2022 National Conference of Interpreter Trainers
The 2022 National Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT) was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in King of Prussia, PA (about 45 minutes from downtown Philadelphia) September 19-22, 2022. The theme of the conference was “Connecting through Change.” Educators, practitioners, CIT leadership, conference organizers, local deaf community members, and students gathered for the first in-person CIT conference since 2019. Attendees were treated to a full schedule of events: an energizing keynote address by Wink Smith, four days of presentations, professional forums, affinity group communities of practice, poster sessions, CIT’s biannual business meeting, opportunities to visit a variety of vendor booths and exhibits, inspiring closing remarks by LaTanya Jones, and a culminating closing ceremony/awards banquet. There was something for everyone, and the excitement of connecting with new and existing colleagues was evident throughout the week.
“The Conference of Interpreter Trainers [CIT] is a professional organization of interpreter educators. Primarily focused on interpreters working between American Sign Language and English, CIT is a professional organization dedicated to laying the educational foundations for interpreters to build bridges of understanding.”
As stated on the CIT's website (2022), CIT's purpose is to
“encourage the preparation of interpreters who can effectively negotiate interpreted interactions within the wider society in which Deaf people live. As such, one of our primary goals is to increase our students’ knowledge concerning the Deaf community, Deaf peoples’ linguistic rights and our role in the preservation of ASL. CIT seeks to accomplish its mission by fostering teaching practices and research that help educate compassionate, engaged professional interpreters who will exhibit cultural and linguistic fluency, sophisticated interactional competencies and who are sensitive to issues of privilege. We also seek to advance teaching practices that lead to a deepening of cross-cultural awareness and to guide students to interpreting practices that are based in the norms and values embraced by the Deaf community by providing arenas for the sharing of these ideas.” (About, Mission Statement)
Additional conference information including the program book and presentation abstracts are available on the 2022 National CIT Conference webpage.
UNC was well-represented at the CIT conference. Eleven UNC - Department of American Sign Language & Interpreting Studies (ASLIS) leaders, faculty, staff members, and contributors from several ASLIS programs and grant projects including the ASL-English Interpretation B.A.. (ASLEI), Teaching American Sign Language M.A. (TASL), Preparing School Interpreters Project (PSI), and Improving Rural Interpreter Skills Project (IRIS) shared groundbreaking scholarship and research during seven presentations, described below.
In addition, CIT bestowed five awards of national recognition at the closing ceremony and banquet. Four out of five of these awards were presented to UNC IRIS Project leadership team members for their impactful contributions to the field of interpreter education.
The 2022 recipients:
- Erica West Oyedele, IRIS Project External Evaluator and Project CLIMB (Cultivating Legal Interpreters from Minority Backgrounds) Director of Curriculum was awarded the Mary Stotler Award, which recognizes a person who has made significant contributions to the field of interpreting and interpreter education. Ms. Oyedele West was the first BIPOC individual to receive this prestigious award.
- Dr. Naomi Sheneman, IRIS Project Curriculum Designer and Project CLIMB instructional team member, was awarded the Scholarship Award, which recognizes one recipient per conference who has demonstrated an outstanding track record of academic scholarship related to the field of Interpreter Education, Interpreting, and relevant fields.
- Betty Colonomos, IRIS Project Curriculum Designer and Project CLIMB instructional team member, was awarded the Award for Excellence in Teaching which recognizes one recipient per conference who has demonstrated excellence in teaching and contributed the most to enhance student learning.
- Cheryl Thomas, IRIS Project and Project CLIMB instructional team member, was awarded the Mentoring Award, which recognizes one recipient per conference who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring and contributed the most to student growth through mentoring.
- Dr. Jessica Bentley-Sassaman, the outgoing president of CIT, was awarded the Leadership Award, which recognizes one recipient per conference who has demonstrated excellence in leading their Interpreter Education Program(s) and dedicating to faculty development and shows commitment to student learning.
