Monthly Archives: January 2016

Dahl named to RIT/NTID faculty

scott dahl in a red shirt

Scott Dahl of Webster, New York, has joined the faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. He is a faculty member in the NTID Cultural and Creative Studies Department’s performing arts program.

Dahl designs sets for department productions, works with students in the paint and scene shop and is designing the department’s Introduction to Performance class as an online course.

Originally from Troy, New York, Dahl earned a BFA in Industrial and Interior Design from RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, a master’s degree from State University of New York, Albany and an MFA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has received numerous research grants and presented papers on the theatrical history of the 1930’s and, in particular, The Group Theatre and their primary scenic designer Mordecai Gorelik. He has presented at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education conferences in San Diego and New York, and at the International Federation For Theatre Research in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

He has 25 years of experience as a senior designer, artistic director, draftsman and project manager, and 14 years of teaching experience at the university level. He has designed and developed residential, commercial, retail and light-industrial buildings, theme park attractions and theatrical settings as well as interactive exhibits and corporate event environments.

Dahl began his career designing and drafting dozens of custom homes and commercial and light-industrial buildings in Albany, Rensselaer, Warren and Saratoga Counties in upstate New York, including a variety of suburban housing developments, retail interiors and the Glens Falls MRI Center in Glens Falls, New York.

His work as senior designer, artistic director and design department manager at such companies as Adirondack Studios, Glens Falls; Alexander Entertainment, Tampa, Florida; and VEE Corporation, Minneapolis, included the design and development of projects such as interactive environments and interiors for the American Airlines Arena (Miami Heat) and SBC Arena (San Antonio Spurs), Treasure Island Casino (Red Wing, Minnesota), Morgan’s Family Entertainment Center (Destin, Florida) and Matsuyo Ladies Department Store (Fukuoka, Japan). Dahl also was heavily involved in the design, development and construction drawing packages for the interiors and effects of many attractions for Universal Studios, Orlando, including the Hanna-Barbera, E.T. Adventure and Hitchcock: Art of Making Movies attractions.

Dahl also has designed other theme park attractions, including Batman, Police School and Lethal Weapon and stunt show attractions and Denis the Menace Sound Stage settings (Six Flags, Nationwide), King Solomon’s Mines (Walibi Flevo Park, Rhone Alps, France), Police Academy (Mirabilandia Theme Park, Ravenna, Italy) and theatrical settings for the national tours of Dragon Tales Live I and II (Children’s Television Network and VEE Corporation) as well as corporate event environments for AT & T, Westinghouse, General Electric and many other corporate clients.

He has a love of period architecture, and a sincere interest to “better the world around us through the expression of design.” He believes the only way to achieve these results is through understanding and respecting the artistic and technological aspects of the design process.

“We work in an expanding industry where once clear boundaries of art, technology, commerce, entertainment and education are now blurred. There is more opportunity than ever for designers to impact the world we live in. It is an exciting time to be contributing to these new creations.”

Dean named to RIT/NTID faculty

Robyn Dean wearing glasses, earrings and black top

Robyn K. Dean of Rochester, New York, has joined the faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She is a tenure-track faculty member in NTID’s American Sign Language and Interpreting Education Department.

Dean earned a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language Interpreting at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Theological Studies from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester. Recently, Dean completed her PhD in Translation & Interpreting Studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

Her responsibilities at RIT/NTID include providing classroom instruction to students in NTID’s ASLIE Department and co-developing curriculum for the college’s master’s degree program in Health Care Interpreting.

Dean served as a consultant for an ethical code developed for interpreters working on field missions for the International Criminal Court of the United Nations and as a member of the review board of the International Journal of Interpreter Education, among others.

Dean has published numerous journal articles, co-authored books, worked on films and has developed curriculum for courses nationally and internationally. She is a sought-after workshop and conference presenter throughout the United States and internationally.

RIT/NTID presents ‘Tribes’ Feb. 4–7

four actors around a table

  The College of Liberal Arts Performing Arts Program and National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Performing Arts Program at Rochester Institute of Technology present Tribes, a comedy/drama about family conflict that arises when a son brings his deaf girlfriend home to meet his parents.

Tribes will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4, 5 and 6, and 2 p.m. Feb. 7 at Robert F. Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, RIT. Tickets—$5 for students, seniors ages 55 and over, and children, and $7 for all others—can be purchased at the NTID box office or reserved by emailing Some material may be inappropriate for children under 17. All performances will be captioned and interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Written by Nina Raine and directed by Jerry Argetsinger, Tribes examines what it means to embrace one’s deafness and tells the story of Billy, who was born deaf into a hearing family that is intellectual, idiosyncratic and politically incorrect. Billy has adapted to his family’s unconventional ways, but they have never returned the favor. All that changes when Billy meets the woman of his dreams—a woman who is not only deaf, but to the horror of his father, one who loves sign language and deaf culture.

