Amy Willman: 15 years at Nebraska

Amy Willman: 15 years at Nebraska

30 Nov 2016    

Amy Willman, who serves as a lecturer and coordinator of the American Sign Language program in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, will be recognized for her 15 years of service at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during the college-wide meeting for the College of Education and Human Sciences Dec. 2. Willman, who has been Deaf since birth, teaches the four American Sign Language classes offered at Nebraska and also serves as the faculty adviser for the university's ASL Club.

When did you know that you wanted to teach at the college level?

I began my career as an elementary teacher for three-and-a-half years. Someone suggested I should be an ASL instructor at the community college in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At first I thought, 'What, me?' Even so, I interviewed and got the job. I taught at the Santa Fe Community College for six years before moving to Nebraska to begin working here.

What attracted you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for this position?

I am not sure how it started, but someone contacted me saying there was a coordinator and lecturer position open at Nebraska. I was told I should apply for it. My boss at Santa Fe Community College also supported me in applying for it. I did and got the job.

What have you enjoyed most about teaching American Sign Language at Nebraska?

I really enjoy seeing the students show an interest in learning and understanding about Deaf people and their culture. It is great to be able to teach students to be respectful of our language - American Sign Language.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to learn ASL?

Be patient, as it can be difficult ot learn at the beginning. At the same time, it's a fun learning experience. Also, be respectful of all Deaf people, their culture and language.

A group of students started the ASL Club on campus this year - what does it mean to you to see their passion for ASL and improving communication with the Deaf community?

It is great! It shows they have respect for Deaf people, their community, culture and language.

Special Education and Communication Disorders