Deaf Education Faculty Recruitment Begin at the Beginning: The Undergraduate Level A Panel Discussion Saturday, February 20, 2010

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1 Association of College Educators-Deaf/Hard or Hearing 2010 Conference Lexington, Kentucky Deaf Education Faculty Recruitment Begin at the Beginning: The Undergraduate Level A Panel Discussion Saturday, February 20, 2010 Participants: Dr. Diane H. Klein, facilitator Mrs. Annah Hill, Full-Time Instructor IUP Ms. Stefanie Fitzpatrick, Teacher Scranton School Ms. Elizabeth Proctor, Student-Deaf Education Program IUP Diane Klein Welcome everyone. We are pleased to have you join us today for our panel discussion. As we all know, there is a critical shortage in teachers for the deaf in our k-12 schools throughout the country. Our own programs are not producing enough graduates to fill those roles, particularly in rural locations. But we, as a profession, have an even more pressing and disturbing issue. There are not enough professionals choosing to earn terminal degrees and become faculty in the higher education teacher preparation programs. This shortage is even more critical in that we are seeing a real decline across the country in the number of faculty available to teach, taking the place of retiring faculty. The number of Deaf Education teacher preparation or credentialing programs is declining. In the mid 1990s, there were close to 80 programs in the country. Today, there are 67 with some that we know to be on the chopping block. This does not bode well for the profession! The focus of our panel discussion today is to discuss how our programs can nurture the desire of our students to continue their educations, complete terminal degrees, and enter higher education. The three panel members are all students of mine. I will let them introduce themselves and then I will ask Annah to lead off our discussion as she was recently accepted to a doctoral program. Since this is a panel discussion, I d like you to feel free to ask questions of any of the panel members at any time! Annah Hill I feel that I was first recruited in 1992 as a 7 th grader (Dr. Richard Nowell, IUP). I had continuous contact throughout my schooling (secondary) with Rich as he was the supervisor of student teachers in the school system in which I grew up. Homer Center school district was the mainstream setting for two local counties (Indiana and Armstrong). The cooperating teacher who worked with Dr. Nowell was a close friend of his, Edward Iandiorio. Ed provided the extra support and encouragement that I needed to guide me toward the field. He provided me with introductions to: i. Deafblind brother 1 P a g e

2 ii. Deaf brother iii. Bonnie Bell- interpreter iv. Students- Deaf/HH Close friends- Stacy Machowski, Tom Plaus, Marc Gardener, Heather Tellethorster and many more. 7 th grade- After an orientation meeting with Ed, Bonnie Bell, and Stacy- I went home and told my parents that I was going to become a teacher of the Deaf/HH. Now understand- I grew up on a dairy farm. My father envisioned me becoming a veterinarian, agricultural engineer, something along those lines.father truly felt that I was fickle and would change my mind (I NEVER once contemplated that). After HS I decided to attend IUP (thanks to my father who wanted me to commute) in I was introduced to Dr. Diane Klein, Dee. Throughout college my professors, Dr. Nowell and Dr. Diane Klein, became parental-like figures to me as well as mentors. Nurturing and enthusiastic about the field of Deaf Education. It was through their courses that I became a well-rounded educator of the Deaf/HH.Together they shared their backgrounds in teaching students who are Deaf/HH through manual and oral modalities. I wasn t the smartest in my graduating class (Dr. Nowell gently reminded everyone of that when he introduced me to speak at my graduation ceremony in May of 2001). I do remember the feeling that came over me when Dee and Rich first asked me to speak. I was overwhelmed. I couldn t believe that they asked me over some other students in the program at the time. Then they explained that I had a drive that they didn t see very often. It was my dedication and determination that caught their attention. It was their belief in me and my abilities that kept me motivated throughout college and up until today. After graduating I went to work for AIU 3. I began working as an itinerant teacher of the Deaf/HH in 2002 with a VERY supportive supervisor, Lynn Murphy, and mentor, Mrs. Joan Wylie. Attended local and state workshops- returned to present the information to my colleagues. I LOVED presenting! Obtained my master s degree in Deaf Education from the University of Pittsburgh in December of Summer of discussed IUP s Deaf Education program with Dee at my baby shower (yes we still kept in contact!!). She once again acknowledged my potential and asked if I would be interested in teaching in the higher education setting. Since January of 2008, I have had the pleasure of working with not one but two of my idols from the beginning of my college career. It was through their support and guidance that I went from being their student to a colleague! While working at IUP have enjoyed meeting and working with students who have been very supportive of me as a professor. I constantly receive encouragement from my students and the Special Education Department faculty to continue on for my Ph.D. 2 P a g e

