The University’s American Sign Language Program offers a five-semester sequence in ASL, from the beginning through the conversational level. Students who successfully complete the fourth semester class, ASL 2020, can use it to satisfy the College’s foreign language requirement. We teach our language classes with a “voice-off” immersion philosophy; signs and gestures are used to communicate. With weekly signing lunches, monthly Charlottesville sign suppers, and a nationally known lecture series that brings scholars, activists, and performers from around the country to U.Va., students have regular opportunities to sign and participate in the community outside of the classroom.
The program is small, close, and rigorous. Unfortunately, due to our limited class sizes, we can only accept a portion of students interested in learning ASL.
We do not currently offer a minor or major. However, each semester we usually offer one or more advanced classes in the history of the American Deaf community, psychology and Deaf people, Deaf people and the law, or similar topics. These classes are often taught in English (with an interpreter if necessary) and cross listed with another appropriate department to reach the most students. Finally, we hope the study of ASL will encourage students to learn about other sign languages and Deaf people abroad.