Tribes is one of the most important stories on the friction and misunderstanding between the hearing and deaf cultures since Children of a Lesser God,” said Argetsinger, associate professor of performing arts. “This performance promises to be a very entertaining and thought-provoking experience and an important event as we continue dialogue on diversity and inclusion.”

For more information, go to or email

NTID Performing Arts presents GODSPELL

brick wall with rainbow image, the word Godspell with halo over the letter G

NTID Perfoming Arts presents “Godspell” March 10 through 13 in the 1510 Theatre Lab in LBJ Hall. FREE Admission–NOTE: Very limited seating available. Free tickets are distributed one hour before showtime on a first-come, first-served basis only. One ticket per person. NO RESERVATIONS without prior approval by NTID House Manager. For more information, email Visit for times and details.

Photo exhibit and book presentation and signing by Willy Conley

black and white of Willy Conley wearing bolo tie, plaid shirt, arms folded.

A photo exhibit and book presentation and signing by RIT/NTID alumnus Willy Conley will take place in NTID’s Dyer Arts Center in LBJ Hall March 10 and 11.

The exhibit, “The Deaf Heart: a Forty-Year Photographic Retrospective” focuses on Conley’s work at some of the top medical centers in the United States. His photographs have appeared in a variety of books and national publications. For more information about his work, visit An opening reception will take place 4 – 6 p.m. Friday, March 11 in the Dyer Arts Center, LBJ Hall. The exhibit runs March 11 – April 22, 2016.

A presentation and signing of Conley’s novel “The Deaf Heart” is scheduled 9:30 – 10: 45 a.m. Thursday, March 10 in the Dyer Arts Center, LBJ Hall. One of only a handful of published literary novels written from the authentic viewpoint of a deaf person, Conley will present on the process of creating his unique book. The presentation includes photographic slides and a video interview of the author.  A book signing with Conley will follow the presentation.

NTID and CLA Performing Arts programs present TRIBES

TRIBES poster

RIT/NTID and the College of Liberal Arts Performing Arts programs present “TRIBES” Feb. 4-7 in Panara Theatre. Tickets go on sale Jan. 25 and are $7 for the general public, faculty and staff, and $5 for students, seniors 55+ and children (some material may not be suitable for children under 17). 

The play focuses on a comically dysfunctional Jewish British family, made up of the parents Beth and Christopher and three grown children living at home, Daniel, Ruth and Billy, the last of whom is deaf, raised to read lips and speak but without knowledge of sign language.[4] When Billy meets Sylvia, a hearing woman born to deaf parents who is now slowly going deaf herself, his interaction with her (including her teaching him sign language) reveals some of the languages, beliefs, and hierarchies of the family and the “extended family” of the deaf community.[4]TID and the College of Liberal Arts Performing Arts programs present “TRIBES” Feb. 4-7 in Panara Theatre. Tickets go on sale Jan. 25 and are $7 for the general public, faculty and staff, and $5 for students, seniors 55+ and children. 

Johnston named to RIT/NTID faculty

Lisa Johnston in white t-shirt.

Lisa Johnston has joined the faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf as a member of the American Sign Language & Interpreting Education Department.

Johnston holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Gallaudet University and a master’s degree in sign language studies from the University of Arizona, focusing on signed language and deaf studies, curriculum development and pedagogy, and American Sign Language. Her thesis focused on the process of acquiring ASL as a second language for teachers of deaf students in academic settings.

Her major academic interests are literature, Deaf culture, teaching ASL as a first and second language, linguistics of signed language, ASL assessment and diagnostics, curriculum development and pedagogy, and first and second language acquisition. She has taught courses in all levels of ASL, as well as “Narrative and Poetic Styles in ASL,” “Current Trends in Deaf-related Careers” and others.

She holds professional certification from the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA), and serves as an ASLTA evaluator. She is a former board member of Deaf Women of Rochester, served on ASLTA’s Greater Rochester chapter, and served on the education/training subcommittee of the National Center for Deaf Health Research at the University of Rochester.

Prior to joining the faculty, Johnston was a faculty member teaching American Sign Language at RIT, the University of Rochester, Gallaudet University, Riverside Community College in Riverside, California, and the University of Arizona, Tucson.

She enjoys travel and water-related activities. Her two children are being raised in combined Deaf, Greek, and American cultures.

