Quinnipiac introduces a highly anticipated class: American Sign Language

Carleigh Beck, Staff Writer

Illustration by Amanda Riha

Quinnipiac University announced Feb. 28 that it will offer American Sign Language classes this upcoming summer and fall semesters.

ASL 101 and 102 are seven-week consecutive online University Credit courses. Both classes are three credits, equating to six credits total. Part-time faculty member Pedro Pascual, who is a member of the Deaf community, will be teaching the two courses.

According to the announcement of the class on MyQ, ASL 101 will teach grammar, vocabulary and fingerspelling. ASL 102 will continue to build on that knowledge, but will introduce more concepts surrounding the visual features. Both classes will also dive into Deaf culture, and will help students grow an appreciation of the experiences of deaf people.

Professor of Spanish Aileen Dever is one of the faculty members at Quinnipiac who helped bring the classes to Quinnipiac. She explained more about what students will learn about Deaf culture.

“(Students are) going to learn about deaf historical figures, they’ll learn about pop culture figures, and they’re going to learn about how the language evolved,” Dever said. “They’re really going to really get an insight into the different aspects of the culture.”

Dever, who is also the chair of the department of modern languages, literature, and culture, explained that these classes came to be because of student interest. One student who took ASL in high school wanted their credits to transfer, while another student wanted to take ASL, but was planning to go to another school because Quinnipiac did not offer the classes.

“So on the one hand, there was a student to have the credits transferred here, and another student saying ‘I’m really interested in (ASL), and I’d like to go somewhere else during the summer and take those courses to transfer them back (to Quinnipiac),” Dever said. “So, my department got together and we wanted to find out more about ASL.”

Not only were Quinnipiac students interested in ASL classes, but prospective high school students also asked about it. Dever said ASL is one of the languages she is asked most about when she speaks to prospective students.

Dever also described how these classes could benefit students in a variety of majors, including future teachers and those who are planning to go into the healthcare field.

Gabby Mushinski, a senior mathematics major in the secondary education program and the president of the ASL club, explained how knowing ASL could benefit her and those around her in her future career as an educator.

“You never know who you’re going to come across as someone who’s going into education,” Mushinski said. “I think that, especially those who are interested in special education, ASL is very important, even if it’s just the alphabet or basic signs.”

Hannah Jack, a junior behavioral neuroscience major and the vice president of the ASL club, said that learning ASL could benefit the Quinnipiac community.

“The Quinnipiac community might have people that are hard of hearing, or (students) might sign at home all the time with family members who are deaf, and you would never know because the school didn’t have courses like that where they can show that they were a part of that culture,” Jack said.

Students who are interested in the new ASL courses can register for them on Self Service.

“All grades, anyone who is interested in this can take it,” Dever said.