Gallaudet University’s Department of Education houses faculty who are committed to growing future teachers every step of the way. The department offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. However, in 2013, the doctoral program was paused due to capacity. Additional reasons for the program hiatus included limited faculty bandwidth and necessary adjustments to specific elements of the program. 

After the CSEDL program paused in 2013, the faculty worked with approximately 24 students to complete their degrees. The program, renamed the Doctorate in Critical Studies in the Education of Deaf Learners (CSEDL) in 2011 from efforts led by Dr. Cynthia Neese Bailes, and accepted a new cohort of 8 students in Fall 2021 for the first time since 2013. The program continues in a hybrid setting, as some concentrations require face-to-face courses while others do not. More students are expected to begin the program Fall 2022.

CSEDL will provide seven concentrations and an increased focus on research and statistical applications. Concentrations include teacher education, educational leadership and policy, educating deaf disabled, early childhood education, bilingual education, and international deaf education, which will be offered through a partnership between the CSEDL and the International Development Master of Arts (IDMA) program. There is also an option to create a self-designed concentration area.

The program also has a significant focus on critical theory and social justice. It emphasizes the importance of educators remaining in touch with social issues, and sharing wisdom with students as they navigate massive social transformation in our society. Students in the CSEDL program often discuss social justice issues in education, and practice critical applications in preparation of entering the field of deaf education. 

Additionally, with the inclusion of more research courses, some of which offer opportunities for students to work with the Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) and the Brain and Language Neuroimaging Lab (BL2), graduates of the CSEDL program have now published more work in research journals. Recent alumni, Dr. Heather Zimmerman and Dr. Julie Tibbitt, had just published a qualitative study investigating the transition from high school to college for deaf and hard of hearing students. 

In the fall of 2020, Dr. Christina Yuknis took on the role of program director and led the program with the intention of completing all remaining students’ degrees as well as focusing on the transition to the new and improved program. Beginning next spring, Dr. Christi Batamula will become program director.

The program’s reopening means that Gallaudet can continue to grow educators of deaf and hard of hearing youth, nationally and internationally. It also means that Gallaudet University can provide a more nuanced and beneficial program for a wide variety of people interested in pursuing deaf education. Applications for Fall 2022 admission will be accepted until February 15, 2022. Those interested in the doctoral program are encouraged to apply through Graduate Admissions. To be considered, applicants must have a master’s degree, as well as a minimum of three years of experience working with deaf children or adults. 

Congratulations to the Critical Studies in the Education of Deaf Learners program for its successful reopening, and best of luck to their current and incoming doctoral students!

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