Category Archives: Deaf History and Culture

2013-2014 Highlights

It’s hard to believe, but we have reached the end of the 2013/2014 academic year – today was the last official day of classes here at University of Tulsa. We had a really incredible year! Let’s recap.

-We started off the year with the wonderful news that TU’s Deaf Education program received a grant to fund our juniors and seniors for up to 50% of their tuition! Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Sharon Baker writing this grant.

-The beginning of this year also saw the beginning of Jessica Scott’s joining the Deaf Education faculty!

-As part of her literacy course, Jessica set up a free reading clinic for Deaf and hard of hearing students in the Tulsa area – which went amazingly well! Thanks to generous individual donors and The Frugal Bookworm we got some excellent children’s and adolescent books to start off our collection. Thanks so much to the AMAZING undergraduate students enrolled in the Literacy course who spent an hour every week working with a struggling Deaf or hard of hearing reader!

-Dr. Baker and Jessica Scott had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and stay on Gallaudet University campus for the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACEDHH) conference, where we heard from politicians, university professors and researchers about the latest theory and research in teaching Deaf students!

-Dr. Baker had a number of very exciting guests in her Deaf History and Culture course, including Laurent Clerc’s great great granddaughter, who works at Oklahoma School for the Deaf, Dr. Peter Crume, who does research on Deaf and hard of hearing students in Kenya, and Marie Guard, a local preschool teacher who is deaf and recently chose to have cochlear implants.Image Image


Wow! What a year – we feel truly lucky to have the opportunities that we do. Some things to look forward to:

-Jessica Scott is working on a grant to expand the reading clinic to an academic year, where tutors trained in the spring course will be paid to tutor students in the fall. The grant will also give us access to better assessments, more materials and more books!

-The OKRID conference will be on TU campus this summer! Anyone in the area interested in ASL interpreting or Deaf Education should register and join us!

-The TU faculty plan to start some collaborations with the Deaf Education faculty at USAO in Chickasha, OK – we will keep you updated as those develop next year!

Readers – what new developments are you most excited about? What other ideas do you have for our program? We’d love to hear from you!

Kathy Buckley

Hello, my name is Kadan Brady. I’m a junior at the University of Tulsa and I’m minoring in Deaf Education. I’m new to the Deaf Community and I‘m enjoying every minute of it. I’m taking Sharon Baker’s Deaf History and Culture course, which is why I’m sharing my experience with you guys, and might I add it’s truly an honor. It seemed to be just another class assignment – Professor Baker assigned everyone in the class a famous Deaf person, and I received Kathy Buckley. When I was first assigned her name and was told she was a Deaf comedienne I thought to myself, “this should be fun,” but little did I know it would be life changing. I did my research on Kathy Buckley and I highly recommend those of you who don’t know her to look her up and hear her story. You can also find a lot of her videos on YouTube. Not only is she a five-time American Comedy Award Nominee as Best Stand-Up Female Comedienne, she is also an actress, writer, producer, author, humanitarian, and a motivational speaker.

As I was working on my presentation over Kathy Buckley for my class presentation I decided to e-mail her and just tell her how much of an inspiration she was to me, and how much I greatly appreciate her story and triumph through life. Kathy Buckley called my cell phone within the next hour. I was in class and was unable to answer my phone, but she left me the most thoughtful voicemail. It begins with ,“Hi Kadan, this is Kathy Buckley calling. I just wanted to thank you for the absolutely lovely email, I wish I could have been there with you. I hope you pass, I hope you didn’t flunk on me. Anyway ,it’s Kathy Buckley just calling to say thank you and wishing you nothing but the best in life, may you move forward and let nothing step in your way. God be with you honey, thank you again. Bye-bye.” This was by far one of the most memorable events that has ever taken place in my life, and through this experience Kathy Buckley has just opened my eyes to how grateful we should be for this life we live. I’m honored to have been able to research and hear from Kathy Buckley and share this amazing experience.

