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Delta College launches new certificate program in deaf studies

April 16, 2020

A new program at Delta College will provide important training for people to work with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.  

Starting in fall 2020, students can enroll in the Deaf Studies Certificate program to learn about deaf culture and its history, fingerspelling, and interpersonal and intercultural communication. Students will have the opportunity to reach an intermediate skill level in American Sign Language (ASL).

Trent Wade, associate professor of foreign languages and program coordinator, said deaf studies touches many professions and people – from nursing to law enforcement to individuals who work with children.

“There’s no way to predict when someone will have an encounter with a person from the deaf community, so it can be important, and even lifesaving, to have the ability to communicate with people who are deaf,” said Wade.

The certificate program was designed to supplement other disciplines. For example, a student pursing a nursing degree at Delta could also work towards a deaf studies certification.

Virginia Przygocki, dean of Career Education/Learning Partnerships and director of Academic Support, said Delta considers programs that are relevant to the needs of the workforce in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

“At Delta College, we take great pride in preparing our students for successful careers, and that often means providing opportunities to bring additional skillsets to their jobs. This new program does just that,” she said.

Wade said learning a new language, including ASL, can also strengthen nontangible skills like empathy and patience. He said students will be required to complete field experience as part of the program.

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Written by Leah Twilley, Communications Specialist.