This NSF Enrichment grant falls under the umbrella of activities of the Center on Access Technology at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Center on Access Technology - To address the unique challenges of utilizing or adapting new technologies for use in postsecondary educational settings, RIT, through NTID, established the Center on Access Technology for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, in March 2006. The Center is charged to investigate, evaluate, and report on the most effective and efficient use of access technologies and train individuals in their use in order to accelerate the widespread implementation of best practices within deaf education at the postsecondary level. The Center is focusing its efforts on technologies that have a high likelihood of improving access to postsecondary educational opportunities for deaf students within the next several years. Based on research conducted in 2005, four areas of focus were identified:

  • Classroom access technologies
  • Mobile technologies
  • Audio and sound technologies of interest to hard-of-hearing persons
  • Training and evaluation services

NTID - Is one of the eight colleges of RIT, enrolls more than 1,450 deaf and hard-of-hearing students, close to 500 of whom are in the academic mainstream (nearly 75% of these in STEM curriculum), supported by NTID interpreters, real-time captionists, tutors and counselors. The university has provided the largest mainstream program for deaf students in the world for the past 40 years. The institute employs more than 120 sign language interpreters and more than 50 real-time captionists, and, very importantly, has conducted extensive research on interpreting and captioning in tertiary education.

PEPNet - The Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNet) is the primary partner for this project. PEPNet is a national network of four regional centers funded for over 12 years by the United States Department of Education that provides resources, information, in-service training, and expertise to enhance educational opportunities for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. The network works with services providers in two- and four-year colleges, universities, secondary education programs, community rehabilitation programs, continuing education programs, adult basic education programs, and vocational and technical training programs.

Postsecondary programs that enroll a significant number of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors are encouraged to contact the PI if interested in more information about this project or in participating in a future virtual alliance:

E. William Clymer, Associate Director
NTID Center on Access Technology
NTID/RIT
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-6504