Posted on March 20, 2013 by Linda Ruiter

Augustana’s first American Sign Language course begins this September!

Shauna-DurstonFor the first time on UAlberta’s Augustana Campus, an Introductory American Sign Language (ASL) class will be offered to students, staff and the wider Camrose community. In this non-credit course for beginners, participants will have the opportunity to practice ASL in an enjoyable and interactive learning environment, while also discovering the vital role this language plays in Deaf culture.

ASL is a visual language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax. Linguistic information is conveyed through the shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements.

Instructor Shauna Durston brings strong native ASL proficiency and a rich inheritance of Deaf culture to her teaching. Born deaf to hearing parents, Shauna started school at Alberta School for the Deaf (ASD) in Edmonton at age five. Because her family resided in Red Deer, Shauna lived her formative years in ASD’s dormitory for out-of-town students from 1966 until 1979, going home every other weekend and during vacations.

Today Shauna is an active member of the Alberta Association of the Deaf and is working to complete the American Sign Language Instructor Certificate Program at Douglas College. In the meantime, she has 12 years teaching experience and is currently teaching for Metro Continuing Education, Red Deer College, and Wetaskiwin Early Childhood Education. About to become a grandmother, Shauna’s passion for teaching is complimented by a wide range of interests that include woodworking, sewing, skiing, and gardening! She currently resides in Millet.

Susie Nguyen and Brittany Arabia were among the first to register for the fall 2013 ASL course. In addition to being inspired by her linguistics professor, B.Mgmt. student Susie Nguyen admits she loves learning languages and is curious to see how sign language is different from other languages. Sociology major Brittany Arabia is planning a career as a probation officer and thought ASL might be helpful to know. “I like to learn new things,” she says, figuring it’s good to keep her options open. “Of course,” she admits, “there’s always the fact that it can look good on a resume or applications.”

Regardless of one’s motivation, age, or career, this course promises to be an exciting glimpse into a world few of us have experienced before. Parents, students, faculty – all are welcome!

The Introductory Level American Sign Language (ASL) Class will take place on the Augustana Campus in the fall of 2013, on Wednesday evenings, 6:30 – 9:30 pm, September 11 – November 13, 2013. Registration will be open until April 15th, or until maximum numbers are reached. The course fee of $150 covers all course materials. Payments by cash or cheque can be dropped off Augustana’s Faith & Life Centre, Room 2-336.

If you’d like more information or have questions, please feel free to contact Linda at

Posted in Augustana Campus, Featured. | Permalink

Comments are closed.