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Dr. Bill's Bio:

William G. Vicars, Ed.D.


Hello ASL Heroes!
Great to meet you!

I'm Bill Vicars.
My students tend to call me "Dr. Bill" or "Dr. V"
My folks used to call me Billy.
What my wife calls me depends on a number of factors.

I'm president and owner of Lifeprint Institute, a consultation business focusing on technology-enhanced delivery of ASL Instruction, excursion-based instruction (trips to amusement parks), and extended-immersion-based program coordination (intense two-week residencies).  Lifeprint also sponsors "ASL University" which is hosted at Lifeprint.com.

For many years I was a full-time, tenured, full-professor of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at California State University, Sacramento.

I am Deaf.  I was born hard-of-hearing and have become more Deaf throughout the years.  I live in the Deaf World (e.g. married to a Deaf woman, use ASL, work in the field of Deaf-Studies, worship at a Deaf church, hang out with Deaf friends, and devote my time to developing ASL-related resources for others, etc.).

I began my ASL journey in my youth from a Deaf woman (Kathy Hadfield-Erwin) who lived in the same small town (in northern Utah) where I grew up. 

Forgive this next bit of information (I share it because some people want to know their instructor's qualifications).

Some of my degrees and certifications (past and/or present) include:

A doctorate in Deaf Studies & Deaf Education from Lamar University (accredited), a masters in Deaf Education (accredited), MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer), A+ (COMPTia Computer Technician), N+ (Network Technician), former ASLTA certification (American Sign Language Teachers Association), and "EdNet" (Distance Education Certificate). Most of which have probably expired (except the degrees, last I checked they don't have an expiration date).

Some of my current and/or past experiences and qualifications include:

- Over 25 years experience as a university-level ASL instructor
- Authored and self-published "Sign Me Up!"  (A really cool 212-page ASL Guide and activity book. Sorry, sold out all 3,000 copies--but I turned it into the Lifeprint website.)
- Directed an 18-month (accelerated) Interpreter Training Program (by request from Davis County School District in Utah).
- Co-chaired the Disability Law Center's Consumer Advisory Council (UT)
- Served a term as an elected board member of the Utah Association for the Deaf
- Parent of a child who attended the Utah State School for the Deaf pre-school program
- Set up and directed a not-for-profit a 501(c)(3) organization to improve Deaf access to services
- Served as Advisor to the Sign Language Association (ASL Club) at Weber State University (an award winning organization).
- As far as I know, I was the first ASL instructor from Utah to earn certification from the American Sign Language Teachers Association. A bit of nostalgia for you -- way back when I first joined ASLTA they called themselves S.I.G.N. (Sign Instructors Guidance Network).

Yadda, yadda, yadda... and a bunch of other stuff. 

For quite a few years I served as Coordinator of the ASL and Deaf Studies Program at California State University, Sacramento where I teach a variety of Deaf Studies courses and topics, (ASL linguistics, Classifiers, Medical Signing, etc.).  Don't let the "Coordinator" title impress you. It was just code for "work harder with no extra pay." My colleagues and I tend take turns being coordinator every few years and I was glad to do my part several times.

For over ██ years ... quite a while now I've enjoyed being married to a wonderful lady named Bee.  We have four terrific orangutans, ... er, kids.

My wife also teaches ASL. She is an awesome teacher by the way. (She probably even a better ASL teacher than I am -- but at least I tell better jokes. Or maybe she is just being polite when she laughs? Hmmm. Gotta think on that.)  She was born deaf as a result of the rubella epidemic of the mid 60's. (Whoopsie, gave away her approximate age.  Shhhh, act surprised if she ever mentions her age to you.)  She attended a day-program for the Deaf in Bakersfield, California.  She learned ASL prior to learning how to talk.  She has taught college ASL classes and numerous community education ASL courses for many years.  She's a wonderful mom, and is rumored to be a great cook. Once in a while I let her beat me in Scrabble (it is good for her self-esteem).

People ask us if our children are Deaf.

I tell them my kids are "hard of listening" (heh).  [That isn't a technical term folks.]  The older three have normal hearing (when they want to). They understand ASL quite well and tend to sign when they want something.  The youngest, Sarah, is Deaf/hh.  She also has Apert's syndrome. But she is a bundle of joy and energy. (She's a brave, spunky young lady I'll tell you.)   She attended the Utah State School for the Deaf pre-school day-program. Then she attended a program at a local charter school prior to attending and graduating from a public high school in Sacramento and is now in college studying metaphysics ...er... I mean the metaverse -- or meta-something.

We share a home in Sacramento, California with several small furry creatures. (Pets! The pets are furry, not the kids).

Dr. Bill


Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: Are you Deaf and are you a member of the Deaf Community?

Answer: I was born hard-of-hearing and as time goes on I become more and more physically Deaf. I live in the Deaf World. I married a Deaf woman, work in the field of Deaf-Studies, hang out with people who can sign, use close-captioning (or subtitles) seek out open captioned movies, watch the news in ASL, lived in Benson Hall at Gallaudet University (studied while doing an internship in D.C.), use an interpreter when I attend faculty meetings, have a text-only (no-voice minutes) phone, and devote my time to developing ASL-related resources for others.

