In a first-of-its-kind effort to
improve education and career opportunities for the world's 6 million
deaf and hard-of-hearing people, the Nippon Foundation of Japan
is partnering with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf
at RIT and Japan's Tsukuba College of Technology (TCT) to establish
a worldwide university network.
The Nippon Foundation is awarding NTID $911,700 to underwrite
the first year of a five-year $6.17 million project, the Postsecondary
Education Network International (PEN-International). "We anticipate
that this is the first step in a multi-year partnership with the
Nippon Foundation to technologically link universities around
the world that serve deaf and hard-of-hearing people," says Robert
Davila, NTID CEO and an RIT vice president.
PEN-International is being undertaken to help universities apply
state-of-the-art instructional technologies, improve and update
their technical curriculum, and update their computer hardware and
software for instruction. NTID and TCT will use their expertise
in deaf education and technology to assist participating countries
with faculty training, development of instructional products, and
application of the Worldwide Web, information technology and distance
learning technologies to teaching and learning.
|National Technical Institute for the Deaf CEO and Vice
President for RIT Robert Davila, right, greets Nippon Foundation
representative Yasunobu Ishii, left, on a recent visit to
NTID/RIT. Also pictured is NTID interpreter Patricia Raymond.
NTID and TCT faculty will teach information technologies and
operating systems, as well as various multimedia and off-the-shelf
software packages. This project will include student and faculty
exchanges and joint ventures with information technology industries.
"PEN-International will enhance local capability and global networking
at each participant institution. Participants will be moved from
importers of know-how' to self-sufficiency," said James J. DeCaro,
a research professor and the former dean at NTID, who is the principal
investigator and director of PEN-International. "As the project
progresses, each institution will develop the capability to export
what has been learned through the project to other programs serving
people who are deaf."
Over the five-year life of the project, PEN-International will
work in as many as 10 different countries, with Tianjin College
for the Deaf of Tianjin University of Technology (China) being
the first, and the Center for the Deaf at Moscow State Technical
University (Russia) to follow.
NTID and Tsukuba College of Technology have worked very closely
together on instructional projects and technology transfer between
their two institutions since TCT was established in 1990. "Our
partnership with NTID to establish and conduct PEN-International
is a logical extension of our already close working relationship,"
said Naoki Ohnuma, dean of TCT.
Founded in 1962, The Nippon Foundation is one of the largest
philanthropic organizations in the world. The Foundation disbursed
$535.7 million in 1998, of which $56.8 million was spent for overseas
cooperative assistance. The Nippon Foundation previously awarded
NTID two $1-million grants to establish an endowed scholarship
fund for deaf students attending RIT from developing countries.