The American Sign Language Program is committed to reaching beyond our classrooms to the campus and community at large. Because we regularly experience ignorance about ASL and Deaf culture, we are committed to providing exposure and education for all. Our most significant outreach event is an annual Deaf Awareness Week. This series of informational events, which we began in 2013, is a celebration of Deaf culture and American Sign Language held in September in conjunction with the World Federations of the Deaf’s “International Week of the Deaf.” It consists of 2 or more public discussions/panels, informational lectures, and programming at the Iowa City Public Library. The American Sign Language Program has also worked with FilmScene, a local Iowa City theater, to host and promote films with Deaf actors and American Sign Language.

Our ASL Club, a student-run organization, typically invites a speaker at least once a year to campus. These events range from ASL literature performances to educational lectures concerning ASL linguistics, Deaf history, or Deaf Studies.

Interacting with other language users is a crucial part of the language learning process. We hold regular conversation hours for students to interact in American Sign Language outside of class. We also keep students informed about a variety of ASL events, both locally, statewide, and in neighboring regions. The Cedar Rapids Association of the Deaf (CRAD) regularly holds Deaf events that students are encouraged to attend. Other events include Deaf Capitol Day in Des Moines, an opportunity for the Deaf community to interact with legislators and social events with Community Hands, a local advocacy group.

Public Engagement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The University of Iowa’s core mission extends beyond the classrooms, laboratories, studios, and libraries where we educate students, conduct our research, and create new artistic work. Equally important is our engagement with communities throughout Iowa, across the nation, and around the world. 

Our faculty, students, and staff work to solve problems, imagine new approaches to challenges, and improve quality of life, often through service-learning courses in which students earn academic credit. 

It’s a virtuous circle: When UI expertise is harnessed to help a community or region improve the lives of its residents, the experience adds unique educational value to students’ academic journeys, and advances the research and creative production of our faculty. In turn, that new knowledge empowers us to help more communities, solve more problems, and improve more lives. 

The UI is not just the University of Iowa, we're the University for Iowa—and throughout the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, we are proud to serve.