William Woods University American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting instructor Bret Cummens has been awarded a scholarship from Sign Media to pursue professional-level ASLTA certification.
The American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) is a national organization of professionals involved with teaching ASL and Deaf studies. To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants had to document their years of experience involving courses taught, professional development, presentations and publications.
ASLTA certification has three goals:
o to insure that teachers possess the skills and knowledge to teach American Sign Language and the culture of the American Deaf community,
o to encourage and reward professional growth and
o to encourage participation in the ASLTA organization and professionalism among the membership.
Cummens was one of four recipients to receive the scholarship at the professional level. There are approximately 350 ASLTA certified teachers across the country; a large number of ASL teachers are not certified.
Certification at the professional level will show that Cummens demonstrates the highest level of knowledge and skills in teaching American Sign Language, including curriculum development, evaluation, linguistics, theoretical and contemporary issues.
Cummens came to WWU in 2006 as an ASL interpreting instructor. Prior to his arrival, he was an adjunct instructor and language lab tutor at Salt Lake Community College, an interpreter evaluator and language mentor at Utah Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, an assistant professor at Central Washington University and an educational sign interpreting instructor at Wenatchee Valley College.
He has a bachelor of integrated studies degree in psychology, history and recreational education from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and a master of arts in liberal arts from Almeda University in Boise, Idaho. He will receive a master of education in curriculum and instruction from William Woods in May.