The Department of Sign Language Studies is dedicated to the humanistic values as coincides with the entire Madonna University mission regarding career preparation and service to others and society based on Judeo-Christian principles as advanced by the Felician Sisters. The Sign Language Studies program incorporates this mission while also making a strong commitment to liberal arts education and the preparation of persons who fill meaningful roles in society as Sign Language specialists. The Department prides itself on bringing together theory and practice to offer a comprehensive program to students.
The Sign Language Studies Department recognizes a sociolinguistic and cultural approach to the instruction of American Sign Language. This approach best models the language used in conversation, formally and informally, by the majority of Deaf citizens in the United States. A central mission of the SLS Department is to instill in students a respect for Sign Language as a human right to communicate. This central mission, along with the instructional philosophy of respect for the American Deaf culture and its language – American Sign Language – represents social, linguistic, educational and communicative direction of the SLS curriculum.
Established in 1975, Madonna University’s SLS Department remains the only bachelor's program of its kind in Michigan. Students develop fluency using American Sign Language and choose from one of two concentrations: Deaf Studies or Interpreting. Advanced topics in linguistics, Deaf culture and sign language studies prepare the SLS Department’s graduates for leadership roles as interpreters or others working within the Deaf community. Many graduates seek advanced degrees in education, linguistics, interpreting, social work, psychology and other related fields.
SLS graduates have set up their own businesses as freelance interpreters and community referral agency directors providing information to the community about interpreting and deafness related issues. The core SLS curriculum reflects the continued commitment of the SLS faculty to current information and their professional linkages to local, national and international resources. The SLS faculty at Madonna University have backgrounds in education, law, linguistics and interpreting. Our curriculum continues to integrate the philosophy that the use of Sign Language is a human right and incorporates this philosophy into the SLS curriculum and its mission statement.
The SLS and BCS departments invite you to view three collaborative projects: ASL Music Videos!
In addition, students have developed video guides to describe the linguistic and technical details of each video project.