Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
This study was a program evaluation of an American Sign Language internship program that was established in 2006 at a 4-year private college in the Midwestern United States but had never been evaluated. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of this internship program in preparing students for employment in the field of interpreting. An expertise-oriented program evaluation case study was conducted using the lens of experiential learning theory. Research questions were used to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the program and the ways in which the policies, objectives, and assignments prepare students to work as interns and later as professional interpreters. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 2 former administrators who helped establish the program, 13 graduates of the program between 2013 and 2015, and 8 of the internship site directors who worked with interns between 2013 and 2015. The interview data were coded and analyzed following Merriam's approach to identify themes, and document review was used to support the themes. Key findings were that the program provided effective training for interns transitioning to professional employment, but students tended to lack self-confidence in their performances Interviewees also indicated that program documents were helpful but difficult to use, and mentors needed guidance in giving constructive feedback. An evaluation report was constructed as a research project deliverable to provide specific recommendations for program enhancement. The study promotes positive social change by providing stakeholders with the evidence-based data needed to implement further growth for the internship program, and to more effectively train interpreters to work with the Deaf community.