Bluefield University in the News


by | Sep 26, 2018

Bluefield College will offer instruction in Beginning American Sign Language this fall -- a unique series of courses gaining significant popularity on campus and in the community and believed to be the only two-year curriculum of college ASL classes being offered in the area.

Bluefield College will offer instruction in Beginning American Sign Language this fall — a unique series of courses gaining significant popularity on campus and in the community and believed to be the only two-year curriculum of college ASL classes being offered in the area.

Open not only to Bluefield College students, but also members of the community at-large, BC’s American Sign Language (ASL) courses for the fall 2018 semester will take place Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., beginning August 22. For college students, the classes fulfill a language requirement toward graduation. For the community, they offer professional development and the opportunity to learn a new language at an affordable cost.

“Many people may not realize that ASL has its own distinct syntax and is the third most widely used language in the United States behind English and Spanish,” said Dr. Cindy Bascom, chair of the Department of Communication. “Bluefield College students who are pursuing a bachelor of arts degree can take ASL to fulfill their foreign language requirement. In fact, ASL is recognized in Virginia and 39 other states as a foreign language.”

Dr. Bascom added that after studying ASL for one year at Bluefield College, students not only gain an appreciation for the deaf culture, but also develop a vocabulary of about 1,000 words.

“I have had students tell me stories about how they surprised their bosses by using ASL at their jobs when a deaf client came in,” she said. “I’ve also witnessed students silently communicating with each other in the cafeteria and library, and they love signing songs during our chapel services. Learning ASL has certainly enriched our students’ lives in multiple ways.”

In addition to being able to communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing, Dr. Bascom noted that ASL is also valuable for parents of normal hearing children. Due to the visual nature of ASL, she said, babies can sometimes learn to use signs even before they speak.

“They can use signs to communicate needs such as hunger or thirst,” she said. “In fact, some studies have shown that young children who learn a second language develop stronger communication skills, including early reading and enhanced spelling skills.”

Dr. Bascom added that ASL is a distinct, fully developed, and rich language with its own culture and literature. Through linguistic analysis and the comparison of diverse cultures in the BC classes, she said students are given a fresh perspective and appreciation of their own language and culture, as well as a better understanding of other languages and customs.

“The main reason to have ASL at Bluefield College is to give students an additional choice in fulfilling their foreign language requirement,” said Dr. Bascom. “Two years (four semesters) of college credit in American Sign Language we believe is not being offered by anyone else in the area.”

Bluefield College students interested in taking the ASL classes this fall are encouraged to contact Dr. Bascom by phone at 276-326-4225 or by email at [email protected]. Community members interested in taking the courses should first complete a non-degree seeking application for admission on the BC website at The Admissions Office will process those applications and notify students who may then call BC Central to register and pay for the course at 276-326-4215.

Bluefield University

[email protected]276.326.4212

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


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