The Deaf Studies program will mark the 20th anniversary of its graduate program on Wednesday, April 26 from noon to 2 p.m. ET in the Sorenson Language and Communication Center atrium. The event will feature faculty retrospectives and an alumni panel. 

Faculty discussing the startup of Masters in Deaf Studies program 20 years ago.
From the NEH sponsored Deaf Studies Think Tank that preceded Deaf Way II and that lead to developing the curriculum for the graduate program.  

Deaf Studies began as an undergraduate program. Some of its faculty, including Dr. Benjamin J. Bahan, ’79, and Dr. H-Dirksen Bauman, along with Dr. Suaan Burch from what was then the Department of History, proposed to offer a master’s degree. The first students entered the M.A. program in the fall of 2002. 

Originally, there were three concentrations: Cultural Studies, Sign Language Teaching, and Deaf History. Only Cultural Studies remains today, joined by Language and Human Rights, which began in 2011.. Sign Language Teaching evolved into a stand-alone Master of Arts degree program in Sign Language Education. The Deaf History concentration was discontinued in 2011. A concentration in Early Language Advocacy was offered from 2018 to 2022, and has now been subsumed into the Infants, Toddles, and Families degree program under the Education program in the School of Language, Education, and Culture. Deaf Studies also offers a graduate certificate in Deaf Cultural Studies.

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