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Check out the latest events in the world of education for students who are deaf and hard of hearing!

Tennessee’s Newest Major

The University of Tennessee has made great strides in finding ways to bring the deaf community and hard of hearing onto an equal playing field locally, nationally, and globally. UT has provided an educational interpreting program that allows for students to perfect the craft of interpreting American Sign Language.

The major makes appropriate distinctions that American Sign Language is not only a completely separate language from English, but also from other foreign sign languages. Carol LaCava is the coordinator for the university’s new program. She has been in the field for 25 years, understanding and developing ways for the deaf community to find connection with the hearing. Other than amazing technological advances in hearing aids, the development of the first college-level bachelor’s degree program, which LaCava was largely responsible for, has begun to build amazing interpretive bridges between the hearing and non-hearing.

LaCava began her career at Maryville College, which was the first college to develop the bachelor’s program. Once transplanting herself to the University of Tennessee she brought the program of educational interpretation with her. These two universities are the only ones that offer a four-year interpreting program in Tennessee. The program looks to build trust, fluency, and understanding between the the deaf and their interpreters, further connecting the Deaf Community with the rest of the world. This major gives another voice to those who may otherwise go unheard.

Civil Rights for the Deaf in Missouri

Missouri, a state that has battled ferociously for civil rights within the past year, hosted activist Jerry Covell on April 16th at William Woods University. An important figure during a 1988 protest known as “Deaf President Now,” Covell holds nothing back to get universities to embrace the deaf culture and improve life for the hard of hearing. Missouri, a state desperately in need of civil rights education, now has the opportunity to engage with a member of the Civil Rights Movement for Deaf Citizens. Covell lobbies for education and equality for the deaf community on a daily basis. He stands as a beacon of hope in a state where civil rights have failed many.

The event on April 16th consisted of information and anecdotes set to inspire the hearing and non-hearing communities. With an ASL interpreter and a large auditorium setting, the potential for success was very plausible. Covell is the coordinator for an Interpreter Preperation Prgram at MacMurray College in Illinois. William Woods University also has a bachelor’s program for Interpretation studies in American Sign Language.

These colleges have set the bar high for one another. They hope to find a common ground between these programs, uniting communities and lending both ears and a voice to those who are deaf of hard of hearing.

By: Michael Strauss