Jenkins and Rosenfield Receive Award for Bridging Deaf/Hearing Gap

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) employees Keith Jenkins, assistant provost for diversity, and Ellie Rosenfield, coordinator of the First Year Experiences program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), are this year’s recipients of the Award of Excellence given annually by NTID’s Deaf Professional Group (DPG). The award recognizes hearing faculty or staff members from within the RIT community who make an outstanding effort to bridge the gap between the worlds of deaf and hearing people on campus and/or within the community.

Jenkins was recognized for his active and ongoing professional commitment to the interests of deaf faculty and staff members at RIT. In nominating him, Patti Durr of NTID’s Student Life department, said, "Dr. Jenkins demonstrates a sensitivity and respect for working with deaf professionals that is beyond the norm. He always makes sure an interpreter is present, visible, and effective…he communicates directly with deaf people…and he has an understanding of deaf people and their cultural identity."

Durr also noted that Jenkins is the first non-NTID faculty or staff person to receive the award, evidence of "his absolutely shining example of commitment to the deaf community."

Rosenfield, an RIT/NTID employee for more than 20 years, was recognized for her total commitment to communication accessibility, not only in principle, but also in action. During the more than 10 years she led NTID’s Student Life Team, she was known for encouraging her colleagues, both deaf and hearing, to pursue continued higher education as well as to develop new programs in an effort to meet student needs. She now coordinates NTID’s First Year Experiences Program (FYE), whose goal is to ensure that new students have a successful first year at college and remain on campus to finish their degrees.

In nominating Rosenfield, Kathryn Schmitz, assistant professor in the Department of English at NTID, noted, "Ellie has developed the FYE program in such a way that it brings together various NTID resources, both academic and counseling, to offer options for students depending on their goals and needs." Schmitz said Rosenfield has encouraged colleagues to find their own roles in the program, whether by teaching or by coordinating special events. "A hallmark of Ellie’s leadership is the great diversity of programs offered by and for students to promote self awareness and leadership skills," she said.

The first and largest technological college in the world for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, NTID, one of eight colleges of RIT, offers educational programs and access and support services to the 1,100 deaf and hard-of-hearing students from around the world who study, live, and socialize with 14,000 hearing students on RIT’s Rochester, N.Y., campus. Web address:

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