Hartman named to RIT/NTID faculty

laural hartman with curly hair wearing black and white print top with black sweater

Laural Hartman has joined the faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf a lecturer in the Visual Communication Studies Department, teaching core courses such as Drawing and Principles of Design and Color. 

Born and raised in the Los Angeles area where she attended TRIPOD, Hartman graduated from RIT/NTID in 2005 with a BFA in Illustration and went on to earn a master’s degree in NTID’s Master of Science program in Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in 2007. Her husband, Jeff is a fellow RIT/NTID alumnus who works as a systems administrator for Convo Communications. They have a one-year-old son named Holden.

After graduating from RIT/NTID, Hartman moved to San Francisco where she bought an antique press and established her own letterpress shop, Dirty Beard Press. Prior to moving back to Rochester, she taught high school at The Learning Center for the Deaf (now Marie Philips School) in Framingham, Massachusetts.  She continues to run Dirty Beard Press on weekends.

Her custom work has been exhibited at The Berkeley Art Center, the Minna Gallery in San Francisco and the Delaplaine Gallery in Frederick, Maryland. 

“We are fortunate to have another talented member of our alumni community back on campus as part of the faculty,” said Dr. Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “Laural brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our students and serves as a role model for them.”


Allen named to RIT/NTID faculty

Alesia Allen wearing glasses, white shirt and necklace

Alesia Nicole Allen has joined the faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Liberal Studies.

Allen teaches introductory courses in Psychology and Abnormal Psychology.

A native of Ohio, Allen attended RIT/NTID and earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2004. She earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Gallaudet University, and expects to defend her dissertation in 2016 and earn a Ph.D. from Gallaudet in Clinical Psychology.  

She is the recipient of the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program Achievement Award, Officer Appreciation Award and Outstanding Advocacy Award presented by NTID’s Student Government for advocating the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing people on campus. She also was honored for her service to the Philadelphia community for providing services for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals with mental health concerns.

“In my opinion, teaching goes beyond the classroom and also consists of advising and mentoring,” Allen said. “This is critical because I believe effective teaching involves building rapport and being sensitive to students’ needs.  Another important responsibility involves scholarship and staying up to date with research trends in the field. Currently, I am working on completing my dissertation which focuses primarily on hard-of-hearing individuals and their overall psychological well-being. I encourage students to get involved in research and provide support to them in their efforts. Finally, there’s a service component of my job. Service initiatives may include getting involved on committees to help provide feedback on improving goals of the department, mentoring students, or getting involved in some efforts to help Rochester community.” 

“We are pleased to have Alesia back at RIT/NTID as a member of our faculty,” said Dr. Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “She is an outstanding example of all that is possible with an RIT/NTID education, and is a true role model for our students.”


RIT’s national Carnegie Classification changed to “Doctoral University”

students in 'clean suits' with heads and faces covered in a lab looking at a monitor

It’s official: Rochester Institute of Technology is now considered a “doctoral university” by the leading national classification of U.S. colleges and universities.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education has changed RIT from “Masters – Comprehensive” to “Doctoral University – Limited Research Activity.” This change occurs when a university graduates more than 20 Ph.D. degrees per year, a figure that RIT has exceeded in recent years. In May 2015, RIT awarded 33 doctoral degrees in seven Ph.D. programs, the most in its history.

“We have been expecting this change, and it reflects the rapid upward momentum of RIT over the last several decades,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “The movement of RIT into the ranks of the nation’s finest colleges and universities is a remarkable story.”

The Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past 46 years. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed a classification of colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis in 1970. This framework has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students, or faculty.

RIT began its first doctoral program in 1990 in imaging science, the first in the nation. In the 2000s, RIT added six more in the areas of astrophysics, color science, computing and information sciences, engineering, microsystems engineering, and sustainability. Several interdisciplinary doctoral programs are in the planning stages.

RIT sponsored research grew by 18 percent in 2015, reaching a record $62 million in funding. RIT received 356 new awards from a variety of state, federal, corporate, and foundation sponsors. Federal funding was at an all-time high with the National Science Foundation providing $13 million and the National Institutes of Health providing $3 million.

The Carnegie Classification change also means that RIT will likely soon be ranked among the “National Universities” by U.S. News & World Report, rather than among the top “Regional Universities – North” as has been the case since the magazine began its annual rankings in 1983.

For the first time in the university’s 187-year history, the word “research” was incorporated into the vision statement of RIT’s 2015-2025 strategic plan “Greatness Through Difference.” The vision statement reads: “RIT will be a great world university whose academic portfolio, research agenda, and educational model align with the shifting needs of a complex planet.”