Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education Association Recognizes Warner Student

Deirdre Schlehofer, a researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in the National Center for Deaf Health Research and a doctoral candidate in teaching and curriculum at the Warner School of Education, is one of this year’s recipients for the Outstanding Adult Student Award given by the Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education (RACCE) Association. This award recognizes adult students from eight area colleges who have successfully combined their study with other responsibilities, such as family, job, career, and the community.

Upon learning about the accelerated teaching and curriculum program at Warner, Schlehofer said that she seized the opportunity for herself and hopes that it will open doors for many more deaf professional women. Through her doctoral research, “Measuring Gains in Literacy of Deaf Preschoolers: An Action Research study,” she is working to improve the effectiveness of the Shared Reading Program (SRP). SRP is a program designed to teach hearing parents of young deaf children how to read books to them. Using a sample of four parents, their deaf children, and a deaf tutor, the overarching question in her study is how to best develop an assessment toolkit that hearing parents can use to evaluate their deaf child’s literacy and how the toolkit can lead to meaningful shared reading events.

In addition to her responsibilities as a student, Schlehofer has faced a number of personal and professional challenges over the past three years, including a new job and serious family health concerns. Schlehofer explains that she has not let these issues interfere with her goals.

“There were a few times when I felt like I could not make it, but my will power has sustained me throughout,” she says. “I owe great thanks to my husband, who has stood by me all the way, to my family and friends for their wonderful support, and also to the Warner School faculty who believed in my abilities from the beginning.”

Martha Mock, assistant professor in teaching and curriculum, says that “amidst all of this, Deirdre has never missed a deadline and is a strong writer and scholar. We are confident that her research will continue to have a positive impact on the field of deaf literacy and culture.”

A resident of Fairport, N.Y., Schlehofer has 16 years of experience teaching students and children in the U.S., U.K., and Zimbabwe in cross-cultural and cross-linguistic environments. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Bristol, England. Schlehofer will graduate in May.


Tags: award, literacy, Martha Mock, teaching and curriculum