Earn a degree in ASL Education

As a student in Madonna’s ASL Education program, you will be part of a community on the cutting edge of ASL Education and Deaf studies in Michigan. You will be provided with all of the resources you need to develop your signing skills, prepare for the ASL proficiency test required as part of the State of Michigan’s endorsement process for teaching ASL, and gain diverse skills that will give you an advantage as a future educator. Madonna is the only university in Michigan to offer a bachelor’s degree in ASL Education, when you choose Madonna, you are choosing the leader in the field.

Founded in 1975, The Sign Language Studies (SLS) department at Madonna University offers students an opportunity to develop American Sign Language (ASL) skills while providing an understanding of the language and its community. Through extensive training and practice over four years, students will develop the interpreting skills needed to become a professional sign language interpreter.



Student Success

Lindsey Wiegand

Lindsey Wiegand

Lindsey Wiegand ’07 was accepted into graduate school at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. after earning a degree in Sign Language Interpreting Studies from Madonna University. After graduating with her Masters of Arts in Interpreting from Gallaudet, Lindsey moved back to Michigan where she has been working as a freelance American Sign Language/English interpreter.

As a nationally certified interpreter, some of the types of interpreting settings where Lindsey works include post-secondary, K-12 education, and medical. In addition to freelance interpreting, Lindsey also presents professional development workshops and mentors novice interpreters.

Regarding her time at Madonna, Lindsey commented, “The faculty definitely made the experience special for me. They taught me so much and I am fortunate enough to have stayed in contact with them as professional peers!” She added that she feels blessed to be able to have the job that she does and is “…humbled every day that the Deaf community allows me to be a part of the most intimate moments of their lives…I love learning from the community in every interaction I have with them.”


Full-time Faculty and Staff

Daniel McDougall, Ph.D,  CSCChair and Associate Professor

Ph.D.,  Heriot-Watt University

M.A., Oakland University

B.A., Madonna University


734-432-5618, 1405

Daniel McDougall, Ph.D,  CSC

Dan McDougall, CSC, is the chair of the Sign Language Studies department. He joined the full time faculty of Madonna University in 2007. He has been a certified interpreter since 1986, specializing in shadowed interpreting for the theatre.

Dan founded TerpTheatre, and is an internationally recognized authority on interpreted theatre (see www.terptheatre.com). He has an extensive background in nonprofit program development and fundraising. He is an alumnus of the SLS department (1986), and holds an MA in Linguistics from Oakland University (1991).

The SLS department awarded him Distinguished Alumnus in 2005. He teaches in the areas of interpretation, advanced American Sign Language, and linguistics.

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Jennifer Berrigan Assistant Professor

M.A., Gallaudet University

B.S., Gallaudet University


VP: 734.666.3071, 1405

Jennifer Berrigan 

 Jennifer Berrigan is an Assistant Professor in the Sign Language Studies department. A Michigan School for the Deaf alumni, Jennifer attended Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. In 2005, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She continued for her master’s degree in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University and graduated in 2017.

Amongst her education, she worked as an intern at Tufts University and James Madison University. She also has worked as the SLPI Coordinator for the MI Department of Education LIO. In 2015, Berrigan competed as a snowboarder at the Winter Deaflympics. Berrigan is no stranger to teaching higher education, working most recently as an ASL instructor in Arizona and Michigan.

Berrigan’s goal is to promote better communication access to foster a stronger educational based future for Deaf children.

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Bretagne WhitfordAssistant Professor

M.S., Rochester Institute of Technology

B.S., Rochester Institute of Technology


VP: 734.237.3058, 1405

Bretagne Whitford

Bretagne Whitford is an Assistant Professor in the Sign Language Studies department. Bretagne went to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. In 2009, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration and Public Policy. She continued on for her master’s degree in Deaf Education, acquired in 2011.

Amongst her education, she worked in a research lab and acquired her research interest in deaf children and the familial characteristics that would have an impact on their literacy. She also takes a fascination with ASL assessments and how to accurately document an individual’s ASL proficiency. She had a paper published in 2011 titled Deaf Individuals’ Bilingual Abilities: American Sign Language Proficiency, Reading Skills, and Family Characteristics in Psychology Journal (Vol. 2, No 1, 18-32).

She takes pride teaching sign language particularly, keen to the fact that she is their Deaf role model and provides the students with the appropriate mental and language framework as they enter the Deaf community.

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Katie FitzpatrickAssistant Professor and Interpreter

NIC Advanced, BEI III

B.S., Ferris State University

M.A., Gallaudet University


734-432-5617, 1405

Katie Fitzpatrick

Katie Fitzpatrick, MA, NIC-A, BEI III, is the newly christened embedded interpreter within the SLS Department, and an Assistant Professor for the interpreting courses in the program. Katie has been with the program for years as an adjunct and recently expanded the role into full time status here at Madonna.

Katie has founded ASLVillage.com and is an accomplished teacher, presenter, mentor, and guide - focusing on helping students and interpreters develop their linguistic skills and prepare for certification with a focus on growth and grace.

Earning a M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet has greatly influenced their understanding of the technical considerations of language, but 16 years of professional experience as a natinoally certified interpreter has helped them recognize the realistic applications of everyday language use as well.

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Zachary CebulskiCoordinator

B.A., Madonna University

A.A., Schoolcraft Community College


734-432-5616, 1405

Zachary Cebulski

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Adjunct Faculty

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Cheryl A. AirgoodSLS Instructor

B.A., Madonna University

M.A., Eastern Michigan


M.A., Wayne State 


Cheryl A. Airgood

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Fr. Michael DepcikSLS Instructor

B.A., Gallaudet University

M.A., Gallaudet University

M.Div., Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary


Fr. Michael Depcik

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Mary Ann DeVos, BEI ISLS Instructor

B.S., Eastern Michigan

M.Ed., Lewis and Clark College


Mary Ann DeVos, BEI I

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Barbara Hinson, CSCSLS Instructor

B.A., University of North Florida


Barbara Hinson, CSC

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Miriam Horwitz, NICSLS Instructor

B.A., American University

M.A.I., Gallaudet University


Miriam Horwitz, NIC

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Michael Meldrum, NICSLS Instructor

B.S., Eastern Michigan University

M.A., Gallaudet University


Michael Meldrum, NIC

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Sharon MeldrumSLS Instructor

B.A., Gallaudet University

M.A., Eastern Michigan University


Sharon Meldrum

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Bridget Mangiardi, BEI IISLS Instructor

B.A., Madonna University

M.A. TESOL, Madonna University


Bridget Mangiardi, BEI II

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Leslie PertzSLS Instructor

B.A., Central Michigan University

A.S., Oakland Community College


Leslie Pertz

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