The American Sign Language and Interpreting Program (ASLIP) provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to pursue an interpreting career, as well as a foundation to begin preparing for interpreter certification.

American Sign Language interpreters are highly-trained professionals who are proficient in the dynamics of human interaction and have an understanding and appreciation of social and cultural differences so they can facilitate communication between people who use two different languages — English and American Sign Language. Interpreting is a complex process that requires a high degree of linguistic, cognitive, and technical skills in both English and American Sign Language.

The American Sign Language and Interpreting Program offers the following undergraduate programs:

As a major or minor in Deaf Studies, you will be taught American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. The program offers you sufficient knowledge, skills, and abilities to interact with, provide services for, and develop programs and activities to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population.

As a minor, Deaf Studies is an excellent supplement to your major and eventual career. Those working with the public, such as nurses, accountants, social workers, police officers, and many others, can improve their employment opportunities if they are able to communicate, interact, provide services for, and/or work with deaf and hard of hearing people.

American Sign Language Learning

You will learn American Sign Language and Deaf Culture from faculty members who are deaf and who are native users of American Sign Language.

As a student in the American Sign Language and Interpreting Program, you will have the opportunity to interact with many deaf and hard-of-hearing residents in Jacksonville, which is the home to the Illinois School for the Deaf and has a large deaf population.

In addition, you can participate in events and programs at the Illinois School for the Deaf, the Jacksonville Community Center for the Deaf, the Jacksonville Center for Independent Living, the Springfield Deaf Club, as well as various other local events and activities for the deaf, where you'll be able to learn and practice ASL.

Interpreting Learning

Not all interpreting situations can be duplicated realistically in the classroom. In the American Sign Language and Interpreting Program, you will have the opportunity to practice interpreting skills outside of the classroom by providing some interpreting services in the community under the program's supervision. These opportunities will help build confidence, improve your processing skills, and enhance your receptive and expressive skills.

Internships

The purpose of the internship experience is to obtain hands-on, practical experience in interpreting with certified and licensed interpreters as mentors. Such experience is an integral part of the American Sign Language and Interpreting Program, and it is intended to complement the curriculum by allowing you to apply what you have learned at MacMurray in actual interpreting assignments/situations.

A typical internship begins in the spring of your senior year and requires 300 hours of active interpretation. You are encouraged to do your internship in your hometown or wherever you intend to live after you graduate. This will allow you to develop contacts in the Deaf Community there and a client base for after graduation.

After Graduation

Sign language interpreting is a relatively new profession. It is one of the fastest growing professions, due to changes in laws requiring accessible communication, regulations on qualifications, and the increasing use of video services. There is a shortage of certified ASL interpreters in Illinois and throughout the country.

The American Sign Language and Interpreting Program follows the standards established by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education, the Illinois Interpreter for Deaf Licensure Act of 2007, and the NAD-RID Interpreter Certification. A degree in Interpreting readies students work as entry-level ASL interpreters as independent free-lancers or with a social services agency, in the schools and in a legal or governmental environment, to name just a few.

Learn more about American Sign Language and Interpreting Program courses and how to pursue a degree in American Sign Language and Interpreting through our academic catalog.

American Sign Language

MacMurray offers American Sign Language courses in support of its programs in Interpreting, Deaf Studies, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Education.

ASLA 100. American Sign Language I. (3) This course introduces the basics of American Sign Language (ASL) and is for students who have little or no previous knowledge of ASL. Vocabulary, fingerspelling, numbers, questions, commands, and basic sentence structures are introduced to develop rudimentary conversational skills both receptively and expressively in ASL. Culturally appropriate behaviors in a signing environment and basic ASL grammar will also be introduced. No prerequisite.

ASLA 102. Perspectives in Deafness: Deaf Culture. (3) This course is an introduction to various aspects of the American deaf culture as a linguistic and cultural minority group. Discussions will include historical evolution of deaf people as a whole, oppressions, education, sign language variances, pathological and cultural models, cultural practices, identity, membership and diversity within the deaf culture/community. Included will be in depth discussions of cultural differences, conflicts, oppressions, ideologies and power struggles between the larger culture group and deaf culture, people, and community as a minority. No prerequisite.

ASLA 116. Fingerspelling and Numbers. (3) This course is designed to help students develop expressive and receptive fingerspelling and numbering skills. Receptive skill techniques implemented will enable students to focus on whole word and phrase recognition as well as fingerspelling/number comprehension within signed texts. Expressive fingerspelling and numbering skill techniques focus on the development of accuracy, speed, clarity and fluency. Prerequisite: ASLA 100 with a grade of C or better.

