OU's new American Sign Language program inspires communication across campus

On Tuesdays and Fridays in Collings Hall 223, an entire class period goes by without a single word spoken. 

The classroom is completely quiet — at no point do the students speak out loud to professor Gary Davis, and he doesn’t speak out loud to them. 

That’s because Davis is deaf and is teaching his students sign language.

The silence is only ever broken by students’ laughter — usually when Davis pokes fun at a student’s sloppy use of a sign and shows the student the correct sign, much like a Spanish professor correcting the pronunciation of a word.

Davis, an adjunct professor, is teaching one of the first American Sign Language courses offered at OU — a program administrators have pursued for many years that finally came to fruition fall 2017.

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