University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400808
Charlottesville, VA 22902-4808
(434) 924-6739 Fax: (434) 924-1478
Overview American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary language of many Deaf people in the United States and Canada. Linguists recognize ASL as a fully-developed human language with its own lexicon, syntax, and morphological processes. ASL lies at the heart of a unique culture. Deaf people who sign form a tightly-knit community with distinct social norms, values, and traditions. They have developed a growing body of literature, including ASL poetry, stories, and plays, many of which are now available on video or dvd. Currently, the American Sign Language Program offers a four-semester sequence in ASL from the beginning through the intermediate level. We have recently expanded our offerings to include more sections and occasional advanced clases. Due to limited space and funding, we can only accept about 80 students per semester.
Faculty The American Sign Language Program consists of two full-time faculty members and several part-time faculty, who together offer expertise in a wide range of areas: Deaf history and culture; ASL linguistics; ASL poetry, storytelling, and folklore; the local, national, and international Deaf communities; Deaf advocacy and legal rights; sign language interpreting; and so forth. In addition, the program regularly invites nationally-recognized scholars and performers to visit the University through the Annual ASL/Deaf Culture Lecture Series.
Students Students from across the University find ASL classes a valuable complement to their programs of study. While the majority of ASL students come from the College of Arts and Sciences, students majoring in fields such as education, audiology, and speech-language pathology also frequently enroll.
Placement Students with prior ASL experience should contact the ASL Program before classes begin. We will arrange a diagnostic interview to ensure placement in the correct ASL course. Special Resources Through the Annual ASL/Deaf Culture Lecture Series, each year prominent Deaf people come to campus to share their language, culture, and worldview. These events are open to the general public and frequently draw Deaf people from all over the state. Other resources include local sign lunches and dinners; a growing collection of American Sign Language videotapes in the Robertson Media Center in Clemons Library; language laboratory videos, which help students develop their receptive abilities; and the Arts and Sciences Media Center in Cabell Hall, which has video equipment that students use to practice expressive skills. In addition, a student organization called DEAFS sponsors Deaf-related events for interested undergraduates.