Sorenson VRS IEP Award of Excellence
for the Class of 2011

The Sorenson VRS® (SVRS®) IEP Award of Excellence, presented by Sorenson Communications®, recognizes outstanding Interpreter Education Programs (IEPs). The annual award identifies programs incorporating Video Relay Service (VRS) instruction into their curriculum and those that continually recognize and respond to the broadening communication needs of the deaf community.

Click here to view past IEP Award winners

Award Overview

Sorenson Communications is dedicated to supporting excellence in American Sign Language (ASL) English interpreter education in order to provide the highest-quality professional interpreters in the VRS industry. The SVRS IEP Award of Excellence recognizes outstanding IEPs that go above and beyond routine education to ensure student outcomes that are commensurate with the entry-level positions in the field.

The SVRS IEP Award of Excellence is open to all two- and four-year degree-granting IEPs in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. IEPs wishing to apply need to respond to the criteria shown below and report on student outcomes for the graduating class of 2011. All applications will be reviewed, and a panel of independent IEP industry experts will conduct final judging. One or two final winners will be chosen. All decisions regarding the winning applications are final.


Winning IEPs will each receive the following:

  • $10,000 to be reinvested into the IEP according to an approved spending plan
  • A $1,500 credit to be used at SignMedia (donated by Sorenson Communications)
  • A $4,000 credit to be used at DawnSignPress ($2,500 donated by Sorenson Communications, $1,500 donated by DawnSignPress)
  • A trip (airfare, transportation, accommodations and conference registration) for two IEP directors or instructors from the winning programs to attend the 2012 Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT) Convention
  • IEP award recipient recognition at the 2012 CIT Convention
  • An award trophy

Award Submission Deadline

The online application is available below. The deadline for entry submissions is midnight MST April 20, 2012.

To apply please email the application as an attachment to or mail the application to:
SVRS IEP Award of Excellence, 4192 South Riverboat Road, Salt Lake City, Utah 84123

Award Notification of Winners

Winning IEPs will be notified in June 1, 2012. Sorenson Communications will cover the 2012 CIT Convention registration and travel costs for two (2) IEP faculty members from each winning program to attend the convention.

Winners will be recognized publicly at the 2012 CIT Convention. Award funds will be distributed to award recipients by November 30, 2012.

Award Judges

  • Carol J. Patrie, Ph.D., CSC, SC: L, CI, CT

    Carol J. Patrie,Patrie is a national and international expert on interpretation and teaching interpretation. She is Director of Curriculum and Instruction for The Effective Interpreting Professional Education Series™, Language Matters, Inc. though which she offers credit courses for interpreters nationwide. She is a past president of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers and is a recipient of the Mary Stotler Award. In 1998 she was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Faculty award at Gallaudet University where she was professor and director of the MA in Interpretation. She was one of the founding commissioners on the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education. Patrie is the author of the seven-volume series, The Effective Interpreting Series and the video series, Interpreting in Medical, Legal, and Insurance Settings, all published by DawnSignPress. Her most recent release is The Effective Interpreting Series: Cognitive Processing in ASL. She is currently developing a multi-media package focusing on fingerspelled word recognition and the eighth volume in The EIS, Translating from ASL.

  • Leslie C. Greer, M.A., ASLTA: Professional Certificate

    Leslie C. GreerLeslie C. Greer received her MA in Linguistics from the University of Rochester, New York. She holds Professional Certification from the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) and serves as ASLTA certification evaluator. Currently, Leslie is the ASL Department Chair at the Mt. San Jacinto College, Menifee, California. She has held the position of past president of ASLTA for two terms. She has served the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT) as Director of Public Relations and Outreach since 2007. She has presented numerous workshops on teaching sign language, Deaf culture, and linguistics. She also teaches and interprets on a national and international basis. She is fluent in Japanese Sign Language. She also has hosted a weekly TV talk show that uses ASL as the official language and was dubbed the "Deaf Oprah."

  • Sally Koziar, MA, CSC, OI: C, Illinois State License: Master

    Sally KoziarProfessor Koziar has over 20 years of instruction in ASL Studies and ASL Interpretation. Upon retiring as ASL Department Chair/Coordinator of Sign Language Interpreting Program and Assistant to the Dean of Academic Enrichment and Language Studies from William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, she was awarded Professor Emerita status. Since her early retirement she has stayed active in the field of interpreting and focuses primarily on legal, medical and video relay interpreting.

    She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Missouri. While completing her master's degree, she worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the deaf, covering 64 counties in western Missouri. Before transitioning into interpreter education, she began her professional career as a counselor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf where she was responsible for facilitating the persona and social transition for incoming students during the Summer Vestibule Program.

    She is nationally certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and has been active in professional organizations at the local, state and national level. She served as CIT Treasurer and served on the CIT Educational Standards Committee as a rater for the ITP accreditation pilot project. She also served as a curriculum rater for the National Interpreter Education Project, a test developer for the current NAD-RID National Interpreter Certification (NIC) and served on the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Task Force on Interpreter Licensure.

Download IEP Application

Award Criteria

Section 1: Executive Summary

Submit a 500-word summary of your program that highlights the ways in which it demonstrates excellence in interpreter education. Focus specifically on the class of 2011.

