Monday is the first day of the fall semester at Eastern Kentucky University. Sharon Lott is beginning her tenure in EKU's American Sign Language and Interpreter Education program. She comes to the Richmond school after teaching 20 years in North Carolina.
Speaking through interpreter Linda Bozeman, Lott says success in the classroom comes from a better understanding of signing and the spoken word. "Having them understand the modality differences between a visual language such as American Sign Language and a spoken language such as English. Having our students come to understand that and get motivated to learn a new language. Finding a way for them to learn that that hits their core is important," said Lott.
Lott says there are about 500 students associated with EKU’s American Sign Language and Interpreter Education program.
As class begins Monday at Eastern Kentucky University, there is somewhat contrasting information about student enrollment.
University President Michael Benson says there's positive figures regarding student numbers on the Richmond campus.
"I mean our freshman class is up. That sweet spot is 2,500 for the incoming freshman class. Our graduate enrollment is up. Our total credit hours is up. We'll have the final numbers here of course two or three weeks into the semester, but things are trending in a positive direction," said Benson.
Benson says the same cannot be said for enrollment at some of EKU’s regional campuses. He says student numbers at the university’ssouthern Kentucky campuses are not what they should be. He believes steps can be taken to make regional sites more attractive to prospective students. "Tailoring the offerings that we have in those areas to what the population wants. Let's say in Somerset, they have different needs than what they've got in Manchester, as opposed to what they have in Danville, to what they have in Lancaster," added Benson.
Final enrollment figures won't be available for a few weeks.