Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Beginning this year, Nevada State College will be the first institution of higher education in the state to offer a bachelor’s degree in deaf studies.
State officials approved the program this month, and students will begin taking classes this fall.
According to the college, Nevada has a shortage of qualified sign language interpreters, which often leads to experts having to be flown in from out of state. College officials say the program, which will be paid for without additional funding earmarked for NSC, will help to fill local demand for interpreters.
It could also help address the ongoing teacher shortage in Nevada, where special education instructors are in particularly high demand. Students pursuing an education degree at NSC can already choose to get a dual teaching license in special education, but the new program gives them another minor to choose from.
The plan to create a deaf studies program at NSC started with a groundswell of support from the college’s student body. NSC has already offered some courses in the subject in the past, but in 2013 students began requesting even more, the college said in a statement. That support caused the school to create a deaf studies minor in 2015, which quickly became the second most popular minor at the school. NSC’s own American Sign Language club is also among the most popular on campus.