Student demand brings American Sign Language V to Nevada State College

By Mandi Enger
Dedicated to learning American Sign Language (ASL), a group of Nevada State College (NSC) students led the charge to expand the college’s language course offerings by organizing a petition during the spring semester. Through their efforts and collaboration with faculty, NSC will begin offering ASL V during the upcoming fall semester to students that have completed ASL IV.
Our students worked together to start a petition for the course, plan a deaf awareness rally on campus, and meet with the chair of the Humanities Department in order to express their interest in taking their ASL studies to the next level, said Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Andy Kuniyuki. It was incredible to see the passion, dedication, and professionalism of our students as they worked to make ASL V possible at NSC.
The deaf awareness rally was organized by students in the American Sign Language Club. We had over 20 ASL students actively participate in the rally, said Christina Barron, president of the organization. The event also welcomed members of the local deaf community eager to show their support for the new course.
Barron, a current psychology major at NSC began her ASL studies in the fall of 2012. She became president of the ASL club the following semester and has actively worked with students and faculty to grow the club’s membership and increase student involvement in the deaf community.
For me, learning another language gives me more opportunity, Barron added. With learning ASL, I can now take part in communicating with members of the deaf community; something I never would have been able to do before. Learning about deaf culture, I have gained a new perspective on people and what makes us unique.
Students enrolled in ASL V this fall will work to become more receptive and expressive in ASL conversation. Coursework will focus on the development of storytelling skills as well as the understanding of health issues in ASL. Students will additionally gain knowledge of ASL by participating in deaf community events, watching signing stories on video, and researching articles related to ASL and its culture and communities.
My classes are unique as no voice is involved with my instruction, said ASL faculty member David Kelsey, who was born deaf. This provides a unique benefit for our students as they are fully immersed in the language.
Professor Kelsey has been teaching ASL at NSC for the past seven years and was recognized as the Adjunct Faculty of the Year in 2011. Kelsey is the only ASL instructor certified by the American Sign Language Teacher Association in the state. Throughout his career, he has taught ASL to students in elementary school, high school, college, as well as within the community.
According to Kelsey, there is a strong need for interpreters in southern Nevada as well as a need for individuals to be able to communicate and understand our local deaf community.
Aside from the need for interpreters to work with the deaf population in all public services, there are many areas where the ability to interpret and understand deaf culture plays an important role, added Kelsey. ASL has its own grammar and structure which is entirely different from English. It appeals to and benefits students who are majoring in health care, education, law enforcement, psychology, visual media, or counseling, just to name a few.
There are approximately 4,000 deaf individuals living in Clark County. According to the Modern Language Association, ASL is a popular foreign language and is the number four most studied foreign language in the country.
ASL courses are definitely a priority for Humanities and the college as a whole, shared Peter La Chapelle, chair of the NSC Humanities Department. I am glad to see the students taking such an interest. I was impressed by how much thought and effort they put into their advocacy.
NSC first offered ASL I and ASL II during the 2003-2004 academic year. ASL III and IV were added to the course list during 2005-2006. Nearly 25 students enroll in ASL courses at NSC each semester and the college expects enrollment of at least 15 students in ASL V this fall.

NSC welcomes Kevin Butler as Associate Vice President of Finance and Administration

Butler to initially focus on final plans for new campus buildings
By Mandi Enger
Nevada State College (NSC) has announced the appointment of Kevin Butler, associate vice president of finance and administration. In this new leadership role, Butler will work closely with Buster Neel, vice president of finance and administration to oversee department areas including finance and accounting, facilities and development, and sponsored projects.
Mr. Butler is dedicated to fostering educational opportunities for students, faculty, and staff, said Neel. Through his expertise and experience in both financial leadership and higher education, Butler is a valued addition to the NSC team.
Butler joins the campus with over 20 years of finance and administration experience within college and university settings. Most recently, he served as the Vice President for Administration at Cochise County Community College in Douglas, Arizona. He has additionally served at the University of Nebraska and the University of Arizona where his leadership was instrumental in local, regional, and international projects; including financial management of campus projects in Cairo, Egypt and Malawi, Africa.
An important part of Butler’s initial focus at NSC will be towards finalizing plans for two new buildings to be constructed on the main campus. He will be involved in the completion of project financing, building floor plans, as well as construction.
The campus development plans were approved by the Nevada Legislature Interim Finance Committee in late January. Ground breaking for the buildings is expected to take place as early as December 2013.
We are actively working to maximize both the square footage of the new buildings as well as the quality of the new space within the ability of our financing, commented Butler. I’m honored to be a part of NSC at such an exciting time of growth and opportunity.
Twice a graduate of the University of Arizona, Butler received his Bachelors of Science in General Business Administration in 1987, followed by his Masters of Business Administration in 1998. Butler is a Certified Public Accountant and has additionally received a certificate in educational management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Rod A. Davis and Linda E. Young awarded 2013 President’s Medals

By Mandi Enger
Recognizing local leaders who have shown support and commitment to the mission of the institution, Nevada State College (NSC) has presented the President’s Medal to both Rod A. Davis, Senior Vice President, Dignity Health, Nevada Operations and President/CEO, St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, Siena Campus; and Linda E. Young, Clark County School Board of Trustees.
It’s our pleasure to recognize Mr. Davis and Ms. Young as 2013 President’s Medal recipients, said President Bart Patterson. We are grateful for their continued partnership, in both supporting Nevada State College and serving the Southern Nevada community.
The tradition of the President’s Medal began at NSC in 2007, honoring distinguished local leaders and philanthropists for their dedication to the development of the college. Each year, recipients are nominated by the president’s cabinet and then designated by the president.
The awards are presented by the President during the college’s annual commencement ceremony held each spring.
Young serves on the Clark County School Board of Trustees and is an advocate for equity and diversity education, special education, STEM and at-promise programs for under-served and under-represented students, parents and communities. Additionally, Young joined the NSC President’s Council in 2012.
Davis has served as a member of NSC’s President Council since 2006, where he provides a community perspective with emphasis on health care concerns. Davis and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals have been strong supporters of the NSC nursing program and the Dr. Joel and Carol Bower School-Based Health Center. His work in 2012 enabled nursing students to participate in the Medical Spanish Immersion Course in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The 2012 President’s Medal recipients included Thalia Dondero, Nevada System of Higher Education and William Wortman, Cannery Casino Resorts, Principal.