3 Today I find myself a student once again, as I have recently been accepted into the doctoral program at IUP. I wish to study under the area of Curriculum and Instruction. As a college student in the field as well as an itinerant teacher of the Deaf/HH for 6 years in the Pittsburgh area, I realized the need for researchers in the field of deafness. I hope to become a participant in that area of research. Stefanie Fitzpatrick As an undergraduate student, my experiences allowed me to realize I wanted to continue my education and pursue a master s and doctorate degree. Through my undergraduate education, my eyes were opened to the extraordinary world of Deaf Education. IUP: Co-President of Sign-In: Allowed me to interact with other Deaf education majors, along with members of the deaf community and cooperating with my advisors (professors). This role gave me the opportunity to understand the complexity of ASL when glossing songs and their concepts (translating English to ASL). I have and continue to be intrigued by the language, therefore craving to study, learn and discover more. This role also enabled me to be creative and innovative through ASL, which I will carry with me through my future. While working with my professors I was able to observe their role in extracurricular activities at the college level. This gave me the motivation and desire to become an advisor in the future. Vice President of FEDHHS: As different professionals spoke to the group my mind opened to endless deaf education avenues. As a leader of the group, I interacted with various professionals in the field of Deaf education. This also sparked my interest and allowed me to create goals beyond the classroom. Participation in various honor societies: Being apart of an honor society, helped me to realize the importance of education beyond the classroom. This also contributed to my desire to sustain a high level of education and performance (as an undergraduate student, future teacher and beyond). Council member of IUP Dance Explosion: Leading a group of focused and committed individuals gave me a sense of accomplishment while doing something I love. I knew I wanted to experience this in my future. By being a classroom teacher and continuing my education would strengthen my leadership skills and bring me to a higher level of education. 3 P a g e

4 Now, as a classroom teacher at the Scranton School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, I believe there are so many avenues to explore. IUP gave me a strong Deaf Education foundation, although the classroom widens, yet strengthens my path towards pursuing my master s and doctorate degrees in the near future. SSDHHC: 1. Classroom teacher: Daily experiences, intrigue me and leave me wanting to become more knowledgeable about Deaf education. While teaching my students, I want to learn more appropriate and successful strategies in all content areas. By pursuing a master s and doctorate degree I will be able to achieve that. 2. Sign-Connection Advisor (SSDHHC s sign language performance group), Chaperone of and involvement in extra-curricular activities: This allows me to observe the social aspect of the lives of the students. The social component is another interesting aspect of Deaf Education and the lives of Deaf individuals. By pursuing a master s and doctorate degree I would be able to further understand the social and emotional aspects of this specific population. Elizabeth Proctor As an undergraduate student, I have been afforded many opportunities that helped me decide that I would like to pursue my master s and doctorate degrees. IUP (Academics) Because of the variety of classes I have taken while at IUP since my freshman year I have wanted to further my education in everything from speech pathology to early intervention to audiology. I would not have had these feelings if I had not been offered the variety of classes that are part of the rigorous undergraduate curriculum at IUP. Each class that is offered is designed in a way that teaches you the information necessary to begin a career in deaf education but also leaves you wanting more. In my audiology class, I was given the opportunity to practice basic audiological testing which made me more curious about the various aspects of audiology and their implications on deaf education. During my first semester senior year, I was able to take both a speech for deaf and hard of hearing class and a parent-pre-school education class. I had always had an interest in speech and our class helped me to better understand the importance of speech for people who are deaf and hard of hearing and also introduced me to the some of the best practices for working with this population. My parent-pre-school class peaked my interest in early intervention. We were able to spend time reviewing case studies of different students and discussing the best way to work with these students and their families. We also had the opportunity to practice some of the skills we might need while working with young children. The core deaf education curriculum at IUP provided 4 P a g e

