Paula Berwanger Recieves 2022 Individual Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education
Paula Berwanger is a Lecturer IV in the Residential College who specializes in American Sign Language and Deaf Culture.
For over two decades, she has worked to develop a unique and highly consequential curriculum for ASL at the University of Michigan. In addition to classroom instruction, Paula has been instrumental in making the University more accommodating for Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members. She has consistently advocated for members of the Deaf community both within and beyond U-M.
Paula's classroom is, "immersive, developing a strong sense of community among students and challenging [students] to learn ASL while deeply understanding and respecting the integrity of Deaf culture."
As an instructor, Paula has deeply affected a great many students’ lives for the better. Her students describe her a a passionate, dedicated, and caring teacher, advisor, and mentor who forms strong personal connections with each individual student.
A former student wrote, “In Professor Berwanger’s class, ASL is a living, breathing language that students are given the opportunity to experience.”
Paula has been teaching American Sign Language and Deaf Culture at the University of Michigan since establishing the ASL Program for undergraduate language study in the College of LSA in 1999. She is also the coordinator of ASL placement evaluation for the placement of incoming students in ASL classes.
Her research interests are in the areas of adult second-language learning of ASL by English speakers and language assessment. She has conducted numerous seminars and workshops related to teaching and learning American Sign Language for students, interpreters, and teachers of ASL.