The mission of the Deaf Studies Program at MacMurray College is to increase the understanding, respect and equality of Deaf people and their diverse communities. The program does this by training and providing students opportunities to acquire American Sign Language, and to better understand the American Deaf Culture and its communities in order to be linguistically, culturally and ethically proficient and knowledgeable in their respective areas of study.
With a major, minor or associate's degree in Deaf Studies, students will be prepared to become entry level sign language interpreters or Deaf Community Service professionals. The program also prepares students with American Sign Language and Deaf Culture courses in order to help strengthen the communication skills of students in other majors who want to work with and interact with Deaf individuals.
The Deaf Studies Program offers the following undergraduate degrees:
- Bachelor's degree in Sign Language Interpreting
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. 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.
- Bachelor's degree in Deaf Community Services
Those who work in Deaf Community Services are professionals who are trained in American Sign Language, deaf culture, ethics, cross-cultural advocacy, special education, social work and psychology in order to interact, work with and/or provide direct services and develop programs and activities to deaf and hard of hearing individuals in various capacities.
- Associate's degree in American Sign Language
- Minor in American Sign Language
As an associate's or minor in American Sign Language, one will be taught American Sign Language and Deaf Culture in order to communicate and interact with the deaf and hard of hearing population. American Sign Language is an excellent supplement to any 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.
What makes our program different from others?
- Our rigorous curriculum is developed and organized in accordance with the standards established by the American Sign Language Teachers Association, Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education, the Illinois Interpreter for the Deaf Licensure Act of 2007 and NAD-RID Interpreter Certification. In addition, the benchmarks and activities students must achieve before graduating which ensures that the students have the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to become certified and licensed interpreters.
- Our courses are taught by Deaf professors with 30 years of combined experience in higher education. We also have a certified licensed interpreting professor with 25 years of experience as well as certified/licensed interpreting tutors.
- MacMurray College is located less than two miles from the Illinois School for the Deaf which allows for the opportunity to live, work, intern or volunteer at the school. There are also numerous deaf and interpreting organizations within and outside of Jacksonville where one can participate in the community and attend workshops/trainings. Also, because of ISD, Jacksonville has a lively deaf community and culture with a large number of deaf and hard of hearing residents.
Program Learning Outcomes
Our goal is to produce highly qualified, culturally competent and proficient students by instilling integrity, professionalism, adept signing/interpreting skills and ethics. To meet this goal, the Deaf Studies and ASL/Interpreting Program formulated the following program learning outcomes:
- Language & Communication: Students will acquire language proficiency in American Sign Language and in spoken and written English. They will also become aware of various communication modes and contact language varieties used by diverse Deaf people.
- Culture & Diversity: Students will demonstrate appropriate knowledge of Deaf culture that includes history, norms, values and beliefs of Deaf people; differing viewpoints and legal issues regarding deafness and the diverse multicultural populations within the Deaf community.
- Interpreting & Transliterating Skills: Students will apply different methods and modes of entry level interpreting and transliterating skills from the source language into an equivalent message of the target language. They will do so without altering the message's meaning by applying appropriate register and culture in a variety of settings and subject matters while communicating with a diverse group of consumers.
- Ethical & Professional Behavior: Students shall be equipped to address varying ethical issues in their profession by demonstrating their knowledge and applying the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct, EIPA Guidelines for Professional Conduct and Illinois rules on professional behaviors.
- Experiential Learning: Students shall demonstrate the minimum requirements for entry into the interpreting profession through experiential learning.
Almost every course in the Deaf Studies Program has "field experience" hours as part of the course that will allow you to observe, participate and interact with the Deaf community. It will also provide you with the foundation necessary for entry into a professional career or graduate study, and you will encounter a significant amount of hands-on experiences in and outside of the classroom.
