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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

In light of Campus closure regarding COVID-19, employees in the college of Education and Behavioral Sciences are working remotely and faculty are teaching classes virtually in an effort to best support our campus community. We ask for your patience as some services may be limited and response time may increase. We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize health and safety. Updates will be published to UNC's COVID-19 information page as the situation develops.


November 2020 - Dr. Barbara Garrett and Emily Girardin published an article in the Journal of Interpretation:

Garrett, B. D. & Girardin, E. G. (November 2020). Embracing the next generation of interpreters: A call to action for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Journal of Interpretation, 28(2).

The founding members of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) felt strongly about recruiting, training, and confirming the competence of interpreters. As a result, for over 50 years RID has been the national leader for the profession of ASL-English interpreting. At the same time, the next generation of American Sign Language (ASL)-English interpreters continue to face challenges pertaining to pre-service education, practicum experiences, and professional support after graduation as they enter the field. This article describes these challenges and offers suggested recommendations toward proactive organizational investment in this next generation of interpreters that will improve the quality of services provided to stakeholders and empower a stronger network of new professionals connected to and engaged in the preservation and furtherance of RID’s vital legacy.


November 2020 - Dr. Amy Williamson graduated with her doctorate from Gallaudet University. Her dissertation is entitled: Deaf Students' Experience of Engagement in a Mediated Education: It Is What It Is. 

Williamson, A. C. (2020). Deaf students’ experience of engagement in a mediated education: It is what it is. (Publication number: 28257482). [Doctoral dissertation, Gallaudet University] ProQuest. 

The purpose of this comparative case study (Bartlett & Vavrus, 2017) was to gain insights into and greater understanding of the perceived impacts of the policy and practice of educational interpreters on the school engagement experiences of American deaf signing youth. This study examined educational policy as practice from multiple levels of analysis; vertical, horizontal, and transversal, by tracing the line of inquiry in these guiding questions. At the macro-level: What is the state level policy discourse informing the practice of educational interpreting; including qualifications, hiring practices, supervision of the interpreter? At the meso-level: How do the local education agencies appropriate the provision of educational interpreters, including educational team decisions related to the individualized educational program? At the micro-level: How do deaf signing youth and their parents experience educational engagement in mediated educational settings? 

A multimethod approach to data gathering lead to a review of archives, inventory of documents, public records, observations, and interviews to trace the actor networks across scales from macro to micro. Educational interpreters in the study setting are required to meet minimum performance standards but are not included in the student’s Individualized Education Program as policy requires. Through interviews and observations of three deaf of deaf high school students who experience both direct and mediated instruction, the perceptions of school engagement were examined. Deaf student participants in this study exhibit a resigned, fatalistic, ‘it is, what it is’ perspective on the educational interpreting services they receive in their mainstream classes; however, choose to remain in the setting in order to be exposed to the hearing world. Findings indicate that the policy and practice of educational interpreters does not support the full educational engagement of signing deaf students in mediated classrooms. 

December 2018 - Dr. Keith Gamache, Jr. graduated with his doctorate from Gallaudet University. His dissertation is entitled Investigating the Impact of ASL Proficiency Levels on ASL-English Interpretation. 

Gamache, K. E. Jr. (2018). Investigating the impact of ASL proficiency levels on ASL-English interpretation. (Publication number: 11012623). [Doctoral dissertation, Gallaudet University] ProQuest.

The purpose of this study was to investigate how select language features in signers, with varying American Sign Language (ASL) proficiency levels, may impact novice ASL-English interpreters' interpreted work. Interpreter education programs have long sought what constitutes effective interpreting practices; including but not limited to the challenges of the Deaf community's shifting demographics. Due to language contact between English and ASL, signers typically demonstrate varying proficiency levels in ASL. In my study I examined preselected video recordings of individuals who had previously taken the ASL Proficiency Interview (ASLPI), and created stimulus video material from those recordings. In particular, I examined two language features: depiction and fingerspelling. I studied the correlation between the linguistic features and the impact of each on the interpreted work. ELAN (an annotating software program) was used in assessing ASL source texts for the language features. Novice interpreters' interpreted work of stimulus video material was recorded, transcribed and analyzed. The analysis used both propositional accuracy and subjective quality measures. Stimulus video material and interpreted work were then compared to find emerging patterns. Findings showed that ASLPI Level 4 signers produced the most language features, while ASLPI Level 5 signers produced the most fingerspelled words. Interpreters performed better with ASLPI Level 3 and Level 4 stimulus materials as compared to Level 5. Overall, interpreters struggled with complex signed phrases that included more language features. Fingerspelled words in stimulus video materials impacted most of the interpreted work products.


 June 2018- This summer, Dr. Barbara Garrett and Emily Girardin published a quantitative research study.

Garrett, B. D. & Girardin, E. G. (June 2019). American Sign Language competency: Comparing student readiness for entry into a four-year interpreter degree program. International Journal of Interpreter Education, 11 (1). https://www.cit-asl.org/new/american-sign-language-competency/

This study focused on the American Sign Language (ASL) expressive competence of applicants to a four-year ASL English interpretation major through a pre-program screening of 250 applicants over eight years. Applicants’ ASL expressive competence was compared between those who had completed a two-year interpreting degree to those who had completed four semesters of ASL study. Data showed that applicants from two-year interpreting programs and applicants who have taken four semesters of ASL possessed similar expressive ASL competence. This study further examined if applicants with a two-year degree in interpreting were able to transfer into a four-year interpreting program with year three language skills. This study provided quantifiable evidence for addressing inefficiencies in interpreter education that negatively impacts both the student interpreters, and the quality of services provided to stakeholders.

 2018-If you are concerned about the quality of educational interpreting services provided for school-age students who are deaf and hard of hearing, then you are likely aware of the chaos that exists around these services in public schools across the United States. For you, this book is a must read.

The University of Northern Colorado Department of ASL & Interpreting Studies conducted a five-year Patterns of Practice Investigation into educational interpreting practices in the United States. This multi-faceted, systematic study reports findings from. Complexities in Educational Interpreting: An investigation into Patterns of Practice by Dr. Leilani Johnson, Dr. Marty Taylor, Dr. Brenda Schick, Susan Brown and Dr. Laurie Bolster.