Deaf instructors share their experiences in new American Sign Language class

Katie Smith

Student Accessibility Services is offering limited seating for a new six-week American Sign Language class taught by two deaf Kent State students and an interpreter.

Leah Subak, staff interpreter and co-coordinator for SAS, said the introductory class will begin Sept. 24 and is open to all students, faculty, staff and community members.

The course does not require previous ASL experience, said Stefanie Amiruzzaman a graduate student in deaf education and one of the teachers for the new ASL class.

“[We will] be teaching basic sign, deaf culture, numbers, spelling, about deaf life and also about deaf history,” Amiruzzaman said.

Subak said the class offers access to the ASL community.

“We have deaf people who work on campus here,” Subak said, “and I know that they have expressed that they would like for maybe a co-worker to be able to say ‘good morning’ to them.”

Students who are not ASL majors or minors used to be able to take ASL classes as a foreign language, but those classes are now only major- and minor-specific, Subak said.

“People in the community want to take an ASL class but maybe don’t have enough money or not enough time, so they want short, six-week courses instead of 15 weeks,” Amiruzzaman said.

Sandra Hatibovic, instructor and senior nutrition major, said her goals in teaching the class are to further students’ understanding of ASL and to help them socialize within the deaf community.

“This class is very cool and more of a challenge for students,” Hatibovic said. This class reverses the normal roles and “students will experience what it’s like for a deaf person in a normal class.”

Hatibovic also said students will be able to ask her questions they may be scared to ask her in another setting because she is deaf.

Subak said the class is offered Tuesdays from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Conference Room A on the ground floor of DeWeese Health Center and space is limited.

“I think there are about eight or 10 people enrolled so far, and we’re going to leave [registration] open until we hit about 20 people,” Subak said.

The registration fee for this not-for-credit class is $85.

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Contact Katie Smith at [email protected].