UNC-ASLIS Scholarly Presentations
Reflecting on UNC-Project CLIMB: Lessons Learned
Presented by: Schawn Hardesty (M.A., CI, CT, NIC Advanced, SC: Legal), Kelly Decker (NIC Advanced), Amy Williamson (PhD, CI, CT, Ed: K-12, SC: Legal), & Erica West Oyedele (M.A., NIC)
ASL Abstract: Project CLIMB's Director of Operations, Schawn Hardesty provides an introduction to the presentation in American Sign Language (ASL).
English Abstract: This session will present the lessons learned by the University of Northern Colorado’s Project CLIMB (Cultivating Legal Interpreters from Minority Backgrounds) during its 5-year, U.S. Department of Education-funded online legal training. Project CLIMB used a social justice framework and constructivist approach to legal interpreting education, underlying the project’s interactive, dialogic program content and iterative online training delivery. Much of the development, facilitation, and evaluation work was lead and carried out by members of the target communities—Deaf, Coda, and people of color—and provided the opportunity for Project CLIMB participants to see representation of linguistic and cultural diversity in the project leadership, facilitation, and Communities of Learning while amplifying the voices of its target demographic and identifying counter-narratives throughout the project. By focusing on the lessons learned during the project’s development, piloting, iterative delivery, and evaluation, this presentation will examine how issues of equity, power, and privilege can inform the future of legal interpreter training.
Hardesty, S., Decker, K., Williamson, A., & West Oyedele, E. (2022). Reflecting on UNC-Project CLIMB: Lessons learned [Conference Presentation]. Conference of the Interpreter Trainers, King of Prussia, PA.
UNC-IRIS Project: Blooming in Rural America
Presented by: Kelly Decker (NIC Advanced) & Schawn Hardesty (M.A., CI, CT, NIC Advanced, SC: Legal)
ASL Abstract: IRIS Project Coordinator Kelly Decker provides an introduction to the presentation in American Sign Language (ASL).
English Abstract: Access to quality interpreting services in rural areas across the country is undeniably challenging. Generally overlooked by training entities and professional organizations, rural interpreters are too often unable to attain the necessary and appropriately sequenced training that recognizes existing competencies, accumulates academic credentials, or acquires professional certification. The needs are great, and the resources are limited. As the field of interpreting continues to professionalize, rural interpreters are being left behind, which ultimately results in systemically inadequate, even discriminatory, communication access for individuals who are deaf in rural areas.
Decker, K., & Hardesty, S. (2022). UNC-IRIS Project: Blooming in rural America [Conference Presentation]. Conference of the Interpreter Trainers, King of Prussia, PA.
The Current Status of ASL English Interpreting Programs in the U.S.
Presented by: Barbara D. Garrett (PhD, CI & CT), Emily G. Girardin (M.Ed., Ed: K-12), Whitney Renee Weirick (PhD, NIC-Advanced) & Cyndi Fisher (M.A.)
ASL Abstract: Researcher Whitney Renee Weirick provides an introduction to the presentation in American Sign Language (ASL).
English Abstract: The state of interpreter education in the United States (U.S.) is frequently discussed through publications, presentations, and grant reporting, but until now there has not been an extensive, up-to-date inventory of sign language interpreting programs. Understanding the current state of interpreter education is the foundation for addressing the critical challenges in working towards transformation in the field. However, the data on programs have remained highly inconsistent. Many questions remain: As of 2022, how many programs offer degrees in ASL-English interpreting in the U.S. (certificate, 2-year, 4-year, and graduate)? How many of these degrees are considered transferrable to 4-year institutions? What data is available on programs that offer specialization? How are these programs portrayed and described on college websites? Is diversity, equity and inclusion addressed? How many programs offer online or hyperflex delivery? What percentage of interpreter education programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE)?
As part of a multi-year study regarding entrance and exit outcomes of interpreter education programs, data were gathered from an exhaustive investigation of information from sources including the Conference of Interpreter Trainers, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, CCIE, hundreds of college/university webpages, state publications, and a review of current literature on interpreter education and trends in higher education. These data were compiled, organized, and analyzed to identify similarities and differences in the interpreting degrees offered, and to directly address the field’s reliance on outdated and sometimes inaccurate database listings of programs. Significant time and resources were dedicated to this endeavor, which sought to disaggregate programs by specific degree or certificate type, rather than simply categorizing them as an “AA/AS” or “BA/BS” degree. This attention to specificity in degree offerings, combined with the comprehensive review described above, has resulted in the data that will be shared in this presentation. Plans are to disseminate this data for the benefit of all stakeholders invested in the future of interpreter education, research, scholarship, and grant reporting.
