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American Sign Language

Director, Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

  • Russell Ganim

Coordinator, American Sign Language Program

  • Richard Hurtig

Affiliated faculty

  • Douglas Baynton (History), Rebecca Furland (World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), Freeman Harper (World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), Richard Hurtig (International Programs/Communication Sciences and Disorders), AmyRuth McGraw (Communication Sciences and Disorders), Kelly Neppl (World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), Timothy Sheets (World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), Robert Vizzini (World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
Undergraduate minor: American Sign Language
Undergraduate certificate: American Sign Language and deaf studies
Web site: http://clas.uiowa.edu/dwllc/asl

The American Sign Language Program offers two undergraduate programs of study. It also offers a number of courses open to all students. They include a four-semester course sequence in American Sign Language (ASL), courses for teacher licensure (see "Hearing Impaired Endorsement for Teachers" below), and courses on fingerspelling, deaf culture, ASL literature, ASL interpreting, and other topics. The four-course ASL sequence satisfies the World Languages requirement of the General Education Program (see "Language for General Education" below). Classroom instruction is supplemented by video materials and interactive software in the Language Media Center.

The American Sign Language Program is one of the academic units in the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Hearing Impaired Endorsement for Teachers

The American Sign Language Program offers courses that fulfill requirements for the Hearing Impaired Endorsement offered by the College of Education. The University of Iowa currently is the only institution in Iowa that offers this endorsement program. Holders of the endorsement are authorized to serve deaf and hard-of-hearing students from birth to age 21. The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students; applicants must hold or be in the process of completing requirements for an elementary or secondary teaching license. Contact the College of Education Office of Education Services to learn more.

Undergraduate Programs of Study

  • Certificate in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies
  • Minor in American Sign Language

Certificate

The Certificate in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies requires 34 s.h. The certificate program is open to current University of Iowa undergraduate students and to all individuals who hold a bachelor's degree and are not enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate. Completion of the certificate is noted on the student's transcript; it confirms for potential employers and prospective graduate schools that the student has specialized knowledge in the field.

Students may earn the Certificate in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies or the minor in American Sign Language, but not both.

The certificate program teaches students about the history, culture, and language of the American deaf community. It is interdisciplinary, permitting students to link study in two or more disciplines into an organized investigation of a language and culture. Through their study of American Sign Language, students learn a language that is semantically and grammatically very different from their own and that operates in a different sensory channel. They also encounter a rich and complex culture, including a rapidly growing literature recorded on film and videotape since the early 20th century.

Certificate requirements include the four-course American Sign Language sequence (16 s.h.) or demonstration of equivalent proficiency; 6 s.h. of core courses; and 12 s.h. of focused electives in two or more disciplines.

Students may use each course required for the certificate to satisfy only one certificate requirement. But they may use a course to satisfy a certificate requirement as well as a requirement for a major or for a minor in another discipline. Courses used to satisfy certificate requirements may not be taken pass/nonpass.

A maximum of 6 s.h. of transfer credit may be accepted toward certificate requirements, with the approval of the American Sign Language and deaf studies advisor.

Students must declare their intention to pursue the certificate with the American Sign Language and deaf studies advisor. They also must submit a plan of study.

The Certificate in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies requires the following course work.

Language Sequence

Certificate students must complete the following sequence or be able to demonstrate equivalent proficiency. Students must demonstrate 75 percent proficiency in the expressive and receptive elements of each course in order to register for the next course in the sequence.

158:011 (ASL:1001) American Sign Language I4 s.h.
158:012 (ASL:1002) American Sign Language II4 s.h.
158:013 (ASL:2001) American Sign Language III4 s.h.
158:014 (ASL:2002) American Sign Language IV4 s.h.
Core Courses

Students complete at least two of these (minimum of 6 s.h.):

158:100 (ASL:4201)/16A:104 (HIST:4201) History of the American Deaf Community3-4 s.h.
158:101 (ASL:3200) Topics in Deaf Studies3 s.h.
158:102 (ASL:3300) American Deaf Culture3 s.h.
158:103 (ASL:3600) American Sign Language Literature3 s.h.
158:104 (ASL:3400) Issues in ASL and Deaf Studies3 s.h.
158:105 (ASL:3500) Deafness in the Media3 s.h.
158:106 (ASLE:2500) Introduction to ASL Interpreting3 s.h.
158:110 (ASLE:3905)/07U:110 (EDTL:3905) Teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students3-4 s.h.
158:111 (ASL:3100) American Sign Language Conversation3 s.h.
Focused Electives

Students earn a total of at least 12 s.h. in courses chosen from the lists below. They must choose courses from at least two different disciplines.

