Program Goals Statement
Deaf Studies explores the language, culture, history and contemporary issues of Deaf people. Fundamental to our program are both competency in American Sign Language and a desire to work with the Deaf community as allies (or advocate members). As such, all Deaf Studies concentrations share the same ASL and Deaf Studies core courses.This transfer program also includes specialized course work needed to prepare for future interpreter studies. Students in this concentration aspire to become professional American Sign Language/English Interpreters and thus, plan to transfer to a four-year institution that offers interpreter training.
• Bristol offers several Deaf Studies concentrations to meet your career and academic goals. The concentration options are: Transfer, Interpreter Transfer, Education, and Human Services. Students unsure of which option to choose should choose Deaf Studies: Transfer.
• Students who have taken non-credit “sign language classes” in the past, or, are heritage signers (Deaf/signing family) should meet with the program director to discuss Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) opportunities.
• Students who have taken 2 or more ASL classes in high school, with a B or better, should meet with the program director for placement.
• Although individual courses may be offered on different campuses in both day/evening formats, Deaf Studies courses are primarily offered on the Fall River campus as day enrollments. Some Deaf Studies courses may be offered completely on-line.
Standards & Expectations
• Students not earning a C or better in any ASL class, DST 101 or DST 110 Deaf Culture will not be able to complete an AA Deaf Studies program and should speak to the program director about options including retaking courses in the Prep Certificate.
• Students spend an additional hour per week engaged in language lab activities with every ASL class taken. Students are expected to attend various Deaf events and get involved with their program throughout their studies to apply their language skills and develop them further in real world, practical situations.
• A CORI may be required for service learning or ASL 285 placements.
• In order to meet program outcomes and transfer expectations, students need to be able to:
• earn grades of B or better in all ASL courses and maintain an overall GPA of 2.7 or higher.
• speak and articulate English proficiently*.
• As stated above, Deaf Studies majors are required to attend Deaf events each semester. Most are off campus and will require transportation. Some options will have a registration fee or ticket price and costs vary.
• Deaf Studies majors may incur copying costs (after the Bristol free allotment given per semester) associated with their Intro. to Deaf Studies course when creating their resource portfolio.
Career Pathway and Essential Functions
The Deaf Studies program welcomes all interested students to our courses and program but strives to be completely transparent with incoming students about the career pathways and essential functions required (or expected) at transfer institutions or in the workforce. The Interpreter Transfer concentration prepares students to transfer as juniors into a baccalaureate Interpreter Training/Preparation program students and for eventual entry level work as an educational or community interpreter. Strong American Sign Language and English proficiency required for successful transfer. Students wanting to become professional interpreters must transfer on, graduate, and pass a practical and theoretical national examination to become certified “qualified interpreters". Interpreter education is a highly specialized major that is not common across four year schools. The northeast region transfer opportunities include: Framingham State University, Northeastern University, University of New Hampshire-Manchester, University of So. Maine, Rochester Institute of Technology/NTID in New York.
Interpreters work in a variety of settings. Essential functions in those settings include certain cognitive, physical and sensory abilities which are necessary to perform the work of a professional interpreter.
cognitive abilities - ability to process visual and spoken language*; ability to hold information in working memory while simultaneously processing new visual or spoken language.
physical abilities - ability to accurately express and articulate American Sign Language (which includes fine and gross motor movement of: facial muscles, head, neck, and, both shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and ten fingers); ability to accurately express and articulate intelligible spoken English; ability to transport self to a variety of indoor and outdoor settings which may include standing or sitting for long periods of time.
sensory abilities - ability to access and comprehend visual and spoken language*
*spoken language access and processing are not an essential function for culturally Deaf, native ASL users who have a goal of becoming CDIs (certified Deaf interpreters).
If you are unsure about meeting these essential functions of employment, with or without accommodations, please contact the program director for a consult.
• Past graduates have transferred or been accepted to Northeastern University, University of New Hampshire-Manchester, Florida State University, NTID and University of Southern Maine for Interpreter Training. Most interpreter programs will require relocating.
• If you plan to transfer to a four-year degree program in interpreting, go to discoverinterpreting.com and RID.org.
Infused General Education Competencies