ASLA 150. American Sign Language II. (3) This course is designed to continue development of American Sign Language (ASL) skills with a primary focus being on refining the expanding use of basic ASL sentence types and vocabulary building. Students will continue to work on improving expressive and receptive skills. Additional information about the ASL grammar and culturally appropriate features will be included in the context of language learning experiences. Prerequisite: ASLA 100 with a grade of C or better.

ASLA 200. American Sign Language III. (3) This course continues the development of American Sign Language by adding complex ASL sentence structures and vocabulary building. New ASL grammatical rules and features will be introduced while others reinforced and refined. Students will work on developing communication competencies in signing short stories, narratives and dialogues. Culturally appropriate behaviors in the signing environment will be reinforced. Prerequisite: ASLA 150 with a grade of C or better.

ASLA 202. Deaf Community Field Experience. (3) This course will focus on the development of physical, social, educational, cultural, and legal issues within the Deaf Community implicated by the individual's deafness or hearing loss. Emphasis will be placed on the context of the individual's personal life, family, and community in today's multicultural world. Discussion will introduce the variety of current educational and vocational programs available today, as well as legislation, technology, and other issues that impact individuals with a variety of hearing loss. Prerequisite: ASLA 150 with a grade of C or better.

ASLA 215. Visual/Gestural Communication. (3) Students will be studying gestures as a form of communication and a basis for visual language. Students will develop capabilities in non-verbal communication and visual gestural communication by the use and understanding of facial expressions, gestures, pantomime and body language. Students will be learning to think in pictures and building on the production and comprehension of more complex communication skills. Prerequisite: ASLA 200 with a grade of B or better.

ASLA 250. American Sign Language IV. (3) This course is a continuation of American Sign Language III by expanding more complex ASL sentence structures, and vocabulary building. Variety of ASL grammatical rules and features will be utilized and refined. Students will refine their communication competencies in telling short stories, narratives and dialogues. Culturally appropriate behaviors in the signing environment will be emphasized. During the course, students will take the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) exam. Prerequisite: ASLA 200 with a grade of B or better.

ASLA 300. American Sign Language V. (3) This course is designed as the last course in the ASL series that continues to develop, improve and refine students' receptive and expressive proficiency in ASL while expanding sign production and comprehension skills in ASL with specific emphasis in drugs, sexual, health, rehabilitation, employment, and religion vocabularies as well as on common slang and idioms used in the deaf community. The vocabulary building specific to those areas will help students deal with complex related concepts and vocabularies unique to certain settings and enable students to engage in meaningful conversations in variety of settings. Prerequisite: American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) Level 1 or better and ASLA 250 with a grade of B or better.

ASLA 316. Linguistics and Structure of American Sign Language. (3) This course introduces students to the linguistics of American Sign Language, including phonology, morphology, syntax and language. Structural aspects of both American Sign Language and English are compared and contrasted. Emphasis will be on the equivalency between American Sign Language and contrasted. Prerequisite: ASLA 300 with a grade of B or better.

ASLA 475. Internship. (15) This course provides students with the field opportunity to observe and participate in deafness related institutions, agencies and programs under the supervision. The internship will allow students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to work with deaf clients. The internship consists of a minimum of 300 hours and the completion of the portfolio at the end of the internship. Prerequisite: ASLA 300 with a grade of B or better.

ASLA 480. Internship. (15) This course provides students with the field opportunity to observe and participate in deafness related institutions, agencies and programs under the supervision. The internship will allow students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to work with deaf clients. The internship consists of a minimum of 300 hours and the completion of the portfolio at the end of the internship. Prerequisite: ASLA 300 with a grade of B or better.

Interpreter Preparation Program

IPPR 101. Introduction to Interpreting. (3) This course provides an introduction to interpreting as an occupation with a focus on the role, function and responsibilities of an interpreter. Topics include the history and evolution of the interpreting profession, terminology used in the profession, communication systems, various interpreting models, cross-cultural mediation, employment options, pertinent laws and regulations regarding interpreting, professional ethics, and interpreter certification systems. In addition, students will begin basic processing skill-development through text analysis activities pertaining to visualization, memory, chunking/organizing information, paraphrasing and summarization, clozer skills, self-monitoring and processing time. Pre-requisite: ASLA 100 with a grade of C or better.

