Department Planning Portfolio Assessment/Program Review American Sign Language Certificate (sac.sign.ca) I. Goals and Objectives “The mission of Santa Ana College is to be a leader and partner in meeting the intellectual, cultural, technological, workforce and economic development needs of our diverse community. Santa Ana College prepares students for transfer, employment, careers and lifelong intellectual pursuit in a dynamic learning environment.” The American Sign Language (ASL) certificate (sac.sign.ca) is a unique program where students may begin their employment preparation for becoming a sign language interpreter and transfer to a full interpreter training program (ITP) or enhance their employment opportunities by becoming proficient in a foreign language. The program, while being offered at SAC for many years, has undergone major restructuring and goal setting process to establish contemporary goals that reflect the current status of recognition of ASL as a foreign language and the current professional status of sign language interpreting. Santa Ana College’s Strategic Plan 2007-2015 has goals to increase student success in transfer/employment and excellence in teaching and learning. The ASL certificate aligns under these two goals by increasing the transferability of the sign courses to CSU campuses, increasing the number of courses eligible in the Liberal Studies Degree (SAC 0314), IGETC and general education listings. In addition, excellence in teaching and learning is being fostered by focusing on SLOs and collaborative development of a list/bank of activities that can be offered to address SLOs in each course. Progress on Goals for the ASL Certificate program from 2008: 1. The Sign Language Education Certificate will be amended to become the American Sign Language certificate through the development of new course outlines and student learning outcomes generating a change of focus to an interpreter readiness program to be effective fall 2008 (curriculum, catalog, schedules, brochures, etc will be updated). a. This goal was completed and the new certificate American Sign Language certificate (sac.sign.ca) was implemented beginning fall 2008. b. The courses were renamed to be in alignment with ASL and removed from Specialized Services curriculum. c. One course teaching Signing Exact English was deleted. d. A new course was written and added to the certificate, SIGN 114: Fingerspelling, Numbering and Classifiers. e. All of the same was completed at SCC by SAC Department Chair in conjunction with SCC curriculum representative and DSPS Coordinator. 2. A full time faculty should be hired to assume the coordination of the ASL certificate program that is currently housed under the DSPS – DHHP&S program and coordinated by the DHHP&S Coordinator. The program is offered at both SAC and SCC and is growing on both campuses. a. A faculty hiring request has been made every year since 2008 for a full time faculty to take over the ASL curriculum. At the 2011 Faculty Priority committee meeting, the ASL faculty position ranked third in the overall priorities of faculty at SAC. 3. A professional development program will be created via course outlines under the ASL certificate that address the ongoing need to develop professional interpreting skills in the current sign language interpreting staff. This program will have a direct effect on student success through increasing skill in the interpreting pool. a. It was determined that this goal did not relate directly to the ASL Department and certificate goals and was addressed through the DSPS DHH Program Planning Portfolio process. 4. Continue participation in the Portfolio Assessment/Program Review four year cycle begun in spring 2008. a. This report is a continuation of the ongoing program assessment and review process at SAC. 5. Consider adoption of the newly revised Signing Naturally (Dawn Sign Press) curriculum guides and student textbooks. a. The authors’ revisions are not at a stage that will allow adoption at this time. This remains a goal when the texts for both SIGN 110 and SIGN 111 can be adopted at the same time.
Proposed Goals for the ASL Certificate program from 2012-2016 PA/PR Cycle: 1. Prepare a resolution to go to the SAC Academic Senate that will garner curriculum support for the ASL Department by moving the curriculum out of Student Services and into an Academic Affairs division. 2. A full time faculty should be hired to assume the coordination of the ASL certificate program that is currently housed under the DSPS – DHHP program and coordinated by the DHHP Faculty Coordinator. 3. Enhance the current curriculum: a. Consider adoption of the newly revised Signing Naturally (Dawn Sign Press) curriculum guides and student textbooks. b. Increase the total units from three to four for SIGN 110 – ASL I, SIGN 111 – ASL II, and SIGN 112 – ASL III to be in alignment with the majority of other community colleges in the state and to facilitate the transfer of our courses to the CSU and UC campuses for transferring students. This will allow for greater exposure to the language and culture and provide more guided practice and feedback for the students. i. 80 California Community colleges offer ASL classes. ii. 42 of those offer ASL classes at four (4) units, eight (8) at 5 units, and 28 at three (3) units. iii. CSU Northridge, SDSU and UCSD all offer ASL classes for four (4) units. c.
