Sign Language seeks new home

As a result of recent curriculum changes, the American Sign Language (ASL) program finds itself homeless.Ellen Morris, a senior program planner in continuing education, promised that despite the changes, the program is safe. “The program is always full ­— there is no way we would recommend that program to be cut,” Morris said.Morris said that, when ASL finds a permanent foundation, the coordinator position will be removed.”The coordinator position was meant to be temporary to bring the program up to par,” Morris said, “It’s time for an academic home for that program.””My position as coordinator is being cut as of June 30 this year, so I’m like ‘OK, what about all the students who e-mail me who want to know which ASL class to take, which is the right class for them?'” ASL Program Coordinator Keri Ogrizovich said.According to Morris, the ASL program — like all Continuing Education (CE) programs — is funded by CE but is sponsored by a department in another college, which gives credit for the course work.Chair of the Communication Sciences (CMSI) department Patricia Prelock said that ASL is currently sponsored by the Communication Sciences department in the College of Arts and Sciences, though the courses do not necessarily tie in with the rest of the Communication Science curriculum.Prelock confirmed that there had been talks between College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean Betty Rambur and Arts and Sciences Dean Miller about the possibility of CMSI moving to the College of Nursing, but Rambur’s recent resignation has put these plans temporarily on hold. “The deans think it’s a good idea.” Prelock said.Ogrizovich said that there has been much confusion over where the ASL program belongs, although she suggested that ASL could belong in the language department.”Communication Sciences people were willing but now they’re moving to the School of Nursing, so, we don’t really fit under them anymore either, because it’s nursing, so we really need a new home,” Ogrizovich said.Sophomore Jennifer Brine has taken three ASL courses at UVM.”I think that [cutting ASL] would be equivalent to cutting any other language — saying it’s insignificant.” … “It’s a language, it’s important to [deaf] culture.” Brine said.When asked about the future of the ASL program, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Joel Goldberg had few answers. “It’s up in the air at this point.” Goldberg said.