American Studies
045:001 (AMST:1010) Understanding American Cultures3 s.h.
045:025 (AMST:2025) Diversity and American Identities3 s.h.
Anthropology 
113:014 (ANTH:1401) Language, Culture, and Communication3 s.h.
113:045 (ANTH:1040) Language Rights3 s.h.
Communication Sciences and Disorders 
003:117 (CSD:3117) Psychology of Language3 s.h.
003:118 (CSD:3118) Language Acquisition1-3 s.h.
003:185 (CSD:3185) Hearing Loss and Audiometry3 s.h.
English
08P:182 (ENGL:3190) Language and Learning2-3 s.h.
History 
16A:104 (HIST:4201)/158:100 (ASL:4201) History of the American Deaf Community3-4 s.h.
16A:106 (HIST:4203) Disability in American History3 s.h.
Linguistics 
103:011 (LING:1010) Language and Society3 s.h.
103:020 (LING:1020) Introduction to the Study of Language3 s.h.
103:045 (LING:1040) Language Rights3 s.h.
103:055 (LING:1060) Languages of the World3 s.h.
103:100 (LING:3001) Introduction to Linguistics3 s.h.
103:137 (LING:3670) Language Processes3 s.h.
103:150 (LING:3100) Language and Gender3 s.h.
103:156 (LING:3030) Child Language-Linguistic Perspectives3 s.h.
103:157 (LING:4080) Linguistic Theory and Second Language Acquisition3 s.h.
103:172 (LING:3117) Psychology of Language3 s.h.
103:176 (LING:3118) Language Acquisition1-3 s.h.
Psychology
031:122 (PSY:3085) Language Development3 s.h.
031:137 (PSY:3670) Language Processes3 s.h.
Social Work
042:147 (SSW:3847) Discrimination, Oppression, and Diversity3 s.h.
Special Education
07B:180 (EPLS:4180) Human Relations for the Classroom Teacher3 s.h.
07S:182 (EDTL:3382) Language and Learning2-3 s.h.
07U:100 (EDTL:4900) Foundations of Special Education (requires admission to Teacher Education Program)3 s.h.
07U:110 (EDTL:3905) Teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students3-4 s.h.
07U:133 (EDTL:3933) The Culturally Different in Diverse Settings3 s.h.
07U:140 (EDTL:4940) Characteristics of Disabilities3 s.h.

Minor

The minor in American Sign Language requires 15 s.h. of ASL course work, including 12 s.h. in courses numbered 100 or above taken at The University of Iowa, except 158:106 (ASLE:2500) Introduction to ASL Interpreting, which does not count toward the minor. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in the minor. Course work in the minor may not be taken pass/nonpass. The minor must include 158:014 (ASL:2002) American Sign Language IV or demonstrated equivalent proficiency. Students may count a maximum of one course taught in English toward the minor, 158:100 (ASL:4201) History of the American Deaf Community or 158:110 (ASLE:3905) Teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students, and must enroll in the 4 s.h. option with discussion conducted in ASL.

Students may earn the minor in American Sign Language or the Certificate in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, but not both.

Language for General Education

The following four-course sequence satisfies the World Languages requirement of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences General Education Program. Students must demonstrate 75 percent proficiency in the expressive and receptive elements of each course in order to register for the next course in the sequence.

158:011 (ASL:1001) American Sign Language I4 s.h.
158:012 (ASL:1002) American Sign Language II4 s.h.
158:013 (ASL:2001) American Sign Language III4 s.h.
158:014 (ASL:2002) American Sign Language IV4 s.h.


Courses

158:011 (ASL:1001) American Sign Language I4 s.h.
Conversational skills, basic grammar of ASL; introduction to the ASL cultural community through readings, videos. Taught in American Sign Language. First in a four‑semester sequence. GE: World Languages First Level Proficiency.
 
158:012 (ASL:1002) American Sign Language II4 s.h.
Continuation of 158:011 (ASL:1001); emphasis on ASL grammar and syntax; focus on culture through readings, videos. Taught in American Sign Language. Prerequisites: 158:011 (ASL:1001). GE: World Languages Second Level Proficiency.
 