Create an ASL IV course to allow for further growth in the proficient use of the language as well as increased opportunities for transfer.
d. Develop an AA degree proposal for ASL with the possibility of a Transfer degree in ASL. 4. Increase the number of students completing the certificate program and/or transferring to a four year institution with an AA degree. 5. Begin exploring elements of and funding sources for the creation of a Trilingual Interpreter Training Program (ASL/English/Spanish).
II. Student and Program Success The curriculum changes made over the past four years have strengthened the quality of instruction in ASL. The seemingly simple act of changing the names of the classes from Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced Communication with the Deaf to American Sign Language I, II and III has strengthened the perception by incoming students and professionals working in the field of deafness with regard to the legitimacy of the courses as language courses and less of sign system instruction. Additionally, removing any reference to becoming a sign language interpreter after completing the certificate program from the catalog and website has reduced the number of calls taken in the Department office from individuals who believe a certificate of completion makes them a certified interpreter. The Department chair entertains approximately five calls a month to explain the professional requirements of becoming a certified sign language interpreter and how SAC’s ASL certificate program fits in to that career path. The department chair meets with several students each semester and during major enrollment times to provide academic advisement as it relates to the ASL certificate, etc. in support of the academic counseling support provided. The ASL program also presents strength in that the instructors of the ASL classes are native users of ASL and the instructor for the interpreter overview course is a certified practitioner in the profession. The instructors in the department feel the program would be more successful and likely to grow if a full time faculty were dedicated to the development of the program. The full time faculty member would be charged with the typical duties of a department chair as well as primary responsibility of coordinating, growing and improving the ASL department offerings that would best suit the individual campus’ needs. Ideally each campus would maintain the ASL certificate, increase it to the level of an AA degree and SAC would further investigate the viability of developing a Trilingual (English/ASL/Spanish) Interpreter Training Program.
The instructors also would like more professional development in instructional strategies to improve the students’ linguistic and cultural mastery. There is a goal to include more cultural information for the students but we are still working out the ‘how to implement’ that goal. The certificate program gains much of its strength in its longevity in the district. The certificate is currently achievable on both campuses and coordinated by one faculty member housed at SAC. The Department Chair continues to conduct part time faculty in-class observations as warranted under the FARSCCD contract guidelines. However, student evaluations of instructors have not been conducted by the division office for several years. This is likely a function of the curriculum being housed outside the purview of a truly academic dean’s oversight. Of the 121* programs listed on the RSCCD Research Department’s Report titled “SAC Certificates Awarded 2006-2011” the ASL Certificate delivered 22 certificates. This shows that the ASL Certificate produced as many or more certificates than 98 of the 121, or 81%, of the certificate programs listed as viable at SAC during 2006-2011. *CSU General Education and IGETC General Education line items were not considered in the overall number of certificates available. Part of the successful acquisition of a second/new language is deeply bound to the opportunity to use that new language in a structured setting with oversight and expert guidance. A lab space with computer monitors web cameras and playback capabilities would be a great benefit to the students as they develop their linguistic skills using ASL. Major Budgetary Considerations: Hire one full time faculty member to assume the department chair responsibilities. Provide professional development opportunities for the adjunct faculty. Create an on-campus laboratory for ASL students to increase their learning. III. Curriculum, Pedagogy and Innovation The American Sign Language (ASL) certificate (SAC 0995) (Formerly: Sign Language Education Option Certificate SAC 0995) is currently housed within the DSP&S under the Student Services Division. There is one full time faculty coordinator (assigned to certificate program 50%) with three (down from seven in 2008) adjunct faculty delivering eight sections (down from 17 sections) of 6 courses in spring 2012. • • • •
The fall of 2008 saw six sections of SIGN 110, the entry level course offered. Every semester since then only five sections of SIGN 110 have been offered. One section each of SIGN 111 and 112 continue to be offered, even though registration numbers show that an additional section of SIGN 111 could be added to the schedule. SIGN 114 has a prerequisite of SIGN 112 and was having a difficult time making. The prerequisite was eliminated and a co-requisite created, this has helped to establish a consistent enrollment for SIGN 112 and 114. SIGN 110 and 111 are offered consistently at both SAC and SCC each semester. SIGN 112, 114 and 116 are offered alternating with SCC to allow for all certificate courses to be offered on each campus in two year cycles.
