Who’s It Gonna Be? The Next Prez of NTID

NTID is looking for a new President

(pix of Carl Zollo’s The Split Cube in front of LBJ bldg – photo by P. Durr)

Yep a few years ago NTID upgraded its top notch post title from CEO / Vice President to true biz “President” mostly cuz it was just too dang confusing. Folks were always asking – “if so-n-so is the vp – who is the president of NTID?”

Answer – “there is no president of NTID – all the VPs of RIT (of which NTID is one of eight) report to the president of RIT.” But since so many folks see NTID as a separate entity within RIT and because it has all those nice federal relations and obligations due to its funding source etc and to reduce the confusion of who is the president of NTID – 2 years ago the title was finally changed to prez.

Its a lot better than the director/dean/vp/CEO title that used to dangle after our top administrator’s name. Past NTID “the buck stop here” holders have been:
Dr. Robert Frisina (Hearing), Dr. William Castle (Hearing), Dr. Robert Davila (Deaf), Interim – Dr. James DeCaro (Hearing), Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz (Deaf), and Interim – Dr. James DeCaro.
(pix of Alan and Vicki saying goodbye to students. Photo by shawn Dowd from NTID News website)

Dr. Alan Hurwitz left his post as President of NTID to become the 10th president of Gallaudet this past year. A consultant firm was contracted and a search committee was set up by RIT President Destler.
(pix of Dr. Destler from RIT website)

From the Search for the President of NTID – The Opportunity page

The new President will join NTID at an important juncture, following the successful tenure of Dr. Alan Hurwitz, a deaf leader in the deaf education community and long-time NTID faculty member and academic leader. NTID looks to recruit a new head who will build on the strong foundation in place, accelerate the institution’s positive momentum, and enhance its critical national and international position in the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing people. The NTID campus community is currently finalizing its 2010-2020 strategic plan and preparing the groundwork for its next President. NTID seeks an accomplished and collaborative leader, who ideally brings experience in academic administration, government affairs, and external relations, and who can inspire NTID to new levels of achievement with vision, energy, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a deep passion for and commitment to the Institute’s mission.

Its been pretty dang quiet since the search was launhed and the qualifications and Challenges and Opportunities were released . Deafeningly quiet – dead quiet. Not sure what that means or why that is.

But i know folks are anxious.

Quacking shaking anxious. Cuz who is at the head can affect a lot of things and because NTID will be facing that long awaited brain drain academia has been dreading – u know when the mass hires of yester-years make their mass exit.

Large numbers of folks exiting and entering at the same time – can be a good thing and/or a bad thing.

but it is guaranteed to mean ONE thing – …..


You can argue that a President/dean/ceo/vp – whatever title we wanna top on their hat – is largely a figure head and wont make a big impact but i would have to disagree.

Cuz even when leaders are status quo folks – that shapes and informs an Institute – that determines that the Institute is determined to be in “maintenance mode” with some of the traditional and safe aspirations – increase enrollment, improve graduation rates, and keep those big bucks rolling in.

It would kinda be awesome to see our leading Deaf Institutions take the lead away from only having “eyes for our ears” and start to have “ears for our eyes.”

Start to “listen” to what Deaf folks have to offer to human diversity, investigate and excel at how to do for the eye what folks have been doing for the ears (ya know kinda like Veditz’s innovative, way ahead of the game ole plea to AG Bell – see bottom of the letter). Think out of the box, grab your Deaf lens and take a leap and SOAR.

Deaf colleges are INSTRUMENTAL places of bio-diversity. Without them, one of the last rich agents of socialization is removed from a Deaf person’s life. The Deaf child, now young adult, is regulated to “always trying to pass” – in their “mainstream” college classrooms, their “mainstream” workrooms, their “mianstream” neighborhoods, their “mainstream” living rooms, etc.

and we know what most folks do in the “mainstream” – they drown (see Dr. Lane’s Mask of Benevolence and Dr. Oliva’s “Alone in the Mainstream”) and without Deaf spaces (ie colleges) the flood of “being something you are not” would be crashing upon all our shores.

Deaf colleges are kinda like a port of last resort – that one last opportunity to “be” D E A F.

So a President of these Institutions faces some important decisions. Do i try to shape this Institute to be less D E A F in spirit (i.e. > audism) or do i try to shape this Institute to be more D E A F in spirit (i.e. < audism). (See AFA’s letter to the search re: Audism)
(or do i play switzerland and claim neutrality when status quo is ANYTHING but neutral – not an option folks – so not an option in 2010 when neo-oralism and neo-eugenics are pounding on the doors – they got battering rams folks – time to regroup and get busy)

The choice should be obvious and easy but i have seen some VERY bonky thinking in my many years of deaf education, which pretty much has so often been founded on the belief that to fix the problem one must fix the child instead of what does this person bring to the table
ya know additive model versus deficit model,
ya know “its time to break the “bank”ing model of education (see Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”)
ya know “For educators to deny deaf students the opportunity to maintain or acquire ASL essentially represents an attempt at cultural genocide, since the only identity option offered to students is to become a stigmatized member of the majority society.” (Cummins and Danesi, Heritage Languages, p. 95).

So who’s it gonna be?

Who is gonna apply?
Who is gonna be in the finalist pool?
Who is gonna be selected?

Its important folks. Its real important.

Deaf education is at a threshold – it can go the oral / aural route that has been used forever and more to very little consistent, reliable, just, and humane gain, or it can go the status quo route – eclectic education – anything goes, throw in some signs here and there if you absolutely have to, or it can go the bilingual-bicultural route (an inclusive and egalitarian approach for people of the eye).

Or we can all stand idlely by and wait and then… pounce and pout and poo poo once the finalists are announced and we ain’t so happy.

I have been appealing to some good folks to consider applying.

Most have replied – “happy where i am.” “love what i do here so no thanks”

No one has told me it is too cold yet.

Rochester is cold sometimes (i ain’t gonna b.s. ya) but pretty dang warm in spirit. We got some real good souls here. It is also a VERY DEAF FRIENDLY town.
NY Times Articles on the Deaf community in Rochester
6 part series on the Deaf community in Rochester (D + C paper)

For those folks who think ugh about updating their resume, going through the screening process, feel daunted by the prospect of their name in fame – PLEASE OH PRETTY PLEASE apply.

At least throw your name in the hat so we can see just how JUSTLY this process is gonna work.

I want to see a DIVERSE finalist pool. I wanna see folks of color, I wanna see XX chromsomes, I wanna see “out and about” folks, I wanna see Deaf and Hearing – what i really wanna see most of all – is someone who believes in what we “can be” instead of what we “should be.”

I don’t want to see finalists who can not honor the community value of signing in public places – we got lots of folks – Deaf and Hearing alike – at NTID who just can not muster the memory to remember to “sign please.” Just seems too hard for them. For those folks – perhaps being President might be a wee bit to taxing.

I truly do HOPE some new and brave and good faces will apply for President.

NTID deserves the best.

Our students deserve the best.

So who’s it gonna be?




4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Mayes
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 11:40:28

    What, no one has applied yet? I find this a bit hard to believe…hm.

  2. handeyes
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 13:35:42

    i assume folks have applied – just dont know who or how many
    i think the plan is for the finalists to come for campus interviews in the fall and the new prez to be in place by the new year.
    just hoping more STRONG candidates will apply
    want a really strong finalists pool

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