Study abroad opportunities

One of the most unique opportunities a university can offer to its students is studying abroad. Very few people would have the ability to take a time out of their lives to fully experience another country and culture for three months (and get course credit for it!) after they are finished with college. Here at University of Tulsa we have the Center for Global Education that supports students as they prepare for study abroad that many Deaf Education majors and minors take advantage of (this semester we have a student in Europe and another in South America – next semester Deaf Education majors will be traveling to Australia and New Zealand!). But we also have a unique opportunities for Deaf Education students in specific – the option to study abroad in Siena, Italy where students spend a semester in the Deaf Studies Department at the Siena School for Liberal Arts. Students who take advantage of this opportunity will be enrolled to learn Italian Sign Language as well as Italian Deaf History and Culture. There is a Deaf Education minor currently studying at Siena – you can read about her experiences so far here!

Another opportunity for Deaf Education students to study “abroad” includes a two week trip to study at Gallaudet, the only liberal arts college specifically for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students located in Washington DC. This trip is an opportunity to Deaf Education students to spend two weeks immersed in ASL, Deaf culture, and take advantage of lectures and events occurring on Gallaudet campus.

In the Deaf Education program at TU, we are very proud of these unique opportunities to study in other countries and cultures, using non-native languages. Feel free to contact the faculty to learn more about them!


Here at TU, we are always excited to hear about new and unique opportunities being planned for Deaf and hard of hearing children, especially those in our area. Recently Dr. Baker was at the Kansas School for the Deaf for a training where she learned about an amazing opportunity coming up soon, DEAFKAN. DEAFKAN is the Deaf Kids Art Network, and they will be hosting a theater and arts camp for Deaf and hard of hearing students this summer – the camp runs from July 26th through August 2nd. Later on in the fall, Austin Andrews, Deaf Ninja will be performing with DEAFKAN for Deaf Awareness Week! Check out his storytelling on youtube!

I had a pleasure of meeting the head of this great non-profit organization via email, where she shared with me a little about the mission of DEAFKAN:

“Our motto is “Opening the doors of Deaf culture through performance and art.” We are of the belief that families need to see and experience Deaf culture and sign language in a friendly, inviting way before they really consider embracing Deaf culture for their child. By bringing in Deaf performers and artists (and other professional Deaf adults) to interact with our kids, they will see that there ARE successful, talented, educated Deaf adults and that they have the world at their feet.

Our mission is five-fold:

  1. Bring Deaf performers/artists/professionals to deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.
  2. Teach art/performance
  3. Teach and promote sign language
  4. Support families as early as possible in their child’s Deafhood journey through our own programs or by affiliation with other programs.
  5. Educate the community about Deaf culture.”

We here at TU are so excited for this opportunity for Deaf and hard of hearing kids to learn more about art and performance and have the opportunities to meet Deaf performers and artists. Learn more about DEAFKAN here or follow them on Facebook. I am sure someday we will be learning about Deaf artists who benefited from this program as children!

Meeting Laurent Clerc’s great, great granddaughter

In our Deaf Education program, Dr. Sharon Baker teaches a course in the spring on Deaf History and Culture. Throughout this course, students learn about the history of Deaf people (primarily but not exclusively in the United States), watch films about Deafness, and learn about cultural norms and practices among Deaf people.

This year, we were excited to learn that the great, great granddaughter of an important figure in Deaf history, Laurent Clerc (for more information on this important figure, click here), is a librarian at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf, and was available to video conference with our students! Those enrolled in the course were joined by some upperclassmen students and Jessica Scott, the other professor in the Deaf Education program.

photo[1]Sue Galloway was so kind in giving her time to speak to our students. She was able to share some amazing documents of Laurent Clerc’s, including a list of important figures in the United States that he met and a family album) as well as other keepsakes of his. She also shared her story of learning that he was her relative and how this brought her to the field of Deaf Education.

We were so lucky to be able to virtually meet her and learn about her experiences and family! Thanks so much to Sue Galloway for taking the time to join our class!