Internships are a crucial part of the MacMurray education in order to obtain hands-on, practical experience in your chosen major. Such experience is an integral part of the Deaf Studies Program, and it is intended to complement the curriculum by allowing you to apply what you have learned at MacMurray in real-world professional experiences. You will be prepared to make real differences in deaf and hard of hearing peopleâ€™s lives and overcome communication barriers and accessibility issues in actual work environments.
Learn more about Deaf Studies courses and how to pursue a degree in Deaf Studies through our academic catalog.
American Sign Language
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 125. American Sign Language Lab I. (1) This lab is for transfer students or students who have taken ASL I elsewhere for credits. The lab focuses on the fundamental elements of American Sign Language within a cultural context. Emphasis is placed on the development of basic expressive and receptive skills. It is designed to fine-tune, improve and/or enhance students ASL skills. Individualized attention, skills development activities and constructive criticism will be provided to develop or enhance ASL skills. No prerequisite.
ASLA 150. American Sign Language II. (3) This course is designed to continue development of American Sign Language (ASL) skills with a primary focus 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 175. ASL Lab II. (1) This lab is for transfer students or students who have taken ASL II elsewhere for credits. The lab focuses on the fundamental elements of American Sign Language within a cultural context. Emphasis is placed on the progressive development of expressive and receptive skills. It is designed to fine-tune, improve and/or enhance students ASL skills. Individualized attention, skills development activities and constructive criticism will be provided to develop or enhance ASL skills. No prerequisite.
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 225. ASL Lab III. (1) This lab is for transfer students or students who have taken ASL III elsewhere for credits. The lab focuses on the fundamental elements of American Sign Language within a cultural context. Emphasis is placed on the progressive development of expressive and receptive skills. It is designed to fine-tune, improve and/or enhance students ASL skills. Individualized attention, skills development activities and constructive criticism will be provided to develop or enhance ASL skills.
ASLA 250. American Sign Language IV. (3) This course is a continuation of American Sign Language III by expanding on more complex ASL sentence structures and vocabulary building. A 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 religious 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 concepts and vocabularies unique to certain settings and enable students to engage in meaningful conversations in a 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 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. Prerequisite: ASLA 300 with a grade of B or better.
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, closer 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 students' 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 focuses 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, each 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, students 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 to 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, students 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, skill 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. Students will do message analysis of the source language and equivalent messages 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, students 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) This course 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, students 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 internship consists of a minimum of 300 hours and will allow students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills as an interpreter. Students 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 each students' responsibility as an interpreter 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 the internship. Prerequisite: Pass the written portion of an interpreter certification exam and IPPR 410 with a grade of B or better.
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
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
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
Filippa Alfano '20
Deaf Studies: Sign Language Interpreting Major
"MacMurray has provided me with various opportunities, including enhancing my interpreting skills, working in the Deaf community, and becoming the best person I can be. This internship has been an incredible opportunity because students can get an idea of the various environments interpreters can choose to work in, observe different signing styles, and gain the ability to overcome difficult circumstances. This internship has challenged me every day to use parts of every class that I have been enrolled in at MacMurray College, whether it has been American Sign Language I, ethics, or Introduction to Interpreting, the real world has created scenarios that have allowed me to showcase and improve my skills."
Chazz Middlebrook '18
Deaf Studies: Sign Language Interpreting Major
"My internship had me shadowing my mentor who interprets in places like hospitals or at parent-teacher conferences, and he also has a contract with the Illinois School for the Deaf. I was a little bit skeptical about what I wanted to do when I first got into my internship. But once I started to experience all the different situations that I've experienced, that really pushed me toward wanting to pursue a career in sign language interpreting because I have a passion for it and I love it so much. It's something that I can really picture myself doing for the rest of my life."
Megan Luckey '15
Sign Language Interpreting Major
"My experience at MacMurray was enhanced by having two Deaf professors and a Master Level interpreting professor. It was an honor to learn the language, culture, and customs from native users who truly care about students as individuals. I was taught so much more than words and phrases — I was taught how to be a respectable member of a very amazing Deaf community. I owe it all to the professors in the Interpreting (Deaf Studies) department."