Western Oregon University Introduces First-in-Region American Sign Language Certificates
MONMOUTH, Ore. — In an era where communication transcends borders and cultures, Western Oregon University (WOU) has taken a momentous step forward. The institution’s Board of Trustees has unanimously greenlighted two pioneering undergraduate certificate programs in American Sign Language (ASL) studies. This visionary move addresses a burgeoning need, aligning with the state’s aspiration for augmented ASL proficiency to cater to contemporary workforce exigencies.
These groundbreaking certificate programs, a first in the region, are thoughtfully structured to cater to both beginners and those with an intermediate grasp of ASL.
The beginner-oriented program is an immersive 18-credit curriculum. With an objective to refine students’ foundational skills in the comprehensive and expressive dimensions of ASL, this program stands out. It offers a trinity of courses exclusively focusing on the vibrant world of American Deaf Culture and the riveting chronicles of American Deaf History.
Mark Girod, the esteemed Dean of Western’s College of Education, elucidated WOU’s long-standing commitment to ASL education. “ASL, impressively, holds its position as the third most prevalent language in the United States. Our institution’s track record in ASL pedagogy is stellar,” Girod stated. He further highlighted the strategic importance of these new academic ventures, noting, “By introducing these certificates, we are charting a course toward a future where a greater number of professionals possess the linguistic acumen to serve our diverse local communities adeptly.”
For those with an appetite for deeper linguistic engagement, the intermediate certificate unveils a comprehensive 34-credit program. This curriculum, rich in content, spans a spectrum of six courses, each delving into facets like visual-gestural communication, the intricate dance of fingerspelling, the nuances of American Deaf Culture, and the historically rich tapestry of American Deaf History. It’s not merely about language proficiency; this program seeks to empower students with a profound appreciation of the Deaf community’s history, culture, and contributions. Such insights are quintessential for those yearning to weave this knowledge into their academic and professional canvases.
Recognizing the evolving needs of its student population, WOU offers these programs at its two strategic locales: the illustrious Monmouth campus and the bustling Salem outpost. Embracing the digital age, Western Oregon University showcases adaptability by presenting both conventional in-person and state-of-the-art online instructional avenues for these certificate programs.
As WOU embarks on this new journey, it reaffirms its position as an academic beacon in the Pacific Northwest. This initiative not only elevates the institution’s stature in ASL pedagogy but promises to shape the linguistic landscapes of countless aspiring professionals. Through this endeavor, WOU underscores its mission to nurture and empower the next generation, ensuring they are well-equipped to navigate and contribute to an inclusive, diverse society.