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UNF receives significant DOE grant to prepare ASL/English interpreters for K-12 schools

Student and interpreter speaking in sign language in a classroomThe University of North Florida’s ASL/English Interpreting Program in the College of Education and Human Services has been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to increase the number of highly qualified, academically prepared ASL/English interpreters ready to work in the K-12 educational setting. 

The five-year project, led by ASL/English interpreting faculty Drs. Len Roberson and Sherry Shaw, will aim to fill the dire shortage of interpreters in K-12 settings by recruiting, retaining and graduating 40 undergraduate and 20 graduate scholars who will be qualified for work as educational interpreters.

Achievement of UNF’s project will result in a steady stream of entry-level interpreters who are well-prepared by a nationally accredited interpreter education program to work in K-12 settings. 

UNF offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in ASL/English Interpreting. The ASL/English Interpreting program will expand to include an undergraduate concentration in Educational Interpreting (EIC) to add to its existing community interpreting concentration. A new graduate EIC will also be added to the existing two graduate concentrations.

UNF’s interpreting program is the only bachelor-level degree program in Florida that is nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education. The program is operated by five nationally certified interpreters and Deaf faculty members with more than 70 years of combined experience preparing interpreters in higher education, all of whom are trained in online instruction and technological modes of program delivery.

All American Sign Language (ASL) courses at UNF are taught by Deaf native users of the language, and UNF is poised to address the shortages of qualified interpreters in K-12 schools throughout the nation. 

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