Myra Taff-Watson, M.A., CSC, after 24 years of service, retired from UA Little Rock in June 2006 with Faculty Emeritus status. She was an Assistant Professor with tenure and served as the Program Coordinator of the Interpreter Education Program (IEP) from 1982-2004. She authored and was awarded over $8 million in federal grants to UA Little Rock over 20 years to train interpreters in a 5-state region (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX) under five RSA grants (1985-2010), and under six OSEP grants (1991-2006), federal funds sponsored students’ tuition for A.A. and B.A. degrees in educational interpreting. She serves as a member of the IEP Advisory Council. She has 42+ years of professional experience in deafness, interpreter education, deaf-blindness, and ASL instruction, as well as extensive experience in interpreting across a wide range of settings and occasions, including educational interpreting with children, youth and adults who are deaf, deaf-blind and or hard of hearing. She is a nationally recognized educator/trainer of interpreters and provided over 260 national, regional and local level in-service workshops on accessibility, ASL, interpreting, conference interpreting, and other special setting interpreting.
Myra is the author of over 200 articles, chapters, and monographs on deafness and interpreting; continues to serve on the Editorial Boards or national journals. She is the Editor of the ARIDian News and Views since 1987 (Arkansas Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf) and former Co-Editor, 1987-2001, of the CIT News (Conference of Interpreter Trainers). She has served as a Commissioner for the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE), the national accrediting body for Interpreter Education programs. Over a span of 25 years, she has served on a variety of federal/national/statewide advisory councils, including the 5-year National Multi-Cultural Interpreter Training Project, the 5-year National Training of Interpreters for Individuals who are Deaf-Blind Project, the Arkansas Coalition for the Education of Students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and service on the Arkansas Department of Education 2007 Committee on Educational Interpreter Standards. For 15+ years she coordinated the Certification Maintenance Program for ARID as an RID Approved Sponsor/
Myra is the recipient of numerous community and university awards, such as, the Gloria Wright Award (2005) for outstanding and dedicated service to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Arkansans; recognition in 2004 by Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, for 20 years of Scholarship and Leadership; the RID Silver Scribe Award for Outstanding Newsletter (2001-2003); the College of Education and the University Excellence in Public Service (1989) and the College of Education Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activities (1994); the RID Outstanding Public Service Award (2001-2003 & 2003-2005) as a peer reviewer for the JOI Board of Editors; the RID/CIT Mary Stotler Award (1994) for outstanding contributions to the fields of interpretation and interpreter education; the ARID Distinguished Service as President (1983-1987); the UA Little Rock Certificate of Appreciation for Service to School of Engineering Technology (1987); the City of LR Certificate of Appreciation for Service (1986); and the Arkansas Coalition for the Handicapped Certificate of Appreciation for Service (1985, 1986).
Myra previously owned and operated Communication Plus+ Interpreter Services, Inc., a statewide interpreter service and an inter-state research entity. She continues to provide internship opportunities for students of the UA Little Rock-IEP. She is actively involved in numerous leadership roles in interpreter organizations nationally and locally and is currently serving on a variety of committees for the Arkansas Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (ARID). She has served as President, Vice-President, Secretary, Program Chair, Biennial Conference Chair for ARID.
Myra holds a M.A. (1975) in Rehabilitation Counseling/Deafness with a minor in Deaf Education from New York University, completed her doctoral work in Deafness Rehabilitation, and holds the CSC certificate (1978) from RID, Inc. Her professional experience includes working as the communication specialist in deaf-blindness for the Helen Keller National Center, as a certified teacher of the deaf in NYC public schools, and as an interpreter. She is married to Dr. Douglas Watson, former Director of the Research and Training Center for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and has three children, three grandchildren and one great grandson; her husband, one daughter, and one grandson are deaf, and one daughter is hard of hearing.