Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Deaf of Deaf: The Ascribed Leaders of the American Deaf Community
A Case Study

JoAnn Lynette Smith
Regent University

This qualitative case study examines and describes the how of leadership selection by identifying the criteria used by members of the American Deaf Community (ADC) in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Community and the phenomenon of the inherited position of leadership ascribed to Deaf individuals with a Deaf heritage. Results of this research indicated that (a) American Sign Language (ASL) is the dominate criterion for the selection of Minneapolis/St. Paul ADC leaders, (b) unhindered ASL language acquisition and early exposure to Deaf peers creates the optimum environment for leadership development, (c) servant leadership is an ADC leadership criterion, (d) ascribed leadership is significant in the social stratification of the DC, and (e) a hierarchy of leadership does exist in the DC.