Maryville College has a rich history of teaching American Sign Language (ASL) and partnering with the local Deaf Community. Language and community bind Deaf culture, and the major in ASL & Deaf Studies provides the knowledge and experiences to explore that connection. Our program emphasizes development of fluency in ASL, exploration of the creative expression and structure of the language, and deep knowledge of and interaction with Deaf culture. The major prepares students for further study in Deaf education, linguistics, interpreting, or careers in which interaction with members of the Deaf Community is desired. If you are interested primarily in being an interpreter for the Deaf, Maryville College also has a major in ASL—English Interpreting.
Success in American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies requires being able to perceive signers’ faces, hand movements and body movements and being able to convey and receive ASL through these channels quickly at the natural pace of language. Also essential is the ability to perceive and process visual information and eye-hand coordination that allow effective communication. A good foundation in basic ASL is critical to advancing successfully in the Major in ASL and Deaf Studies.
The Major in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies is intended for those desiring to pursue studies in the areas of linguistics or anthropology at the graduate level or communication skills/cultural knowledge for use in counseling, social work, teaching, working in schools for the Deaf, or other service fields. Audio-visual materials are accessible for individual study of a broad cross-section of communication methods. Interactions with D/deaf and hard-of-hearing persons and regular practice using videotaping equipment are principal means for the development of skills. Successful graduates of the ASL studies major will be able to comfortably communicate in ASL receptively and expressively and to interact comfortably and appropriately in the Deaf community at entry level.