A culturally based language acquisition focus has been implemented along with a new curriculum that emphasizes the development of ASL skills. In order to begin training as a sign language interpreter the student must demonstrate at least a mastery of ASL at a conversational level. To this end, most ITPs require the completion of ASL III. There are 8 courses, 24 units required to achieve the certificate. Course
Sign Language 110: American Sign Language I
Sign Language 111: American Sign Language II
Sign Language 112: American Sign Language III
Sign Language 113: Introduction to Interpreting for the Deaf
Sign Language 114: Classifiers, Fingerspelling and Numbering
Sign Language 116: Perspective on Deafness
Human Development 205: Exceptionality & Special Needs in
Human Development Human Development 107, Child Growth & Development
or Psychology 157, Introduction to Child Psychology TOTAL Recommended electives: Speech Language Pathology Assistant 160.
Sign Language 110 American Sign Language I Unit(s): 3 Class Hours: 48 Lecture total. This introductory course is designed to introduce students to American Sign Language (ASL) and fingerspelling as it is used within American Deaf culture. Instruction includes preparation for visual/gestural communication followed by intensive work on comprehension skills, modeling of grammatical structures, and general information about American Deaf culture. Sign Language 110 is equivalent to two years of high school ASL. Sign Language 111 American Sign Language II Unit(s): 3 Class Hours: 48 Lecture total. Prerequisite: Sign Language 110. The second course in the study of American Sign Language (ASL) focuses on vocabulary development, comprehension skills, grammatical structures and practice in the receptive and expressive aspects of ASL, as well as continued exposure to American Deaf culture. It is designed for the student or professional interested in working and interacting with the Deaf community. Sign Language 112 American Sign Language III Unit(s): 3 Class Hours: 48 Lecture total. Prerequisite: Sign Language 111. The third course in the study of American Sign Language (ASL) emphasizes ASL syntax, facial grammar, vocabulary, and fingerspelling enabling students to participate in more complex conversations with Deaf community members. This course enhances students’ receptive and expressive skills in ASL. It is designed for the student or professional interested in working and/or interacting with the Deaf community. Sign Language 113 Introduction to Interpreting for the Deaf Unit(s): 3 Class Hours: 48 Lecture total. Prerequisite: Sign Language 112. Introduction to and survey of basic theories, principles and practices of American Sign Language Interpreting and transliterating for the Deaf. Explores the full spectrum of the roles and ethical responsibilities of professional sign language interpreters in a variety of settings. Provides for practice of expressive and receptive skills. Includes instruction on national testing standards and preparation for certification. Sign Language 114 Classifiers, Fingerspelling, and Numbering Unit(s): 3 Class Hours: 48 Lecture total. Prerequisite: Sign Language 111. This course is designed to provide specialized instruction in the continued development of skills and application of expanded conceptualization of American Sign Language classifiers, fingerspelling, and numbering concepts. Expressive and receptive techniques will be emphasized. Sign Language 116 Perspective on Deafness Unit(s): 3 Class Hours: 48 Lecture total. This is an introductory course exploring the cultural, educational, linguistic and audiological experiences of people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind and late-deafened in America. Students will be exposed to historical and
current perspectives in trends, philosophies, ideologies, and the deaf community as a subculture of American society. According to statistics drawn during the fall 2011 semester ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾
70% of ASL students are Latino, 11% Caucasian, 10% Asian American, 1% African American and 8% are of another ethnicity or declined to state.
68% of the students are female overall. The percentage of females grows each semester as students progress through the language courses (SIGN 110 – 65% female, SIGN 111 - 65% female, SIGN 112 – 71% female and SIGN 114 – 87% female).
64% of the students are in the 20 – 29 year old age group.
Enrollment in all SIGN classes has increased since 2008, showing a slight drop in 2010-11. It is the second highest FTE generating modern language studied at SAC, falling to French in 2010-11. For SIGN 110 (ASL I) each semester there is a wait list for each section, often with sufficient numbers to open three new sections. Fall 2011 saw the first time ever a wait list was generated at both SAC and SCC for SIGN 111 (ASL II). And for the first time since the course has been offered, registrations for spring 2012 generated a wait list for SIGN 116 (Perspectives of Deafness).