I've lived my life serving in Deaf organizations, setting up Deaf events, working with other Deaf, teaching ASL, teaching Deaf Studies, etc.) I met my wife (Belinda at a Deaf church. Our youngest child, Sarah (our fourth) was born with a substantial hearing loss due to having Aperts (a rare syndrome) attended the Utah State School for the Deaf pre-school program. Almost all of my close friends and associates are either Deaf or strongly tied to the Deaf Community.

Question: Are you certified?

Answer: I hold a doctorate in Deaf Education / Deaf Studies from an accredited university (Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas). I also hold a masters in Deaf Education from Lamar university. As far as I know, I was the first person from Utah to become ASLTA certified. I was previously a member of ASLTA back when they were still S.I.G.N. (Sign Instructors Guidance Network). I'm now in California.

Question: Where did you learn ASL?

Answer: Growing up in a small town I started learning ASL from a Deaf woman, (Kathy Hadfield. She later married Mark Erwin -- so she is now Kathy Erwin.) As I grew older I became fully immersed in the Deaf Community, lived with Deaf roommates, hung out with other Deaf people, read every ASL book I could lay my hands on, and took as many formal (and informal) classes as I could find -- eventually leading to a doctorate degree in Deaf Education / Deaf Studies. Here are a few of the experiences that influenced me:

* Worked as a volunteer at the the Indiana School for the Deaf (as a teacher's assistant in Laura Gaalema's third grade class)
* Worked as a volunteer for GLAD Orange County Outreach in California
* Worked as a volunteer the (former) Indiana Branch Office of the National Association of the Deaf
* Lived on-campus at Gallaudet University during a summer internship program
* Took night classes at the Oregon School for the Deaf (Salem).
* Participated in hundreds of hours of "American Judicial System" - related ASL training at California State University Northridge
* Attended many (!) workshops
* Researched ASL Linguistics, ASL acquisition, and Computer Assisted Language Learning during my doctoral studies Lamar University
* Directed "immersion excursions" to exciting places with Deaf co-hosts for several decades
* Directed an interpreter-training program for Davis County School District during which I interviewed, hired, and worked closely with many (around 30) Deaf guest-speakers and/or trainers
* Many years of discussing the nuances of ASL with d/Deaf colleagues at work and online.

Question: What kind of experience do you have teaching ASL?

Answer: I taught ASL at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah for over a decade. I have taught ASL classes and/or workshops at the Utah Community Center for the Deaf, the IRS, Hill Air Force Base, Defense Depot Ogden Utah, Mills Montessori School, the Newgate Mall, Your Community Connection of Ogden, Clearfield Community Schools, Davis County School District, Weber County School District, Ogden City Corporation, The Sign Language Studio, Lifeprint Institute, Lamar University in Beaumont Texas, The Sign Language Association, ASL University, California State University--Sacramento, and dozens of other places. As of this writing I am a full-time, tenured, full professor of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. Teaching ASL is my life's work.

Update: Since I wrote the above, I've added "Guyana, South America" to the list. Guyana was by far the hardest work -- and the most fun.]

Update: Add Singapore to the list. I've done two separate week-long sign language-related workshops for the National Association for the Deaf (in Singapore).
 


Question:  I read somewhere that you got a degree from ___________ University. I'm thinking about going with them. Do you think that program is worth while? t is certainly more affordable then other programs. Are they fairly well accepted in the professional field?  

ANSWER:  No. Don't go with ___________.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time to go with ___________ since they were (and I believe still are) approved by the California State Board of Education.  Of the various degrees out there I (at first) thought they were a good choice.

It was a mistake.  I ended up repenting of that mistake by going BACK to school at an accredited university for three more years to get an accredited doctorate degree.

I went back to school because it became evident to me that to have "rock solid" credibility I'd have to have a degree from an accredited college. It is that simple.

So, the second time around I chose Lamar University (in Beaumont, Texas) because of their excellent program and consistent support for best practices in Deaf Education. They are innovative and were willing to let me develop new ideas and technology.  Going back to school meant selling my house (at a $30,000 loss) and moving my family of six half-way across the country -- but it was worth it. I'm glad I made the sacrifice and invested the effort.

Note: These days there are a number of accredited doctoral programs out there now with minimal residency requirements that are certainly worth checking into.  Belinda completed an accredited bachelors degree in Creative Writing from a distance education program offered by Union Institute (an affiliate of Vermont College).  Then she went on to earn an accredited Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing through a program in Oregon that combined distance education with summer residencies.  It worked out very well.
 


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*  Also check out Dr. Bill's channel: www.youtube.com/billvicars
 


You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University  
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com    Dr. William Vicars 
 


You can learn sign language online at American Sign Language University
hosted by Lifeprint.com Dr. William Vicars