Section 2: Curriculum

Definitions of “mentorship”, “practicum” and “internship” are provided below. Please specify which your program has, if it has only one, and provide the relevant details.

  1. Objectives

    Please state the objectives of the curriculum and how they are measured.

  2. Video Relay Service (VRS) Instruction Offered

    Summarize the ways in which the program addresses VRS instruction. Include the approximate number of contact hours in the curriculum that address VRS. Sample topics could include but are not limited to:

    • What a VRS call is and how an interpreter facilitates these types of calls
    • Using VRS technology in an interpreting environment
    • Handling various VRS call scenarios
    • Benefits of working in a VRS environment
    • Hands-on lab environment in which mock VRS calls are conducted with volunteers from local deaf centers
    • Please provide course descriptions for each course that include video relay-related content currently offered, along with the educational objectives for the course
  3. Language Mentorship Opportunities Provided for the Class of 2011 During the Program

    Mentorship is a one-to-one developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable American Sign Language (ASL) or English user helps develop specific ASL or English skills in a less experienced language user. Submit a summary of language mentoring opportunities for students that occur during the program. The summary should answer questions, such as:

    • When was the language mentorship program established?
    • What are the components of the language mentorship program?
    • Does the program address both ASL and English?
    • How many times do language mentorship opportunities appear in the program?
    • How many language mentors are included in the program?
  4. Supervised Practicum for the Class of 2011

    A practicum is typically a course offered during the program that is designed to give students supervised practical experiences in interpreting.

    Submit a summary of supervised student practicum opportunities and processes. See below for a sample outline that shows processes including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Qualifications
    • Interview
    • Observation
    • Training
    • Goal setting
    • Progress assessment
    • Completion guidelines
  5. Service Learning for the Class of 2011

    Service learning fosters civic responsibility through organized internships that foster community service as well as meet the needs of a specific community. Service learning may be coordinated with existing community service programs. Classroom discussions reference and reinforce community-based experiences. (Community Service Act, 1990)

    Describe the service learning component of the curriculum

    • How many hours of service learning did each student provide?
    • Describe the structured reflection aspect of the service learning experience.
  6. Internship for the Class of 2011

    An internship, typically provided after students have completed their course work, provides supervised, real-world interpreting experience with an on-the-job training emphasis. Internships can be paid or unpaid. Sometimes internships can take the form of a course offered at the end of a program that allows the student to work in full- or part-time settings with supervision.

    Provide an executive summary of the internship portion of the curriculum and attach internship requirements and guidelines.

  7. Deaf Community Interaction

    Does the program provide for structured interaction with the local deaf community? If so, please describe how the interaction is structured and how frequently students have interaction with the local deaf community.

  8. Post-Graduate Mentorship Opportunities for the Class of 2011

    Mentorship is a one-to-one developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable interpreter helps develop interpreting skills in a less experienced interpreter.

    Does the IEP offer mentorship opportunities with schools, agencies, private organizations or VRS programs? If so, briefly describe the mentorship program.
  9. Hallmarks of Excellence

    Describe the ways in which your IEP distinguishes itself from other IEPs and why it should receive the SVRS IEP Award of Excellence.

Section 3: Accreditation

  1. Please state which form of accreditation your institution uses and when accreditation was obtained. (e.g. Middle States Accreditation, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, etc.)
  2. If the program has applied for Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) accreditation or other form of program accreditation, please furnish proof of application for accreditation, admission to candidacy or accreditation.

Section 4: Intended Use of Award Funds

Submit an explanation and itemized budget detailing how funds would be used to improve your IEP should it receive the SVRS IEP Award of Excellence. For example, budget descriptions might include, but would not be limited to, purchases of the following:

  • Additional IEP library books and DVDs - please list book and DVD titles
  • ELMO projector(s)
  • Video recording equipment
  • Computers equipped with web cameras
  • Lab equipment
  • Testing tools

Additional uses of funds could include, but would not be limited to, the following:

  • Curriculum revision
  • Practicum enhancement
  • Mentorship enhancement
  • CCIE application and accreditation process, including preparation of the Self Study Report (SSR)
  • Development of intraprogram evaluation and assessment tools

Section 5: Post Graduation Results for the Class of 2011

Submit the following information:

  1. The total number of graduates in 2011.
    • State the total number of students originally in the class of 2011.
    • State the total number of students that graduated from the program in 2011.
  2. The number of 2011 graduates that have either National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), or National Interpreter Certification (NIC) tested or have received state quality assurance screening or certification at an advanced or higher level within six months of program completion. Provide separate numbers on those who have taken the test but are awaiting results.
  3. Include details on the processes the IEP uses to track all graduates' certification attempts or achievements after program completion.
  4. The number of graduates that were gainfully employed in the field of interpreting by Nov. 1, 2011.
  5. Detail the types of employment in which the 2011 graduates are engaged, and indicate which are full-time or part-time.
  6. Include details on the processes the IEP uses to track all students from beginning the program through graduation and gainful employment to their present positions.

Download IEP Application

Past IEP Award Winners

2010 IEP Award of Excellence Winner: Douglas College

2009 IEP Award of Excellence Winner: Georgia Perimeter College

2008 IEP Award of Excellence Winner: Western Oregon University

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