5 a very strong basis of the different aspects of deaf education but, as with any course of study, there is always room to learn more. Every class that I took caused me to want to learn more about the subject it covered. I feel very fortunate to have had such a dynamic and expansive undergraduate education and feel that with this basis, I would be able to successfully continue my education beyond my bachelor s degree. IUP (organizations): Throughout the 4 years I have spent at IUP, I have been able to take advantage of many of the opportunities offered on campus. I have served for two years as the co-president of Sign In, IUP s sign language performance group. Holding this position provided me with a wonderful opportunity to work collaboratively with students within the Deaf Education major as well as students outside of the major. Every spring, I worked with the other co-president as well as the advisors to design, advertise, and produce a full-length production which was performed for on campus. While working with this group, I was given a lot of insight into American Sign Language. I feel that these skills will greatly benefit me through my future endeavor as an educator. Finally, participating as an officer for this group also helped me better understand my role as a leader and has given me the confidence to continue to be in a supervisor or leader position in the future as an educator. I also had the opportunity to serve as the Vice President for IUP s Future Educators of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. As the Vice-President of this organization, I had the responsibility of planning meetings and scheduling presenters for our meeting. These skills helped me to improve my communication skills and to better my understanding of professional relationships. As a member of this group, I had the opportunity to hear a variety of presenters discuss different topics that related to the deaf education field. Each person that presented opened my eyes to a new aspect of deaf education that I had not considered and I often found myself leaving each meeting with a new career aspiration. Outside of the major, I was able to actively in various community service organizations. I have participated as a team captain in Relay for Life for the last 5 years. Currently, I am a member of IUP s chapter of Mortar Board, which is a National Service Honor Society. By actively participating in these organizations, I have really seen the value of helping the community. I strongly believe that education reaches far beyond the four walls of a classroom and in many ways, I feel that I have learned more about people and life while working on various community service projects than any professor would have ever been able to teach me. I hope that in the future, I can pass on my passion for helping others and that I can show other people some of what can be learned outside of the school. 5 P a g e

6 I was able to spend the part of this past year volunteering at the Indiana County Department of Human Services. This opportunity really helped me to understand the business world and helped me to see the community beyond my front door. Through this experience, I was able to see the impact that different life experiences have on children and adults in the community. I was also able to work on projects that were designed to help educate the community on different aspects of early childhood education. During my time there, I was allowed to sit in on various meetings and was able to get a better understanding of resources that communities have and the best ways to get in touch with those resources. I feel that this is incredibly valuable information for an educator at any level. I have also had the privilege of volunteering at a local elementary school for the last three years. Spending close to 10 hours a week in various general education classrooms really opened my eyes to the differences between deaf education and general education. I feel that I have only begun to see the differences and I hope to be able to continue my understanding of general education curriculum and deaf education curriculum so that I can better understand the differences and the best ways to help all students. Thank you, Annah, Stefanie, and Liz for sharing all of those experiences with us. Are there any questions? Can you see how you, in your own programs, might kindle that spark that would encourage your students to continue onward with their educations? We hope that you do and that perhaps we even gave you some ideas about how you might help to produce the next generation of higher education faculty in Deaf Education. As you can see, it is not too early to begin at the undergraduate level! Thank you for attending our session and enjoy the rest of the conference! 6 P a g e

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