston, WV; Manchester, NH; Brattleboro, VT; Lawrence, MA; Williamstown, VT; Bridgeport, CT; Haverhill, MA; Portland, ME; Malden, MA, Allston, MA; W. Hartford, CT; Tucson, AZ; Fremont, CA; Laramie, WY; Las Vegas, NV; Nesconset, NY; Colorado Springs, CO; Seattle, WA; Wilson, NC; Burbank, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Honolulu, HI; Gooding, ID; Jacksonville, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Trenton, NJ; Framingham, MA; Jackson, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Frederick, MD; Flint, MI; Midland Park, NJ; Mill Neck, NY; Jackson, MS; Fulton, MO; White Plains, NY; Rome, NY; Sulphur, OK; Philadelphia, PA; Burien, WA; Hesperia, CA; Providence, RI; Bronx, NY; Scranton, PA; Spartanburg, SC; West Covina, CA; Newark, DE; Knoxville, TN; Austin, TX; Irvine, CA; Fairfax, VA; Vancouver, WA; Romney, WV; Pittsburgh, PA; Delavan, WI; Worcester, MA.
In addition to the legally mandated national mission of the Clerc Center, through which Gallaudet provided services to more than 150,000 individuals and distributed more than 100,000 professional publications and other products in fiscal year 2000, the University provides other services to large numbers of people in the United States. Annually, about 2,000 individuals attend educational programs on our campus in Washington or at our extension centers around the country. In addition, in fiscal year 2000 more than 30,000 people attended conferences and other events for professional training sponsored by Gallaudet through its University level continuing education programs. Through these activities and its many research programs, the University is able to provide information about the educational and other needs of America's deaf citizens at a level that is unprecedented in our history.
Endowment Grant Program
One of our most successful programs during the past decade and one half has been the Federal Endowment matching program. During each of the 14 years, including fiscal year 2001, that this program has been funded by Congress, we have matched at least one million dollars or all of the funding that was available. In two years, we matched amounts in excess of $1 million. A good investment market had increased the total value of the fund to $50 million by the end of fiscal year 2000. This program has been the engine driving our highly successful capital campaign, which has exceeded its goal of $30 million during the past 3 years. At the level of funding proposed in this budget, we have not yet determined whether we would set aside funds for matching or use these funds for other purposes.
Thank you for the opportunity to come before you today. I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.