ASL/English Interpreting Graduate Student Handbook
Dear Graduate Students,
Congratulations on your admission to the University of North Florida’s ASL/English Interpreting Program! We are delighted for you to join us and we hope the program offers the theoretical foundation and skill development you seek in your interpreting career. Allow me to give you a brief history of UNF’s Interpreting programs.
In 2007, an undergraduate degree was implemented for students who graduated from two-year interpreting programs and who wished to continue their studies toward the bachelor’s degree. This program was designed specifically to meet the need for interpreters to have the degree prior to the RID certification evaluation requirement in 2012. UNF has an official Articulation Agreement with Florida State College at Jacksonville whereby students may achieve a smooth transition from their interpreting associate’s degree into the BS at UNF. Our curricula and methodology are aligned and we work very closely with each other to achieve this seamless transfer. UNF also accepts other two-year interpreting graduates on a case-by-case basis and admits students to this onsite program only in the fall semesters.
The same year we started the BS degree, we received requests for a master’s degree that was accessible for students at a distance. In response to the demand, we developed a Program of Study that would meet the needs of advanced interpreters and could be started as immediately as possible. For this purpose, we elected to add the ASL/English Interpreting concentration under a Special Education degree on a trial basis and UNF’s Board of Trustees approved it in 2009. We started with five dedicated students, and in this short time we grew to 38 in Fall 2010, when we graduated our first four students. This growth is attributed in part to the fact that students within the 16-state southeast region are now eligible to attend the program for in-state tuition (although Virginia has opted not to participate in the Academic Common Market program). In 2011, five students graduated and we added 14 students with representation from 11 states.
This growth is a true indication of the need for such a program and we will soon be forwarding a proposal to make the concentration a stand-alone degree option that will eventually have concentrations under it, including interpreter education pedagogy, Deaf Interpreter training, and legal interpreting. This will not affect your Program of Study, but if approved by the UNF Board of Trustees during your tenure in the program, course names may change and your diploma will read differently. Also coming soon is a partnership with the VRS Interpreting Institute (Sorenson) and UNF to offer a collaborative program of study in Interpreting Pedagogy (beginning summer, 2012).
Not only are we growing in terms of the student body, we are also growing in faculty. This development comes at a time of economic hardship within the state’s university system, the state, and the country as a whole, and we are fortunate to have such support from the administration for the graduate program. In January 2011, Dr. Janice Humphrey, joined our faculty and in Fall 2011, Ms. LeWana Clark was brought on board as a Visiting Instructor for the 2011-2012 academic year.
The distance delivery model used by the program requires some onsite mandatory components. A maximum of once a semester, usually in the skills-based courses, you will spend a few days in Jacksonville to supplement your online coursework (one weekend during spring and fall semesters, 4 days in summer). This allows you to develop working relationships with other students and faculty while honing your skills in an intensive learning environment. Keep in mind that UNF is an RID Supersite, so if you would like to arrange testing while you are in town, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. UNF students are given top priority when it comes to scheduling an RID test.
Finally, I would like to affirm that the ASL/Interpreting programs at UNF abide by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education standards. Our program goal is to undergo the self-study review for CCIE accreditation after we have several graduating classes. We also try to make the courses research-based and introduce the latest developments in spoken as well as signed language interpreting research from the international perspective. The Interpreting program has an official agreement with Lessius University College in Antwerp, Belgium to continue its joint research on the topic of interpreting student aptitude and admissions testing. We encourage graduate students to get involved in research, proposal development, and presentation of their studies and to take advantage of international opportunities as they arise. In Spring 2010, five graduate students presented their Service-Learning projects at the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (Athens, GA), and one student presented her completed research project at Mid-South Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (Mobile, AL) in November 2010. In 2009, seven UNF students studied in Slovenia and Austria’s translation libraries and attended a private session hosted by the lead interpreter at the UN in Vienna as part of their Applied Research in Interpreting course. Each student who participates in these study abroad opportunities is awarded $1,500 from the university to cover costs. In Summer 2011, nine students participated, and eight students participated in this “transformational learning opportunity” Spring Break, 2012. We also have been funded for Spring Break, 2013. These are just a few of the very exciting developments at the University of North Florida!
I am honored to serve as Program Director of these vibrant and growing programs and I hope you will contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions as you work your way through the coursework. As we always say,
UNF…no place like this, no one like you!
Dr. Sherry Shaw
Faculty Contact Information
The ASL/English Interpreting department is located in Building 57/Suite 3500.
In an online program, it is preferable to email rather than to phone faculty members to make immediate initial contact. Students are responsible for checking UNF email on a regular basis. This is how the university, Canvas course lists, and your professors stay in contact with you. On occasion, a faculty member may provide students with a cell phone contact number. It is important to keep all personal information up-to-date within MyWings. Students may always schedule an ooVoo or phone appointment with their faculty members.