Peter Haggerty

“There are many reasons why I love working with students outside of the classroom,” says NTID associate professor Peter Haggerty, who has taught reading and writing courses at RIT/NTID for more than 35 years, including 10 years at RIT’s College of Liberal Arts.

Research has shown that contact with professors outside the classroom significantly enhances the chances for student success inside the classroom, so Haggerty has made this an integral part of his focus at RIT/NTID.   

“Serving as the advisor for the NTID student newspaper and the co-advisor for the RIT Running Club for many years has given me insight into how students spend some of the other part of their life at college,” says Haggerty.

Haggerty has served as an RIT Faculty in Residence, which means he actually lived in the Sol Heumann Residence Hall dormitory on campus for two years. “This experience showed me that many students are eager for and receptive to conversations with adults who take them seriously—adults who communicate with them on a more equal footing.”

“Also, with the gentle encouragement of my wife, herself a wonderful teacher at NTID, I have been participating in NTID theater productions since 1999.” He has appeared on the NTID Panara Theater stage in the productions of Othello, Guys and Dolls and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Haggerty also was recognized with an Off Off Broadway Review Award for his teamwork in the deaf/hearing production of The Emperor Jones.

“Working with students in theater production has given me a whole new outlook on the lives, the hopes, the thinking and the capabilities of students,” says Haggerty.

He says in a few word that all of these experiences have essentially taught him the same thing: that students want contact with faculty who are more accepting and not judgmental. And through his experiences he has seen student trust lead to student motivation, motivation lead to more effort, and effort lead to greater academic success, not to mention sharing and enjoying classrooms filled with mountains of laughter and oceans of sweat!

Professor Haggerty is the recipient of numerous RIT honors, including the RIT “Award for Outstanding Teaching; the NTID National Advisory Group’s Distinguished Service Award; the RIT Division of Student Affairs Award for Promoting Learning Outside the Classroom, and the NTID Student Council Staff Humanitarian Award.

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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