Colin Allen Headshot

Colin Allen


Department of Liberal Studies
National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Office Location
Office Mailing Address
52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Office #2242, Rochester, NY 14623

Colin Allen


Department of Liberal Studies
National Technical Institute for the Deaf


Video Bio

Mr. Colin Allen AM* 

Colin is a Faculty Lecturer at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology. As part of his work at the University, he has developed a course titled “International Deaf Leadership and Community Development” which focuses on the human rights of deaf and hard of hearing people. Colin is also a contributor to the Center for International Educational Outreach

Colin served as the President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) from 2011 to 2019. Prior to this, Colin served as a board member for WFD from 2003 to 2011. Additionally, Colin served as Chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA). He guided and represented the WFD and IDA in their engagement with the United Nations System and with other international human rights agencies and international development organizations.  

Colin has advanced the human rights of deaf people and persons with disabilities for over 40 years through political, professional, and social involvement. His contributions to the Deaf Community began locally in his home state and then broadened to encompass Australia and the international realm.

(* The "AM" signifies that Mr. Allen is a Member of the Order of Australia.)


  • Allen, C., Kurz, K., & Russell, D. (2021). A global report: International Perspectives on Leadership Among Deaf and Interpreter Communities
  • Russell, D., and Allen, C. (2013). Book foreword for Napier, J., & McKee, R., & Goswell, D. (Sign language interpreting: Theory & practice – Serbian version). Translated and adapted by D. Zizic & V. Jovanovic. Serbia
  • Haualand H., & Allen, C. (2009). Deaf People and Human Rights, World Federation of the Deaf and Swedish National Association of the Deaf
  • Allen, C. (2008). Seven Regional Survey Reports of the Deaf Human Rights Survey Report, World Federation of the Deaf & Swedish National Association of the Deaf
  • Allen, C. Walters, & S., Emerson, S. (2007). Balkan Survey Report (Insight into the situation of deaf people in Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey), Finnish Association of the Deaf

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
This course is designed to provide a basic introduction to inclusive leadership and community development by focusing on what it means to be a good leader who facilitates community development. Emphasis in the course is on the practice of leadership. The course will examine topics such as: understanding leadership, recognizing leadership traits, engaging people’s strengths, understanding philosophy and styles, attending to tasks and relationships, developing community leadership skills, creating a vision, establishing a constructive community climate, listening to out‐group members, handling conflict, addressing ethics in community leadership, overcoming obstacles, and ensuring inclusion of racial and disability justice frameworks in various community leadership approaches. Students will assess their leadership traits and skills to improve their own leadership performance.
3 Credits
Being a successful community leader requires the ability to understand and respond effectively to organizational context. This course provides a comprehensive understanding of organizations with emphasis on various approaches to organizational development. Specific focus will be placed on the workplace structure in educational, government, non-profit, and entrepreneurial environments. Finally, students will learn about methods that organizations use for accessibility and learn about organizational racial justice and disability justice.
3 Credits
This course will define intersectionality and review the reality of the intersection of race, class, gender and sexual identity. Students will explore how systems of oppression reinforce each other and visually see how varying identities intersect to create an overall matrix of domination. Essential to this course is understanding that there is no construction of race separate from gender, no construction of class separate from race, no construction of sexual identity separate from gender and that identity is not static but contingent, contextual, and simultaneous effect of multiple identities.
3 Credits
The challenges and opportunities for deaf community development vary from one country to another. This course focuses on the skills and best practices for deaf community leaders to implement in their countries of origin. Students will be introduced to international laws that support deaf and their communities. The achievements of past and current international deaf community leaders will be studied and used as a model for identifying the needs of communities and mobilizing community action. This course is designed for international and domestic students who are committed to making positive organizational changes.

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