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Published September 17, 2019
A new certificate program at the University of Wyoming will prepare future professionals in health and education fields to communicate with and understand people who are deaf.
The Division of Communication Disorders in the College of Health Sciences will offer an American Sign Language (ASL) studies certificate program, following approval by the UW Board of Trustees last week.
“Participation in the certificate program will allow students to develop a specialty while demonstrating a unique skill set and cultural knowledge,” Provost Kate Miller says. “This specialty certificate is an important part of our program portfolio and will advance the university’s statewide educational attainment goal.”
While many students already take ASL classes at UW to meet language requirements or as electives, the new certificate program offers advanced coursework and training. It will be of particular interest to students in the fields of speech-language pathology, sign language interpreter, deaf educator, preschool and K-12 education, audiology, nursing, counseling and other areas.
For this 16-credit certificate, students will take three sign language courses, a “Deaf Studies” course and an “ASL Teaching Assistant” course. The certificate program is open to students across campus and majors. About 25 percent of the program will be completed through online enrollment, and the Division of Communication Disorders will pilot offering its ASL introductory course online next summer, with the hope of reaching people across the state who are interested in learning ASL.
“The Division of Communication Disorders began to offer ASL in 1979, so this year marks the 40-year anniversary of ASL at UW,” says the division’s director, Mark Guiberson. “It seems only appropriate that we move forward with this new level of ASL education and training as our fifth decade begins.”
Students may begin pursuing the certificate during the current fall 2019 semester, and the first section of “Deaf Studies” will be open for enrollment during the 2019-2020 J-term.