Understanding these data requires dialogue among interpreter educators regarding the context and to identify gaps and clarify misunderstandings. This is one of the rare opportunities where educators are gathered to do this. Ultimately, the result of this dialogue could lead to information that informs the direction of national organizations and accrediting bodies toward increased student learning outcomes and supporting the learning styles of diverse student populations.
Recent reports (Cogen & Cokely, 2015; Godfrey, 2010), multiple calls to action (Cokely, 2005; Volk, 2014;), along with other recent publications (Garrett & Girardin, 2019; Holmes, 2021; Johnson et al., 2018; 2022), taken collectively make a clear case for a more critical examination of interpreter education and its implications for stakeholders, users of interpreting services, and interpreter educators.
Garrett, B. D., Girardin, E. G., Weirick, W., & Fisher, C. (2022). The current status of ASL English interpreting programs in the United States. [Conference Presentation]. Conference of the Interpreter Trainers, King of Prussia, PA.
Enhancing Language Proficiency in Today's Interpreting Student: A Model of Collaboration Between a Traditional Two-year ITP and a Four-year Bachelor’s Degree Interpreting Program
Presented by: Pauline Ballentine (M.A., CDI), Barbara D. Garrett (PhD, CI & CT), Susan Faltinson (MSSW, CI, CT, OTC, QMHI), & Michelle Stricklen (M.S.)
ASL Abstract: ASLIS's Program Manager Pauline Ballentine provides an introduction to the presentation in American Sign Language (ASL).
English Abstract: As of 2022, how many ASL-English interpretation programs exist in the U.S. (certificate, 2-year, 4-year, and graduate)? How many of these degrees are transferable to 4-year institutions? How are these programs portrayed and described on college websites? Is diversity, equity and inclusion addressed? How many programs offer online or hyperflex delivery? What percentage of interpreter education programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE)? As part of a multi-year study regarding entrance and exit outcomes of interpreter education programs, data were gathered from an exhaustive investigation of information from sources. These data were compiled, organized, and analyzed to identify similarities and differences. This data will be shared in this presentation for the benefit of all stakeholders invested in the future of interpreter education.
This presentation will include a dialogue among interpreter educators present regarding the context of the field in the U.S., to identify gaps and clarify misunderstandings. A CIT Conference is a rare opportunity where interpreter educators are gathered together. Ultimately, the result of this dialogue could lead to information that informs the direction of national organizations and accrediting bodies toward increased student learning outcomes and supporting the learning styles of diverse student populations.
Ballentine, P.M., Garrett, B.D., Faltinson, S, & Stricklen, M. (2022). Enhancing language proficiency in today's interpreting student: A model of collaboration between a traditional two-year ITP and a four-year bachelor's degree interpreting program. [Conference Presentation] Conference of the Interpreter Trainers, King of Prussia, PA.
Pay Equity in Interpreter and ASL Education
Presented by: Pauline Ballentine (M.A., CDI) & Barbara D. Garrett (PhD, CI & CT)
ASL Abstract: ASLIS's Program Manager Pauline Ballentine provides an introduction to the presentation in American Sign Language (ASL).
English Abstract: A review of the literature resulted in a lack of data regarding wages for interpreter or ASL educators. Anecdotally, there are stories of more Deaf faculty members holding adjunct positions while the permanent positions (contract and/or tenure-track) are held more by hearing faculty, which creates significant income disparity in our field. To date, quantitative data has not been available. To determine accurate salary ranges and identify equity across various demographics (gender identity, cultural identity, etc.) a survey was conducted to gather quantifiable evidence of pay in the field. A pilot study was conducted by anonymous surveying of as many interpreter and ASL educators as possible. The purpose of this presentation is to share the findings from the pilot survey and then to gather feedback from those present regarding ways to improve a larger, and possibly more detailed, survey so that more comprehensive data may be gathered. Salaries impact program costs, with most Institutions of Higher Education currently facing budget challenges, the more financial information we have, the more power we have.
