Jeffrey Davis, PhD
Educational Interpreter Program
Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
A218 Jane and David Bailey Education Complex
1122 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-3442
I have worked as an interpreter, teacher, and researcher in the field of Sign Language/Deaf Studies for the past three decades. I began my university teaching career in 1983 at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. There, I taught in the Master’s Degree Program in Interpretation in the Department of Linguistics and Interpreting until 1990. I served on the faculties of the Sign Language/Deaf Studies program in the College of Education at the University of Arizona (1990 – 1994) and the Sign Language Interpretation Program at Miami-Dade College (1994 – 2000). In addition to extensive field practice and research, I have developed and taught undergraduate and graduate coursework in Education of the Deaf, Sign Language/Deaf Studies, Linguistics, and Interpreting. I joined the UT faculty in 2000 where I am a professor of ASL, Linguistics, and Interpreting in the Educational Interpreting Program. I also serve on several instructional teams: The Education of the Deaf Program in TPTE; the Center on Deafness at UT; and the Linguistics Committee in the College of Arts and Sciences.
My primary research focus is the linguistic analysis of ASL and the study of translation and interpretation. I am involved in a U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) collaborative project between the University of Tennessee and The University of Rochester, School of Medicine. The project is titled “Reforming Interpreter Education: A Practice Professions Approach”.
In this national curriculum reform project, all courses are being developed and piloted in UT’s Educational Interpreting Program. The purpose is to teach interpreting as a practice profession, like teaching, medicine, or law, where acquisition of professional judgment and self-evaluation skills are simultaneously imparted with content knowledge.
I am also conducting linguistic research of North American Sign Language; digitalizing and analyzing rare archival data from the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institute, Gallaudet University Archives, Indiana University Archives, and the National Archives. After these films and documents are digitally re-mastered, this data-base will be made available for students and other scholars to study through the University Library’s Digital Media Service. This research project has important theoretical and linguistic implications for understanding the nature and origins of human language, and the similarities, differences, and historical relationship between sign use among indigenous populations (e.g., Native American Indians and the sign language used in Deaf Communities).