University officials have agreed to begin the process of deciding whether American Sign Language (ASL) should fulfill the Carolina Core foreign language requirement.
The Faculty Senate has to vote on whether ASL will fulfill the foreign language requirement by December of 2022 for it to be implemented by the fall of 2023.
Kristen Carney, a second-year public health student, has spent a year of her college experience strategizing and discussing ways to get ASL to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Carney said she hopes to use ASL to pursue her own career goals of being a pediatric audiologist or an occupational therapist.
“It all started when I asked my advisor if I could take American Sign Language to satisfy the foreign language requirement, and she informed me that it does not satisfy the requirement even though courses are offered,” Carney said.
Students are expected to take between zero and six Foreign Language credits based on performance on a placement test. There are currently two courses of ASL — ASLG 121 and 122 — that offer enough credits to satisfy the requirement.
“Currently, I’m focusing on creating an objective method to demonstrate students’ support for the inclusion of ASL," Carney said. "(Faculty Senate) said they wanted to see tangible interests, even though each class that’s offered gets past capacities of students."
Carney started an online petition that now has more than 1,000 signatures from students and others who would like to see ASL fulfill the Carolina Core.
At Clemson, students are able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Language with a concentration in ASL and ASL is offered as a minor.
“I was super jealous whenever I found out that our rivals had this amazing program for it,” Carney said.
Carney worked with Speaker of the Student Senate-Elect Noah Glasgow to pass legislation that recommended the university to add ASL into the language curriculum and for it to fulfill the Carolina Core.
“Obviously, we’re going to keep meeting with whoever we need to meet with. I’m just very excited that I can work with Kristen in this. I’m excited that we can keep working to accomplish this mission,” Glasgow said.
The pair presented their recommendation to Vice Provost Sandra Kelly, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Joel Samuels, Chair of the Department of Language, Literatures and Cultures Kurt Goblirsch and Faculty Senate Chair Audrey Korsgaard.
“I could tell it was really favorably received because they were very supportive of the idea,” Korsgaard said.
The four agreed to begin the process of making ASL satisfy Carolina Core curriculum requirements.
“It went so good. It went honestly better than I expected,” Carney said. “All four of them said that they were in support."
To officially include it in the Carolina Core curriculum, the Department of Language, Literature and Cultures has to vote on it at the department level. Then, the decision goes to a committee that oversees Carolina Core. Finally, the Faculty Senate Curriculum and Courses Committee (CNC) goes through the petition and ultimately approve or deny all course and curriculum changes. Finally, the Faculty Senate votes on it.
“I hope that it gets integrated and I hope that USC acknowledges American Sign Language. We promote inclusion, awareness and it becomes an option for students that want to take it,” Carney said. “I believe this is a great opportunity to expand on an already successful program.”