Nevada State College in Henderson is launching a new major in fall – a Bachelor’s program in Deaf Studies. This program will be the first of its kind in the state and one of only a handful nationwide.
Dr. Gregory Robinson is an associate professor of English and the interim vice provost at NSC. He played a role in having the Deaf Studies major added to the catalog, but he told KNPR's State of Nevada that the program really grew out of the student's passion for the subject matter.
He said it started with students wanting one extra class for American Sign Language and then from there it became a minor and now a major.
“There’s not necessarily a career that follows from a Deaf Studies minor," he said, "They’re just passionate about the language and what they’re learning."
Robinson said Deaf Studies is like any other kind of language program at a college. The focus will not only be on learning ASL, but also deaf culture.
“They also learn about the history of deaf culture the unique characteristics of deaf culture, some of the stories that are part of deaf culture,” he said.
The major won't just be a training ground for interpreters, but there will be a track for people who want to use their language skills to interpret.
Robinson feels the major will fill a gap in Nevada, because there are no four-year programs on Deaf Studies in the state fewer people know ASL and there is less support for the state's deaf community.
“I think this plays a crucial role for the state of Nevada and think it is going to change the landscape,” he said.
Gregory Robinson, associate professor of English and interim vice provost, Nevada State College