Mission & Philosophy


The mission of the Signed Language Interpreting Program is to prepare entry level interpreters and transliterators with a thorough understanding of the practice and ethics of the interpreting profession within a liberal arts environment. We emphasize cultural awareness, foster intellectual growth, and encourage academic excellence.

In keeping with the mission of the Department of Linguistics, the program recognizes and values linguistic diversity. Instilling respect for the language and communication preferences of all deaf and hard of hearing people is an essential value of our program.

Consistent with the mission of the University of New Mexico as a research university to discover and disseminate new knowledge, we provide a foundation for scholarly inquiry of signed languages, interpreting theory and processes, and the cultures of deaf and hearing individuals.

We are committed to serving the needs of the community by offering basic signed language classes in order to encourage respectful communication and cultural understanding between Deaf and hard of hearing people and the hearing community.


We are a vital component of the Department of Linguistics. As such, the program recognizes and values linguistic and cultural diversity, multilingualism, and the empowerment of all language communities, including signed language communities. We recognize and respect the right of all people to use the language and modality of their choice. We recognize that language and culture are dynamic processes, and we seek to instill in our students a respect for changing and ever-evolving values. We model this respect for linguistic diversity in all of our classes, among our personal and professional interactions, and in our daily conduct.

We provide a learning environment that is respectful of Deaf culture and that facilitates student’s development of competencies in American Sign Language and English. We supply an array of language models in the classroom by implementing technology to access videos of Deaf signers and encouraging interaction with the local deaf community. The program values interaction with and feedback from Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing stakeholders.

We believe that it is critical for students to acquire the knowledge and competencies required to become entry level signed language interpreters. We are sensitive to the diversity of students’ learning processes, and we provide a safe and encouraging learning environment. Beyond this programmatic goal, we believe it is our duty as faculty in a public university to educate and encourage students to develop the values, habits of mind, knowledge, and skills that they need to be enlightened citizens, contribute to the state and national economies, and lead satisfying lives.

Adopted by Signed Language Interpreting Program 10/3/12