Course Spanish ASL French Vietnamese Japanese
FTES total 2009-2010 202.56 66.87 62.33 32.03 10.61
FTES total 2010-2011 191.78 66.27 76.33 36.53 0.00
IV. Assessment of Conclusions and Recommendations The Department chair has remained abreast of changes in ASL education and instructor qualifications through the American Sign Language Teacher Association (ASLTA) for course guidelines as well as networking with instructors and department chairs with nearby colleges. A thorough survey of the 112 California Community Colleges has been conducted to determine where ASL courses are taught, which division or department houses the courses, number of units the courses carry and if there is an interpreter training program on the campus. As the goals for the next cycle are moved forward the Department chair will seek out and/or continue a robust dialogue with peer programs and discipline experts in feeder and/or transfer institutions ensuring that a majority of the sources include individuals who are native users of ASL. In addition, the conversations will continue with other professional organizations: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Conference of Interpreter Trainers, PostSecondary Education Programs Network, California Association of Postsecondary Education and Disabilities and local stakeholders to inform the plans for modification, improvement and implementation of the certificate into an AA degree and a Trilingual Interpreter Training Program (ASL/English/Spanish). Results of direct SLO assessment process: This cycle of assessment, the department focused its efforts on two courses, SIGN 110 and SIGN 113. These are the two courses that are taught by the full time faculty and two other part time instructors. All other courses are taught only by part time faculty and a significant amount of additional work and coordination will be needed to undertaken in order for the next cycle to include SIGN 111, 112, 114 and 116. Since there is only one full time faculty member in the ASL department and it is often difficult to secure sufficient time with the adjunct faculty members, the department chair often meets to discuss curricular and programmatic concerns with the department chair of the Speech and Language Pathology Assistant program.
SIGN 110 ¾ Instructors are not evaluating student sign production with the same criteria. ¾ Professional development in instructional practices is desired by all instructors. ¾ A rubric for evaluation standardization is desirable.
¾ ¾ ¾
Encourage observations of peers instructing as time and schedules allow. Provide more in-class practice for feedback and monitoring. Modify SLOs to more clearly represent learning outcomes for sign production.
Group work can be problematic since because students are asked to work in the target language of ASL ¾ Professional development in instructional practices is desired by all instructors. ¾ Encourage observations of peers instructing as time and schedules allow. ¾ During department meetings discuss strategies successful in other classrooms for small group work that allows for productive time and target language acquisition. ¾ Increase course units to four to allow for more guided practice and feedback opportunities. ¾ Need to modify SLO’s for group work as guided practice only and not language comparisons.
Cultural Instruction and Literary ¾ Only done outside of class through one text that needs updating. ¾ The new Signing Naturally curriculum is embedding more cultural information through the text but the learning is still incidental and indirect. ¾ Create opportunities for instructors to provide direct instruction on American Deaf cultural topics. ¾ Increase course units to four to allow for more guided practice and feedback opportunities.
SIGN 113 – ¾ Students were not prepared to participate in simple voice to sign or sign to voice activities that build into actual consecutive interpreting skills. ¾ Be more explicit in expectations. ¾ Encourage students to continue studying and improving their English language skills in order to be more proficient in their primary language. ¾ Modify current SLOs and create new for Civic Responsibility. It is the desire that in the near future in addition to the ASL certificate of completion, SAC will offer a full ITP to address the growing demand for qualified sign language interpreters as called for the in the Americans with Disabilities Act. This will be a huge undertaking requiring the development of several courses and the hiring of one full time faculty member to coordinate and teach within the discipline. It is also desired that the ASL certificate program be offered as a full AA degree. Historically one coordinator has provided oversight and coordination for the certificate offerings at both SAC and SCC. The program has gained momentum on both campuses and the number of sections being offered at each has grown each semester for the past two academic years. The DSP&S office is not at all the appropriate academic discipline placement for the ASL program. The ASL certificate program serves students with disabilities in the same way any other academic program does, by providing accommodations in the classroom to students with disabilities. The ASL program is not a disability-related program, it simply provides education and training in a field that serves and works with persons with a disability. The certificate program was born through the ideas and efforts of staff in the DSP&S office, but it is time to recognize the need for a major restructuring of the placement of this program. To that end, it is recommended that both colleges recognize that ASL is now widely accepted in the United States post-secondary setting as a foreign language and move the certificate responsibility to the appropriate department that offers other foreign languages. This placement is customary practice among community colleges in California. Summary of major recommendations: • • • •
It is recommended that both SAC and SCC create an ASL department within the Humanities Division. Hire a full time faculty member at each campus to assume Department Chair responsibilities. A lab should be created for students to attend and have the opportunity to utilize American Sign Language. Execute curriculum updates: ASL I, II and III should be increased from three to four units, adopt new textbooks for ASL I and II, modify Student Learning Outcomes.