Ballentine, P.M., & Garrett, B.D. (2022). Pay equity in interpreter and ASL education. [Conference Presentation] Conference of the Interpreter Trainers, King of Prussia, PA.
Timeless Principles and Changing Times: An Evolving Perspective on the Entry-to-Practice Competencies
Presented by: Amy Kroll (M.S., NIC) & Emily G. Girardin (M.Ed., Ed: K-12)
ASL Abstract: Amy Kroll provides an introduction to the presentation in American Sign Language (ASL).
English Abstract: The Entry-to-Practice Competencies are 34 standards to inform and guide interpreter education. In 2005, they were the first to comprehensively represent timeless principles found in various degree programs across the United States. Yet, stakeholders, practitioners, interpreter education, and society have evolved since the competencies were published almost two decades ago. The original researchers distributed the competencies with a call to action. Taking up this call to action, a revision of the Entry-to-Practice Competencies has been undertaken. The revision takes the timeless principles (knowledge, attitudes, and skills) laid out in the competencies and updates them to better reflect the expanding understanding of a practice profession in today’s society. Much has changed and the competencies need to be nurtured so the timeless principles continue to intentionally inform and guide interpreter education. You are invited to a conversation on a revised version of the competencies and their timeless relevance to preparing the next generation of interpreters. Does the revision better align to current perspectives, practices, and values of interpreter education, the interpreting field, the Deaf Community, and society at large? Does interpreter education benefit from a shared understanding of timeless principles that define outcome standards? Come! Share your voice.
Kroll, A. & Girardin, E. G. (2022). Timeless principles and changing times: An evolving perspective on the Entry-to-Practice Competencies. [Conference Presentation]. Conference of the Interpreter Trainers, King of Prussia, PA.
UNC ASLIS Poster Sessions
Preparing School Interpreters (PSI) Project: Redesigning Educational Interpreting Curricula to Reflect an Interdisciplinary Lens
Presented by: Emily Girardin (M.Ed., Ed: K-12), Kelli Stein (M.Ed., CI, CT), & Angie O’Bleness (M.A., NIC, Ed: K-12)
ASL Abstract: Deaf Educator, Dr. Richard Jeffries, Jr. provides an introduction to the poster presentation in American Sign Language (ASL).
English Abstract: The University of Northern Colorado received a $1.25M award for its Preparing School Interpreters (PSI) Project (OSEP: H325K2100024). The goal of the PSI Project is to invest in the academic and practical preparation of ASL-English interpreting students, their induction into the educational system through mentoring and communities of learning, and their introduction to the profession as educational interpreters. As part of the first initiative of the PSI Project, a substantive curriculum review was conducted that resulted in 16 credits of educational interpreting concentration that brings a more sophisticated team member perspective by including interdisciplinary learning curricula components/coursework, experiences, and resources. This specialized content is offered concurrently with upper-division interpreting skills coursework that provides other educational materials and resources to ensure appropriate scaffolding throughout the entire ASL-English Interpreting BA program. The redesigned curricular content was completed in phases following the ADDIE Model that included both internal and external support. This poster presentation includes an overview of the process of extensively reviewing a curriculum, then creating an interdisciplinary educational interpreting concentration. Aggregated data from the development process, including the focus group and survey responses from subject matter experts that contributed an interdisciplinary lens to the curriculum review, will be provided.
Girardin, E. G., Stein, K., & O’Bleness, A. (2022). Preparing school Interpreters (PSI) project: Redesigning educational interpreting curricula to reflect an interdisciplinary lens. [Conference Presentation]. Conference of the Interpreter Trainers, King of Prussia, PA.
Conference of Interpreter Trainers. (2022). About CIT. Conference of Interpreter Trainers. https://cit-asl.org/about/