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NTID goes global with special brand of technical education

Long-time colleagues James J. DeCaro, former dean of NTID, and E. William Clymer ’70 and ’83 (photography and MBA) have a true “window to the world” in their positions as director and coordinator, respectively, of the Postsecondary Education Network-International (PEN-International).

NTID student Justin Drawbaugh, visiting China as part of a PEN-International cultural exchange, rides in a jinriksha.

DeCaro and Clymer have logged more than 350,000 miles and stamped nearly a dozen countries on their passports as they travel the globe promoting PEN’s mission of technologically linking universities around the world that serve deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Funded in part by more than $3 million from The Nippon Foundation of Japan since 2001, PEN-International has forged relationships with Tsukuba College of Technology in Japan,Tianjin Technical College for the Deaf of Tianjin University of Technology in China, Bauman Moscow State Technical University in Russia, Charles University in the Czech Republic, and De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde in the Philippines. DeCaro and Clymer have opened high-tech labs, offered instructional workshops to teachers and initiated faculty/student exchanges.

DeCaro evokes every ounce of creativity from PEN’s small staff, then widens the circle of involvement by inviting NTID faculty members to present workshops (either in person or through satellite teleconferencing), give presentations and host PEN-International visitors. His easygoing manner – he is famous in NTID circles for his sense of humor – belies a savvy administrator determined to bring 21st century technology and teaching methods to deaf students worldwide.

William Clymer, left, is coordinator and James DeCaro is director of PEN-International.

Clymer, an NTID veteran with 30 years of experience in instructional technology, photography, and curriculum development, perfectly complements DeCaro. He is the program’s conference organizer, unofficial photographer and technological wizard, posting everything from conference updates and news releases to images from the pair’s travels on the PEN-International Web site (www.pen.ntid.rit.edu).

Clymer will have the lead role this summer as coordinator of the International Symposium on Instructional Technology and Education of the Deaf, scheduled for June 23-26 in Rochester. Hosted by NTID, PEN-International and The Nippon Foundation of Japan, the conference is expected to attract nearly 300 people interested in learning about the importance of technology in educating deaf students.

PEN-International plans to be well established in at least six developing countries over the next several years, moving closer to its goal of truly linking young deaf people worldwide through education, technology and culture.