IPPR 208. Practical and Ethical Applications of Interpreting. (3) This course focuses on the professional and ethical development of the interpreter which will challenge student's values and morals when it comes to interpreting. Students will learn how the profession's principles and ethical behaviors were developed. There will be in-depth discussions of the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct; EIPA Guidelines for Professional Conduct and its application to the various situations and settings; various models for decision-making, problem-solving strategies, assignments, assessment, and environmental management; and preparation for assignments. Various interpreting scenarios presenting ethical dilemmas will be explored. Prerequisite: IPPR 102 and ASLA 150 with a grade of C or better.

IPPR 210. Interpreting I. (3) This course introduces students to interpreting principles. Students will continue to develop interpreting skills between American Sign Language and English. This course focus on sight translation and consecutive interpreting. Students will develop the ability to produce an equivalent message from the source language into the target language, interpreting between English to ASL or ASL to English. Students will do in-class drills and activities of rehearsed and spontaneous texts and videos. The texts and videos will increase in length and complexity. At the end of the course, the student must successfully perform consecutive ASL to English and English to ASL for approximately five (5) minutes each. Prerequisites: IPPR 102 and ASLA 150 with a grade of C or better.

IPPR 212. Interpreting II. (3) This course introduces students to real-time simultaneous interpreting. Students will practice simultaneous English to ASL and ASL to English interpreting situations through rehearsed and spontaneous materials which will increase in length and complexity. Students will develop instant real time skills in critical listening, analyzing the information, constructing the interpretation, and generating the equivalent interpretation within the appropriate lag time for an effective interaction between two or more individuals. At the end of the course, the student must successfully perform simultaneous ASL to English and English to ASL for approximately eight (8) minutes each. Prerequisite: IPPR 210 and ASLA 200 with a grade of B or better.

IPPR 302. Interpreting III. (3) This course is designed introduce students to interactive interpreting skills that are frequently used in the profession. Students will focus on interactive ASL to English and English to ASL skills. Students will do message analysis of the source language and equivalent message in the target language through rehearsed and spontaneous materials which will increase in length and complexity. The emphasis will be on the fluency, clarity, speed/pace, word choices, and message equivalents in the interpreting process. At the end of the course, the student must successfully perform interactive ASL to English and English to ASL for approximately twelve (12) minutes each. Prerequisite: American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) Level 1 or better, IPPR 212 and ASLA 250 with a grade of B or better.

IPPR 305. Practical Skill Enhancement for Interpreters. (3) A supervised individual or small group activities designed to fine-tune, improve and/or enhance students ASL and interpreting skills. Students whose individual performance indicates the need for improvement will be addressed. Individualized attention, skills development activities and constructive critiques will be provided to develop or enhance specific skills that are necessary in the interpreting profession. The Demand-Control Schema of interpreting will be discussed. Prerequisite: IPPR 212 and ASLA 250 with a grade of B or better.

IPPR 310. Interpreting IV. (3) This course provides the continued development of interpreting skills. The students will continue to improve on ASL to English and English to ASL interpreting skills. Student will do message analysis of the source language and equivalent message in the target language through rehearsed and spontaneous materials which will increase in length and complexity. The emphasis will be on the fluency, clarity, speed/pace, word choices, and message equivalents in the interpreting process. At the end of the course, the student must successfully perform interactive ASL to English and English to ASL for approximately fifteen (15) minutes each. Prerequisite: IPPR 302 and ASLA 300 with a grade of B or better.

IPPR 316. Educational Interpreting and Certification Preparation. (3) This course introduces students to transliterating skills. Students will practice transliterating from rehearsed and spontaneous texts and video materials which will increase in length and complexity. The emphasis will be on the fluency, clarity, speed/pace, word choices, and message equivalents in the transliterating process. In addition, the role, responsibilities, skills, certification and ethics of educational interpreters in elementary, secondary and postsecondary settings will be discussed along with various communication modalities. This course will familiarize students with various written and performance interpreter certification exams both currently available on both a local and national level. During the course, students will be required to take the written portion of a local or national interpreter certification exam of their choice. Prerequisites: IPPR 302 and ASLA 300 with a grade of B or better.

IPPR 399. Topics in Interpreting. (3) Focuses on specialized interpreting situations such as medical, legal, education, theatrical, and deaf-blind, addressing linguistic and ethical concerns for each of the specialty areas. It will reinforce sign language skills and interpreting principles while looking at the interpreter's role and responsibility in each setting. Specialty areas vary depending on material and topics most recently studied. Prerequisite: IPPR 302 with a grade of B or better.

