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May 25, 2004 > Ohlone College Welcomes New Dean of Deaf Studies

Ohlone College Welcomes New Dean of Deaf Studies

Joseph McLaughlin will assume post July 1st

Recently, Ohlone College announced the appointment of Joseph McLaughlin to the position of Dean of Deaf Studies. Dean McLaughlin will assume his new post July 1, 2004, replacing Ron Burdett who is retiring after twenty years service to Ohlone. Joe McLaughlin is currently the Administrative Officer for the British Columbia School for the Deaf in Burnaby, B.C. and also holds a faculty appointment at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education.

The new Dean received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and a Master's degree in Education and Counseling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. He has been active with deaf youth organizations, serving as Chairman of Deaf Youth Canada and on the board of directors of Deaf Children's Society of British Columbia.

Tri-City Voice spoke with Dean McLaughlin about his new assignment.

TCV: Dean McLaughlin, welcome to the Tri-City Community. How did you become aware of Ohlone College and what attracted you to apply for the position of Dean of Deaf Studies?

McLaughlin: I found about it through the Deaf News. I noticed the advertisement for Dean of Deaf Studies and Special Services and was interested. I also have a deaf sister and a deaf brother who live in California so family brought me to this area as well. My sister lives in San Francisco and my brother lives in San Clemente.

TCV: What are your goals as Dean of Deaf Services at Ohlone?

McLaughlin: My goal is to help the Deaf Center grow and become very visible in the community. It should become a comfortable part of the community. I want deaf people to be comfortable in the community, and the community to be aware and comfortable with the deaf; to provide a good identity and self-esteem for a deaf person living in a hearing world. I want to be able to offer opportunities for deaf people.

TCV: Do you envision a strong relationship with California School for the Deaf?

McLaughlin: Yes, I certainly do. I know some of my colleagues there well. We graduated from Gallaudet University together so I know the superintendent and have a good relationship with that team. Also, DCARA (Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency) welcomed me and I look forward to working with them.

TCV: There was some activism on the part of some students at Ohlone to make sure that the dean position was filled by someone who is deaf.

McLaughlin: Yes, we really don't call it activism. It is almost like their dream. Someone who has grown up with the experience of being deaf has a cultural connection - it seems appropriate to the cultural group. I am using the term "dream," but it just makes sense.

TCV: Do you plan an outreach to the hearing community?

McLaughlin: Yes, in the school system- having outreach to the school system. My understanding is that some professionals are teaching American Sign Language in the schools and I hope to increase that and expand the bridge between the community and Ohlone College.

TCV: When will you arrive at Ohlone?

McLaughlin: July 1. Our school year, where I'm working now, ends June 30, so it will be a quick flight to Fremont and I'll be starting on July 1!

I want to support Ron Burdett's dream of the program and to make it stronger and more visible to the community at large. With my international experience, I have a great deal of familiarity with different cultural groups. The school I currently work in has 2,500 students of various cultural and language backgrounds, and I have personal experience in India, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. I think this will help me support the growth of the "dream" and support international students involved in the community. I look forward to working with all of the people at Ohlone College - staff and students.

 
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