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Overview

Gallaudet University is proposed to be the home to the world’s first Ph.D. in Sign Language Education, a program situated in the emerging discipline of sign language pedagogy. There is a need for qualified sign language instructors and leaders at all levels of education. Gallaudet University’s New Program Review requires a proposal to pass through a series of stages.

This study focused on the viability component of the overall feasibility study in Stage 2. The study aims to analyze the proposal’s viability by looking into the value, need, and interest in the proposed program.

The main research questions that guided this study are:

  • Do current and past graduates of a sign language master degree program value and see a professional need for a Ph.D. in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University? and;
  • Are current and past graduates of a sign language master degree program interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University?

A quantitative approach utilizing the survey methodology was developed and administered to 280 prospective students. The survey collected data from 114 participants who completed the survey in its entirety. The sample group consisted of 24 current graduates and 90 past graduates of the Masters in Sign Language Education program.

This study is essential in setting the stage for elevating the long-awaited sign language pedagogy discipline in line with other world language disciplines.

A significant finding revealed by this study has shown that current and past graduates of a sign-language master degree program value and see a professional need for a Ph.D. in Sign Language Education. An overwhelming majority of the respondents indicated that such a program should be implemented at Gallaudet University.

Overall, the prospective students are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University, especially within ten years.

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Ph.D in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University: A Viability Study

Christi Batamula

Kenneth De Haan

202-250-2043

202-448-7067

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