American Sign Language courses are increasing in demand at the University of South Florida.
USF offers an undergraduate program in the Department of Communications Science and Disorders, which has two concentrations in either interpreter training or speech-language-hearing science. The school also offers a minor in American Sign Language. At the undergraduate level, there are 20-24 sections of these classes offered each semester at the Tampa campus. Of the courses, not all of them are basic and intermediate level courses, which fulfill foreign language requirements for undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Over the past three semesters (Summer 2011, Fall 2011, and Spring 2012), we offered a total of 46 sections between Basic and Intermediate ASL,” Theresa Chisolm, department chair, said in an email. “We had 1,146 “enrollments” across the 46 section. About 500-600 students take ASL courses in a year’s period of time, but this is a real estimate.”
Higher level courses are also offered at USF to assist in completing the pre-requisites requirements for Interpreter Training Track, an undergraduate major.
USF ASL Instructor Michele Smith said sign language allows individuals in the deaf world to be social without being separate and it brings the two worlds together rather than dividing them.
Speech-Language-Hearing Science is the second track and is designed to provide students with pre-professional education who want to become audiologists or speech language pathologist. Since fall of 2007, this concentration’s enrollment has increased from 233 students to 355 students.
This semester, the department began admitting students in a deaf studies track at undergraduate level after revamping the curriculum. Momentarily, there is difficulty pulling up exact numbers of the majors. However, the numbers are quite small.
USF ASL instructor Steven Surrency said that students’ eyes will be open to the deaf world after attending just a class or two of an ASL course.
Students attending USF have been filling the seats in ASL courses within the first couple of days of registration.