Tuesday, May 04, 2010

American Sign Language classes offered at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield has been offering American Sign Language courses in the Department of Teacher Education since the spring semester of 2008.

“I have a feeling that a lot of people have no idea that sign language is even here,” said Randy Knuppel, a junior accounting and business major.

Dene Lynn Scott, who is deaf, teaches the sign language courses. At UIS she teaches three sections of ASL along with a course on finger spelling and numbers.

“They’ve been learning for two and a half years. They’ve been studying and learning and getting a lot of knowledge,” said Scott about her advanced students.

Learning sign language isn’t only important in the teaching field, but also when it comes to business. Some students have already put what they’ve learned to use.

“I actually work at JC Penny’s and I’ve actually had to use it. People come in and I can help them because I can communicate with them and see what they need,” said Kasey Figgins, a sophomore business and management major.

The ASL program at UIS was made possible by a $30,000 gift from Springfield attorney Joe Gibbs and his wife, Lynn for first-year development and several years after.

The UIS Office of Development is currently working to raise funds to support the program. For more information visit the development website at www.uis.edu/development/give/departments.html

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