Deaf Students who use American Sign Language and their Academic and Social Experiences in Mainstream College Settings

Autor/a: PIRONE, John S.
Año: 2015
Editorial: VII Deaf Academics Researchers Conference, 2015
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Vídeo digital




Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the number of colleges/universities offering access/support services has been rising and, concurrently, the enrollment of deaf students in mainstream postsecondary institutions has increased dramatically. Yet, 75 percent of all deaf students in higher education withdraw from college without a degree even with the provision of access/support services. Through the lens of Vincent Tinto’s theory of student departure, the researcher examines deaf students’ longitudinal processes of academic and social interactions within their postsecondary institutions. The extant literature reveals that deaf students encountered barriers during their academic and social interactions even with the presence of sign language interpreters. Some significant gaps in the literature are identified: most studies were conducted at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which has a large population of deaf students; few studies sampled deaf students attending a mainstream college/university with a small population of deaf students; and no studies centered on a single group of deaf students who worked with ASL interpreters for their academic and social interactions in mainstream settings.

The researcher conducts a qualitative study using Interpretative Phenomenology Analysis (IPA) with two research questions being explored: how do Deaf students working with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters experience academic participation in mainstream college settings, and how do Deaf students working with ASL interpreters experience social participation in mainstream college settings. The purpose of this study is to build an in-depth understanding of deaf students’ lived experiences of a particular phenomenon and the meanings the phenomenon holds for them. The researcher has interviewed five Deaf participants who self-identify as being culturally Deaf, use ASL as a primary language, attended a mainstream college/university with 10 or fewer Deaf students, and worked with ASL interpreters primarily for all academic and social interactions. The researcher has preliminary findings that ASL interpreters' fluency, cultural competency, professional conduct, and team dynamics could potentially hinder Deaf students' academic participation. The researcher will discuss policy implications for colleges and universities in order to enhance Deaf students' academic and social interactions in mainstream settings.