Fri. Sep 30th, 2022

Owens Community College is currently seeking deaf instructors. Those interested are encouraged to reach out to Humanities Program Director Jen Hazel.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — There are more than 350 languages spoken in the U.S.

At Owens Community College, inclusion and easy communication are of the utmost importance, Humanities Program Director Jen Hazel said. So, at the start of the fall 2022 semester, an American Sign Language Certificate will be offered.

Hazel said Owens is “about servicing our community” and the ASL certificate will help them be able to include even more people in that goal.

Sign language interpreter Anita Coleman said the pandemic highlighted barriers facing individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. 

But it also showed the ways to bridge the communication gap, she said.

“We got to see interpreters on the state level and national level,” Coleman said. “We got to see certified deaf interpreters interpreting for the governor. That’s huge.”

In the new two-semester certificate program, students will learn fingerspelling, numbers, receptive skills and deaf culture.

Coleman said learning ASL is about more than physical lessons though. 

“Learning even just basic signs, it says, ‘I’m going to take a step into your world,'” she said. “‘I may not be fluent, I may still have to write back and forth, but I’m going to do my part to meet you halfway.'”

Coleman said knowing basic signs doesn’t just benefit those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

“And that’s what I don’t think a lot of people really grasp,” she said. “It goes both ways. I don’t just interpret for the deaf individual. If you could sign, you wouldn’t need me.”

Owens Community College is currently seeking deaf instructors, Coleman said. Those interested are encouraged to reach out to Hazel at [email protected]

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