To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Jensen Meyer and I am a sophomore here at Northwest Missouri State University. My major is Elementary Education, with double minors in Early Childhood Education and Deaf Studies, along with a certification in Early Childhood Special Education. My freshman year, I took Intro to American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, and this past summer I took Sign I. These classes, with Jamie Casteel and Marcy Roush, completely changed my opinion about sign language.
Northwest is one of the only schools in the area with Sign Language program. The Deaf Studies minor and its presence at Northwest affects my education greatly. I am an education major, specifically one who wants to teach preschoolers who are hard of hearing, d/Deaf or have disabilities. To do this, I need to be able to continue my education in Deaf Studies. I teach my preschool students sign language, as well as my younger siblings.
I know that I am not the only sign student at Northwest this affects. Many other students work with children who use sign language. I think, as the program grows each year, many students find the benefits it brings in their life.
There are many perks to learning Sign Language, and not just for education majors. It opens up more opportunities for a job after graduation. Someone with knowledge of sign language has a higher chance of employment. Consider a business major who works at a corporation would have the potential for more clients. This can be taken for any major. Through this, a community is brought closer together. Sign language can open up so many connections throughout the world. This can be through educators, businesses, and friendships. I encourage anyone at Northwest to consider taking Intro to American Sign Language and Deaf Culture as a course.
That being said. It has been rumored that Northwest is discarding the Deaf Studies minor. At this moment, all of the sign students are uncertain if the minor will continue after this year. We have heard nothing about the minor disappearing from our teachers. Marcy and Jamie have been absolutely amazing and more than willing to work with us. There has been significant growth and interest in the sign program at Northwest.
Marcy transitioned to a job at the Iowa School of the Deaf, but she is still teaching our course online, as well as meeting with us often on the weekends. The class is just as rigorous. There is a possibility faculty has been discouraging students from enrolling in sign courses due to its nonexistence, but this is far from the truth. We are all equally, if not more, committed than before. All of this uncertainty has caused a large amount of stress and anger for the sign language students. All parties involved would appreciate being more informed, as it does affect the future of many.