By Ashlyn Poplin, Staff Writer
Lee University has officially approved an American Sign Language (ASL) minor for its students.
While ASL classes have been offered for 20 years, a minor will be available for the first time in fall 2016.
La-Juan Bradford, director of academic support, has dreamed of creating the minor since she was a student at Lee.
"The idea of the minor was approved three years ago," Bradford said. "It took a couple years to build up faculty to teach the classes, then another year or so to develop the syllabus."
The new minor requires eight classes. Students will learn visually with vocab, online resources, and by watching the professors. ASL is unique in that it requires kinesthetic, or "hands on," learning. While students use vocab and spelling they are using their hands to create shapes that assist in communication.
For students interested in ASL but unsure about adding a minor, Bradford recommends trying one of the lecture classes such as Introduction to Deaf Studies which covers everything related to deafness, including anatomy of the ear, hearing loss and the influence of deafness on the family.
The only pre-requisite for ASL lecture classes is English 110.
If the minor is a success, it could potentially lead to further advancements in Lee's ASL education.
"In order for Lee to begin developing this minor into a major, we first have to show there is an interest in American Sign Language," Bradford said.