IPPR 410. Interpreting V. (3) This course introduces students to in-depth insight and knowledge into a variety of settings: religious, rehabilitation, employment, video relay service/video remote interpreting, and performing arts that require certain skills and techniques. Students will discuss frozen texts interpreting as well as terminology used in those settings. This includes exposure to specialized communication and cultural diversity when interpreting for specific populations such as deaf-blind/low vision, gender, ethnicity, and individuals with minimal language skills. In addition, there will be discussions on several certain advanced specialized interpreting settings that may require further training, knowledge, experience, certifications, and/or skills. At the end of the course, the student must successfully perform interactive ASL to English and English to ASL interpretations for approximately twenty (20) minutes each. Prerequisite: IPPR 310 and with a grade of B or better.

IPPR 475. Internship. (15) This course provides students with the opportunity to be guided and supervised on the field under the immediate supervision of a certified and/or licensed professional interpreter who functions as the student's mentor and the internship supervisor. The practicum consists of a minimum of 300 hours and will allow students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills as an interpreter. Student will be involved in activities such as observing the mentor and other interpreters at work, preparing for an assignment, interpreting under the supervision of the mentor, and meeting frequently with the mentor to discuss the practicum experience. The goal is to increase students' responsibility as interpreters in a variety of settings and situations. Additionally, students will do job-related assignments as assigned by the internship supervisor. Students are expected to work on and complete the portfolio at the end of internship. Prerequisite: Pass the written portion of an interpreter certification exam and IPPR 410 with a grade of B or better.

Photo of Jerry Covell

Jerry Covell

Director of the Interpreter Training Program/American Sign Language

"I enjoy sharing my culture and language to students who will work with deaf people."

  • Areas of interest: Covell is interested in studying and researching Deaf History, Deaf Culture, Advocacy, Political Activisms, and Interpreting Ethics.
  • M.A. in Government and Political Science — University of Maryland, College Park
  • B.S. in American Government — Gallaudet University
  • Courses taught: American Sign Language I, American Sign Language II, Perspectives in Deafness: Deaf Culture, Practical and Ethical Applications of Interpreting
Photo of Susan Hall

Susan Hall

Assistant Professor of Interpreting

"I love being a part of the Mac Fam because it is just that...a family. I feel like the investment I make, pouring into the lives of these young pre-professionals, is worth every moment of the time we spend together. In that way, it feels like we are all part of a 'family away from family' here at Mac. I hope that my love for the deaf community and passion for interpreting with integrity will somehow inspire the next generation of interpreters to accomplish things they never thought possible."

  • Areas of interest: Hall is passionate for her community and being a part of it. She has been interpreting and working in the Deaf community for over 25 years and still finds joy in what she does. She also finds it essential to bring life experiences to the classroom in order to provide her students with a current and relevant interpreting education.
  • M.Ed. in Interpreter Education — Tennessee Temple University
  • B.S. in Sign Language Interpreting — Tennessee Temple University
  • A.A. in Sign Language Interpreting — Tennessee Temple University
  • Courses taught: Introduction to Interpreting, Pre-Interpreting, Interpreting I – Interpreting V, Etymology and Translation Applications of English, American Sign Language II, American Sign Language III, Educational Interpreting, Religious Interpreting, ASL to English Interpreting, English to ASL Interpreting
Photo of Bill Stricklen

Bill Stricklen

Assistant Professor of American Sign Language

"I have a passion for teaching about beliefs, behaviors, art, values, etc. that are influenced by the core of deafness using American Sign Language as the main means of communication. I enjoy investing in students and seeing them grow in their abilities and knowledge of this culture."

  • Areas of interest: Stricklen sees ASL as the most powerful and beautiful visual language. His experience with a variety of sign language interpreters, ranging from educational interpreters to corporate interpreters, has largely impacted why he wants to pass on his knowledge to those students studying to become the best interpreters they can be.
  • M.A. in Counseling — Denver University
  • B.S. in Physical Education — Gardner Webb University
  • Courses taught: American Sign Language I, American Sign Language II, American Sign Language III, American Sign Language IV, American Sign Language V, Visual/Gestural Communication, Fingerspelling and Numbers, Linguistics and Structure of American Sign Language, Introduction to the Deaf Community