‘Voices Off, Hands Up!’ Popular American Sign Language Program Expands With New 200-Level Courses | SU News

When professor Corrine Occhino took the helm of the School of Education‘s American Sign Language (ASL) program in Fall 2021, three sections of ASL 101 and one section of ASL 102 were offered. Since then, ASL has been added to the languages accepted for the University’s core language requirement, and the program has doubled in size. In Fall 2023, students will choose from five sections of ASL 101, two sections of ASL 102 and a new ASL 201 course. ASL 202 is set to launch in Spring 2024.

Wonderful New Worlds

ASL is housed within the School of Education (SOE) thanks to the school’s long, pioneering history in disability studies and inclusive education.

The school began by offering classes in Signed English (a visual representation of English words, grammar and syntax). Later ASL (which has its own grammar and syntax, independent from English) was added as a special topic elective. In 2013, courses were regularized, and the ASL prefix was added to the list of course offerings in the School of Education for the first time.

First studying ASL as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Occhino says, “like many of our students, I was curious about ASL and interested in learning more about the language and culture. Taking ASL classes really can open the door to wonderful new worlds!”

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