The Fontbonne Clarke Northeast Collaborative is a distance learning program providing a master’s in deaf education for students both at Fontbonne’s home campus in St. Louis, Missouri and students at various oral school practicum sites across the Northeastern US.
Recognizing the nationwide shortage of qualified teachers of the deaf who have expertise in listening and spoken language (while ~90% of families choose listening and spoken language for their children who are deaf or hard of hearing, the majority of the nation’s deaf education teacher training programs provide outdated instruction focusing on serving the small minority of children who sign), Fontbonne University and Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech teamed up to offer a distance learning master’s degree program in deaf ed.
Technology and demographic shifts have radically changed the field of deaf education over the past decade, and likely will continue to do so in the future at an even more rapid pace. The presenters asked a thought-provoking question, “Who will the teachers of the deaf be in 2020? What will be their role?” Voss suggested that one way our field can meet the challenge of the TOD shortage is by providing distance education options to reach students in underserved areas. The students who participated in the FCNC program reported that they felt their experience was of equal quality to an in-person program, and that they enjoyed meeting with students and faculty in different geographic areas.
All recaps are from my notes, memory, and/or presentation materials made available by the presenters. Any errors or omissions are my own.