ASL Courses Should be Taught by Deaf Instructors, Says Deaf Club President

April 12, 2017



Should Deaf teachers be prioritized by schools and colleges to teach ASL classes over hearing teachers?


Dirk Hillard, President of Quad Cities Deaf Club (the Iowa/Illinois border area) — wrote an open letter to Scott Community College (SCC) to raise complaints about them offering ASL classes and an ASL summer camp that is taught by hearing teachers. SCC offers a two-year ASL-English Interpreting AA degree program. All of its teachers/staff are hearing.


Dirk feels that because the college hired hearing people for the positions, it is oppressive and discriminatory towards Deaf people. He said ASL is the language of the Deaf community and that it is cultural appropriation to use ASL to make money for the college without including Deaf people in the faculty. Dirk said it is ableism and audism when hearing people are chosen over Deaf teachers who are available and willing to teach ASL.


Dirk argues that because the students benefit economically by learning a new language and culture and making money as an interpreter — and that college makes money by student enrollment — Deaf teachers should have the opportunity to have economic benefits of teaching ASL.


Dirk notified me via email that SCC has taught ASL classes for the past 20 years and had a Deaf teacher, but s/he retired four years ago. SCC hired a new Deaf teacher, but s/he no longer teaches there. Dirk felt that SCC did not do enough to advertise and recruit for a Deaf teacher — and that they unfairly hired a hearing person who has an AA degree with interpreting licenses over a Deaf person with an AA degree.


The open letter has attracted local news coverage — and Dirk will have a meeting with the president of SCC next Wednesday and hopes it will help to improve the system.


Dirk’s Open Letter:


Local Coverage:

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