158:013 (ASL:2001) American Sign Language III4 s.h.
Continuation of 158:012 (ASL:1002); emphasis on ASL grammar and syntax; focus on culture through readings, videos. Taught in American Sign Language. Prerequisites: 158:012 (ASL:1002). GE: World Languages Second Level Proficiency.
 
158:014 (ASL:2002) American Sign Language IV4 s.h.
Continuation of 158:013 (ASL:2001). Taught in American Sign Language. Prerequisites: 158:013 (ASL:2001). GE: World Languages Fourth Level Proficiency.
 
158:015 (ASL:1101) Fingerspelling and Numbers I1 s.h.
Development of expressive and receptive American Sign Language fingerspelling, loan sign, and number skills based on word, phrase, and number recognition. Eight weeks. Prerequisites: 158:011 (ASL:1001).
 
158:016 (ASL:1102) Fingerspelling and Numbers II1 s.h.
Development of expressive and receptive American Sign Language fingerspelling, loan sign, and number skills based on word, phrase, and number recognition. Eight weeks. Prerequisites: 158:015 (ASL:1101).
 
158:100 (ASL:4201) History of the American Deaf Community3-4 s.h.
Creation of a distinct language and culture of deaf people in America during the 19th and 20th centuries. Taught in American Sign Language. Prerequisites: 158:014 (ASL:2002). Same as 16A:104 (HIST:4201).
 
158:101 (ASL:3200) Topics in Deaf Studies3 s.h.
Current topics in deaf studies; skill development in communicative fluency in ASL. Taught in American Sign Language. Corequisites: 158:014 (ASL:2002), if not taken as a prerequisite.
 
158:102 (ASL:3300) American Deaf Culture3 s.h.
Cultural practices, beliefs, values of the American deaf community. Taught in American Sign Language. Corequisites: 158:014 (ASL:2002), if not taken as a prerequisite.
 
158:103 (ASL:3600) American Sign Language Literature3 s.h.
Introduction to the world of ASL literature, as recorded on videotape or film and in live performance; traditional folklore, storytelling, poetry, drama, oratory, jokes, and nonfiction narrative; analysis of genres in their social and cultural contexts as expressions of deaf experience; how historical and current issues in deaf culture are represented in literary form. Taught in American Sign Language. Corequisites: 158:014 (ASL:2002), if not taken as a prerequisite.
 
158:104 (ASL:3400) Issues in ASL and Deaf Studies3 s.h.
Current issues in American Sign Language and the American deaf community, such as linguistics, culture, literacy. Corequisites: 158:014 (ASL:2002), if not taken as a prerequisite.
 
158:105 (ASL:3500) Deafness in the Media3 s.h.
Exploration of the construct of deafness through mainstream media (e.g., commercial television, movies, fictional and nonfictional literature in print and on the Internet); various ways deaf people are constructed and presented for hearing audiences from the past 20 years, including deaf as long‑suffering victims, deaf as heroes overcoming adversity, deaf as rebels against the mainstream, and deaf as lonely outcasts.  Taught in American Sign Language. Prerequisites: 158:014 (ASL:2002).
 
158:106 (ASLE:2500) Introduction to ASL Interpreting3 s.h.
Introduction to sign language interpreting; history and current nature of the field, available opportunities, certification, training, ethics. Corequisites: 158:013 (ASL:2001), if not taken as a prerequisite.
 
158:108 (ASL:3800) Independent Studyarr.
An American Sign Language/deaf studies topic; individual study.
 
158:110 (ASLE:3905) Teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students3-4 s.h.
Issues in deaf education—management techniques, communication strategies, teaching strategies, instructional materials, hands‑on activities, assessments, parent involvement; use of technology, ethnic and cultural diversity, classroom management, pre‑reading techniques, literacy development, educational program options. Taught in American Sign Language. Corequisites: 158:014 (ASL:2002), if not taken as a prerequisite. Same as 07U:110 (EDTL:3905).
 
158:111 (ASL:3100) American Sign Language Conversation3 s.h.
Improvement of receptive and expressive conversational ASL skills through small group discussion, class presentations. Taught in American Sign Language. Corequisites: 158:014 (ASL:2002), if not taken as a prerequisite.