American Sign Language and Interpreter Education Department
American Sign Language (ASL) is the indigenous language of culturally-Deaf people used throughout most of North America. Over the last 50 years, linguists have established that ASL is a complete, natural language that has a grammar, lexicon, and semantics that are fundamentally different than spoken English or other signed languages used in other areas of the world. ASL’s indigenous roots stem from the intermixing of Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, Indian Sign Language, and Parisian French Sign Language when Deaf people came together to form the first school for the Deaf in America, established over 200 years ago. ASL signers from the Deaf community consider themselves to be members of a linguistic minority and their shared visual language is the heart of their unique visual culture.
The Department of American Sign Language and Interpreter Education (ASLIE) strives to promote equality and respect of Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing people and their diverse communities. We are united towards this goal as a diverse learning and teaching community comprised of a balance of both Deaf and hearing faculty and staff.
Developing fluency in ASL as a second language is a considerable challenge and takes years of language immersion and education. To support students in this effort, we offer a full B.S. degree in ASL & English Interpretation and a minor in ASL Studies.
The goal of the Interpretation B.S. program is to prepare students to become professional interpreters who are language mediators between people who do not share the same language (between ASL signers and English speakers). Interpreters must remain neutral and do not advocate for the ASL community nor express their own thoughts while performing their duties. This program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education.
The goal of the ASL Studies minor is to prepare students to communicate directly in ASL in their area of focused service and advocacy. They are not interpreters, but are highly bilingual and can communicate their own spontaneous thoughts in ASL. Examples of careers where bilingual skills are invaluable include: child development, education, vocational rehabilitation, social work, legal, mental health, medical, recreation, non-profit organizations, tourism, and hospitality, etc.
In addition to our academic programs, we also accomplish our goal through:
ASL and interpretation learning resources including:
- Highly qualified teachers who are full-time faculty
- An outstanding ASL Language Learning Lab
- A state of the art interpretation studio
- Statewide and nationwide internship placements
Support of extra-curricular activities:
- ASL Association, ASLIE’s student organization
- ASL Living Learning Community in Walters Hall Dormitory
- Service-learning to Deaf-related organizations
Statewide partnerships and stewardship including:
- Interpreter Outreach resources and workshop training for professional interpreters
- Partnerships with key stakeholders such as: Kentucky Department of Education, Kentucky School for the Deaf, Administrative Office of the Courts, Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
We encourage you to use this website to explore ASLIE, who we are, and what we do.