WWU to Observe Deaf Awareness Week

ASL Interpreting LabWilliam Woods University’s American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting Program will hold events throughout the week of Sept. 20-26, in observance of Deaf Awareness Week.


The events will allow WWU students, as well as people from the community, to learn about the culture, heritage and language of the Deaf community through art, performances, film and discussion.


Pat Adams, a local Deaf artist, will exhibit his artwork Sunday afternoon in the Gladys Woods Kemper Center for the Arts. At 6 p.m. Sunday, ASL students will give signed performances of film, poetry, skits and songs in Dulany Auditorium.


Monday will be “Adopt a Deaf Person” all day. Also on Monday, a movie featuring Deaf comedian C.J. Jones will be shown at 4 p.m. in the Library Auditorium.A world-renowned Deaf performance artist, Jones entertains through sign language and humor in the movie, “What are you, Deaf?”  A discussion (interpreted) of the film and its importance will precede the showing of the film.  


Members of the Hands Up Club will teach basic signs at noon on Tuesday in Tucker Dining Hall, and hold a Silent Lunch at noon Thursday in Woody’s, on the lower level of Tucker.


On Thursday, “Through Deaf Eyes,” a popular film about Deaf culture, will be shown at 3-4:30 p.m. and again at 5-6:30 p.m. in the Library Auditorium.


Friday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. in Aldridge, a panel of Deaf and hearing members of the Deaf Community will answer questions students and the public may have about their culture and personal experiences.  Panelists include Doug Dunn and Mandie Rinehart. 


A program on Deaf history and the role of Deaf persons in historical events will be presented Saturday, Oct. 3, at 3:30-4:30 p.m. in room 6 of the Burton Building. Tours of WWU’s ASL Interpreting Lab will be available from 4:30 to 5 p.m.  


The lab is one of the unique features of the WWU program. Named for the late Charlotte Rose Hamilton, it is a state-of-the-art all-digital interpreting lab where students may enhance their signing skills by watching and recording videotexts. Members of the Fulton Deaf community serve as tutors in the lab, assisting with assignments and individual practice.


William Woods University is one of only 34 schools in the United States and Canada that offers a four-year degree in American Sign Language interpreting. More than 60 students are either ASL interpreting majors or minors, and 109 students currently take ASL classes at WWU.


All Deaf Awareness Week events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Melanie McKay-Cody, assistant professor of ASL interpreting, at Melanie.cody@williamwoods.edu or the interpreting program at (573) 592-1123.



An American Sign Language interpreting student at William Woods University practices her signs in the Charlotte Rose Hamilton ASL Interpreting Lab.