Dubuque - Language Justice and Translating the Public Health Issues of Extreme Weather

Like many communities in the midwest, Dubuque has many people whose first language is not English. Local government has an obligation to ensure these residents are included in all aspects of civic life. This includes having information that enables them to participate in city activities, ranging from library programs and recycling, to elections and parks. They also need to be able to receive important information about health and safety, such as immunization programs and extreme weather notices.

Students in the inaugural semester-long course “Language Justice: Community Engagement” will spend time in Dubuque learning about the language needs of the city’s immigrant populations. They will ascertain the languages represented in the City. Looking to other comparable communities, they'll locate best practices for language justice. Finally, they'll suggest ways to disseminate content to Dubuque’s populations, e.g., video, text.

Partners for the student team include the City’s Health Services Department and the Office of Sustainability, who share, respectively public health and weather-related information. The students will also work with citizens to identify what civic information they would like translated. Deliverables include translated documents, a report of residents' languages and language needs, dissemination recommendations, and a list of best practices from other communities.

tornado warning information in Spanish with drawing of a basement
Academic year