PhD in Public Policy

Regan A. Thibodeau ‘19, ’03

Regan ThidodeauCareer

Current position: ASL Professor and Interpreter, University of Southern Maine

Regan Ann Rae Thibodeau was born in Portland, Maine. After attending Falmouth Schools for 9 years, she transferred and graduated from Washington D.C.’s Model Secondary School for the Deaf in 1997. Regan obtained her first degree in Bachelor of Arts from University of Southern Maine in the Linguistics of American Sign Language and Interpreting, May, 2003 after returning from a 5-month study abroad opportunity in Costa Rica through Gallaudet University. She then went to New York City on a scholarship and earned a Master of Arts in the Teaching of American Sign Language as a Foreign Language from Teachers College at Columbia University May, 2006, six days after graduation she gave birth to her son, Averi McKael. 

Throughout college to now, Regan has worked as a freelance Deaf Interpreter for 19-years in different geographic locations, taught ASL for 22-years at various school districts and colleges, including her alma mater- USM, and has traveled nationally and internationally, advocating for and educating others via presentations, to improve standards in the fields of Sign Language and Interpreting. For example, she joined a team in 2008 to present before the Congress of Peru the importance of recognizing and officializing the language of their Deaf Peruvians as an economic gain for the country, introduced to the Deaf Community about the Deaf Interpreting career, as well as provided a workshop in pedagogy to its Sign Language teachers. A year later she gave birth to her daughter, Sawyre Lin. 

Today she continues to heavily advocate for Language as a Human Right (or Language Rights?) and recently submitted a bill, Kindergarten Readiness for Maine’s Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind Children, for the 2019 Legislative Cycle in hopes to end the prevalence of language deprivation. 

Prior to Doctoral Studies, she founded a page, “ASL Flash” to promote language awareness and ownership to end deficit influence. She also co-authored a researched article, Sign Language Teaching: Training, for The Deaf Studies Encyclopedia. 

Degrees

  • PhD in Public Policy with a concentration in Educational Leadership and policy, University of Southern Maine, 2019
  • MA in the Teaching of American Sign Language as a Foreign Language, Teachers College at Columbia University, 2006,
  • BA in Linguistics, University of Southern Maine, 2003

Dissertation 

Title: Dynamics of Deaf Leadership: A Theoretical Model

Abstract: This emic qualitative research study is based on shared epistemological experiences to describe phenomena and forces surrounding the Dynamics of Deaf Leadership via an adapted Delphi Method. A group of experts, described as those in leadership whether they are in the beginning stages, in the thick of it, or reflecting on past experiences, reflect privately and confer with each other on the proposed Resistance Model. Based on cultural norms etiquette, a survey was sent out to the general public to elicit input from Deaf people on how they define Deaf Leadership. This research study explores the impact of Deaf people, hearing people, and the self on one’s resilience, tenacity, and grit while navigating leadership, and what, if anything, makes the journey to leadership unique for a Deaf person in this social construct we call society.