Michael Stein

Michael Stein is a thinker and a doer. And he challenges his students to become thinkers and doers as well.

Born deaf to a hearing family, the Maplewood, New Jersey, native attended Princeton University, majoring in Public Policy, and then Harvard Law School.

He specializes in disability law and the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

Stein teaches courses in NTID’s Liberal Studies Department, is working on developing a course on Disability Rights, and tutors courses in Criminal Justice, Politics, Public Policy, Law, Philosophy and Economics. 

“I enjoy challenging students to think,” he says. “I encourage students to identify counter arguments and rebut them. It’s that moment when they understand how to engage in reasoned argument that I enjoy the most.”

Stein has students break into groups and simulate plea bargaining as a class exercise, and provides opportunities to bring to the real world what they learned in the classroom. 

“Fellow faculty member and attorney Jennifer Gravitz and I taught a Criminal Justice Research seminar last year, and our students wrote a comment in response to the FCC’s request for information on phone access in the correctional system,” he says. “The FCC cited the students’ work several times in a follow-up report.”

In addition to bringing the real world to the classroom, Stein brings his classes to the real world. He recently led a group of students to Chile to learn about the deaf community
in that South American country.

“Prior to coming to NTID, I had lived in Chile for close to a year working on advocacy issues with deaf leaders,” he says. “Bringing my students to Chile was a great way to expose them to what disability rights advocacy looks like on the ground, especially in a world with limited captioning and almost no relay services.”

With his approach to teaching and learning—both in and out of the traditional classroom, Stein demonstrates for his students how thinking and doing can create a better world.

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

More Success Stories

Portrait of Shavone Moncrieffe
Be yourself and live life to the fullest,” is a motto Shavone Moncrieffe strives to follow every day.
Shareef Ali in glasses and a blue shirt
A job with VTCSecure, an international provider of telecommunications access, awaits Shareef after graduation.
Viet Q. Le
Viet Q. Le is a faculty member in NTID’s Science and Mathematics Department.
Joseph Hill
Joseph Hill is a faculty member in NTID’s American Sign Language and Interpreting Education Department.
Laural Hartman
Laural Hartman is a lecturer in NTID’s Visual Communications Studies Department, teaching core courses such as Drawing and Principles of Design and Color.
Jason Nordhaus
Nordhaus is a core faculty member in RIT’s Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation in the School of Mathematical Sciences, and a professor in the astrophysics Ph.D. program in RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy.
Alesia Allen
Visiting Assistant Professor in NTID’s Department of Liberal Studies, Allen teaches introductory courses in psychology and abnormal psychology.
Jonathan Roman
At RIT, Roman found his purpose — to bridge the gap and connect the hearing and the deaf worlds.
Susana Flores
Flores, the only deaf person in her family and the first to go to college, is planning to be the curator of an art gallery one day.
Kelly Jo Hilleshiem
The NBA Indiana Pacers’ dance team wanted her, but Hilleshiem chose RIT/NTID instead.
Christopher Caulfield
Christopher chose RIT to pursue the web and mobile computing program, and to meet successful deaf role models that he never had encountered back home.
Alesia Allen
Visiting Assistant Professor in NTID’s Department of Liberal Studies, Allen teaches introductory courses in psychology and abnormal psychology.
Jason Nordhaus
Jason Nordhaus joined the faculty in NTID’s Science and Mathematics Department as an assistant professor and theoretical astrophysicist.
Portrait of Talila Lewis
A desire to work with young people and involve them in social justice advocacy brought Lewis to RIT/NTID.
Mary Rose Weber
Weber’s favorite quote is from Albert Einstein: “The only source of knowledge is experience.”
Simmons, 22, from Pickering, Ohio, is a fourth-year Packaging Science major who plans to graduate in May.
RIT’s variety of support services was important to this Mechanical Engineering Technology major.
This NTID Presidential Scholarship recipient works hard, but still finds time to play.