New inroads in 91’s “Global Learning for All” initiative to cultivate a community of globally-minded individuals through cross-cultural engagement and learning opportunities have been made with the finalizing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Gallaudet and National University Corporation Tsukuba University of Technology (NTUT), Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. Provost Khadijat K. Rashid, ’90, and Senior International Officer Charles B. Reilly signed the MOU on Gallaudet’s behalf on July 18. It was signed earlier by NTUT President Yasushi Ishihara.

The MOU will promote and develop activities between the two universities that focus on Virtual Exchange-Collaborative Online International Learning (VE-COIL), which links classrooms of two or more accredited higher education institutions, each located in a different country, to create equitable team-taught learning environments where faculty from different cultures work together to develop a shared syllabus, emphasizing experiential and collaborative student learning.

NTUT, the only higher educational institution for deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing students in Japan, is Gallaudet’s second VE-COIL program in Japan: the University’s International Development Master of Arts degree program partnered with the Japanese College of Social Work, Kiyose, Tokyo, Japan, through Gallaudet’s Office of International Affairs for the Fall 2022 semester to offer the course “Oppression and Liberation,” in which students examined ideologies of deaf and signing communities. VE-COIL courses have also taken place between Gallaudet and colleges and universities in Norway, Italy, and the Philippines.

The MOU is promising because NTUT, a government-funded university, may be able to afford more deaf Japanese students the ability to enhance their education by taking online Gallaudet courses.

Groundwork for the Gallaudet/NTUT MOU was laid on March 20 and 21 when three members of NTUT’s Faculty/Steering Committee of the Center for Accelerated International Exchange and two researchers visited Gallaudet to discuss cooperative actions that could be mutually beneficial. Primary topics were forming an MOU on VE-COIL, accommodating Gallaudet students who are interested in studying at NTUT – and NTUT’s ability to host them – and the possibility of a Gallaudet faculty member bringing a group of students to NTUT for two to four weeks. 

Coordinators for further developments on the MOU are Dr. Yoko Kobayashi, faculty member for the Accelerated International Exchange Committee at NTUT, and Dr. Genie Gertz, ’92, a professor in Gallaudet’s Deaf Studies program. Dr. Franklin C. Torres, ’00 & G-’02, Gallaudet’s global learning faculty administrator, will coordinate the VE-COIL course development. 

“I am excited about this agreement because it continues and formalizes our tradition of collaboration between Gallaudet and NTUT, and brings a Gallaudet education to Deaf Japanese students,” said Dr. Rashid. “Gallaudet students will also be afforded the opportunity to study at NTUT in the future, enriching their education and further deepening ties between our two universities.”

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