Joseph Hill Headshot

Joseph Hill

Assistant Dean NTID Faculty Recruitment and Retention

Academic Affairs
National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Joseph Hill

Assistant Dean NTID Faculty Recruitment and Retention

Academic Affairs
National Technical Institute for the Deaf


BS, Miami University; MA, Ph.D., Gallaudet University


Dr. Joseph C. Hill is an Associate Professor in the Department of ASL and Interpreting Education, Associate Director of the Center on Culture and Language, and Assistant Dean for Faculty Recruitment and Retention at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institutes for the Deaf. His research interests include socio-historical and -linguistic aspects of African-American variety of American Sign Language and attitudes and ideologies about signing varieties in the American Deaf community. His contributions include The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Its History and Structure (2011) which he co-authored with Carolyn McCaskill, Ceil Lucas, and Robert Bayley and Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community (2012). Link: 

Areas of Expertise

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
Lucas, Ceil, et al. "The Segregation and Desegregation of the Southern Schools for the Deaf: The Relationship between Language Policy and Dialect Development." Language 98. 4 (2022): e173-e198. Web.
Panko, Tiffany L., et al. "The Deaf Community's Experiences Navigating COVID-19 Pandemic Information." Health Literacy Research and Practice 5. 2 (2021): e162-e170. Print.
Occhino, Corrine, et al. "New Trends in ASL Variation Documentation." Sign Language Studies 21. 3 (2021): 350-377. Print.
Brentari, Diane, Joseph Hill, and Brianne Amador. "Variation in phrasal rhythm in sign languages: introducing “rhythm ratio.”." Sign Language & Linguistics 21. 1 (2018): 41-76. Print.
Hill, Joseph. "The Importance of the Sociohistorical Context In Sociolinguistics: The Case of Black ASL." Sign Language Studies 18. 1 (2017): 41-57. Print.
Hill, Joseph and Carolyn McCaskill. "Reflections on the Black ASL Project." Sign Language Studies 17. 1 (2016): 59-63. Print.
Invited Keynote/Presentation
Hill, Joseph C. "Why History Matters: The Impact of Educational and Research Decisions on Black ASL." Black Deaf Studies Symposium. Gallaudet University. Washington, DC. 30 Mar. 2023. Conference Presentation.
Hill, Joseph C. "Black ASL: Racism and Audism as the Origins of Variation." Languages and Lives in Deaf Communities. University of Bern. Bern, Switzerland. 18 Nov. 2022. Conference Presentation.
Hill, Joseph C. "The Past, Present, and Future of Black ASL." Building Connections with ASL Corpora. University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 5 Mar. 2020. Lecture.
Hill, Joseph and Corrine Occhino. "Documenting Individual Variation in ASL (DIVA)." Building Connections with ASL Corpora. University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 6 Mar. 2020. Conference Presentation.
Hill, Joseph. "Black, Deaf, and Disabled: Navigating the Institutional, Ideological, and Linguistic Barriers with Intersectional Identities in the United States." Linguistics Martin Luther King Junior Colloquium. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 17 Jan. 2020. Lecture.
Invited Article/Publication
Hill, Joseph C. and Eyasu Hailu Tamene. "Hierarchies and Constellations: Language Attitudes and Ideologies of Signed Languages." Journal of Sociolinguistics. (2022). Web.
Hill, Joseph. "Signing Differently: Dialects of American Sign Language in NC." Tar Heel Junior Historian. (2016). Print.
Book Chapter
Hill, Joseph C., Su Kyong Isakson, and Christine Nakahara. "Infusing Social Justice in Interpreting Education." "Signed Language Interpreting Pedagogy: Insights and Innovations from the Conference of Interpreters Trainers." Ed. Laurie Swabey and Rachel E. Herring. Washington, D.C: Gallaudet University Press, 2022. 394-407. Print.
Bayley, Robert, et al. "The Sociolinguistic Ramifications of Social Injustice: The Case of Black ASL." The Routledge Companion to the Work of John R. Rickford. Ed. Renee Blake and Isabelle Buchstaller. Milton Park, Oxfordshire: Taylor and Francis, 2019. 133-141. Print.
Bayley, Robert, et al. "Perceptions of Black American Sign Language." Language Regard: Methods, Variation and Change. Ed. Betsy E Evans, Erica J Benson, and James N Stanford. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 167-182. Print.
Kurz, Kim and Joseph Hill. "The Heart of Interpreting from Deaf Perspectives." Deaf Eyes on Interpreting. Ed. Thomas K Holcomb and David H Smith. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 2018. 58-76. Print.
McCaskill, Carolyn, et al. "Citizenship and Education: The Case of the Black Deaf Community." "In Our Own Hands: Essays in Deaf History 1780 - 1970." Ed. Brian H. Greenwald and Joseph J. Murray. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 2016. 40-60. Print.
Lucas, Ceil, et al. "Sociolinguistics: Black American Sign Language." "The Deaf Studies Encyclopedia." Ed. Patrick Boudreault and Genie Gertz. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2015. 900-903. Print.
Invited Paper
Hill, Joseph C. "Overrepresentation of Whiteness Is in Sign Language as Well: A Commentary on “Undoing Competence: Coloniality, Homogeneity, and the Overrepresentation of Whiteness in Applied Linguistics.”." Language Learning. (2022). Print.
Published Review
Hill, Joseph. "Do deaf communities actually want sign language gloves?" Rev. of Sign-to-speech translation using machine-learning-assisted stretchable sensor arrays, eds. Stuart Thomas, et al. Nature Electronics 15 Jul. 2020: 512-513. Web.
Hill, Joseph. "Book Review." Rev. of Deaf Culture: Exploring Deaf Communities in the United States, ed. Ceil Lucas. Sign Language Studies 11 Oct. 2017: 162-165. Print.
Creative Non-fiction
Cullinan, Danica, et al. Signing Black in America: A Documentary by the Language & Life Project. Language & Life Project, 2020.
Peer Reviewed/Juried Poster Presentation or Conference Paper
Lucas, Ceil, Joseph Hill, and Danica Cullinan. "Signing Black in America: The Story of Black American Sign Language (Film)." Proceedings of the 48th Annual Conference of New Ways of Analyzing Variation. Ed. Tyler Kendall. Eugene, Oregon: n.p..
Hill, Joseph C. and Kelsey Beers. "Language Attitudes and Policies at Mainstream and Deaf Schools in Italy." Proceedings of the High Desert Linguistics Society. Ed. OSF. Albuquerque, New Mexico: OSF.
Lee, Youmee, Andrew Smith, and Joseph Hill. "The Challenge of Preserving Captured Sign Language Data in Human Avatar Models." Proceedings of the Frameless Labs Symposium. Ed. Juilee Decker and David Halbstein. Rochester, New York: n.p..
Full Length Book
Hill, Joseph, Diane Lillo-Martin, and Sandra Wood. Sign Languages: Structures and Contexts. 1st Edition ed. New York, New York: Routledge, 2019. Print.
Published Conference Proceedings
Bayley, Robert and Joseph Hill. "Attitudes Towards Black American Sign Langauge." Proceedings of the University of Pennsylvania Working Papers, New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV 45), Vancouver BC. Ed. Betsy Sneller. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennysylvania, 2017. Web.
Coyne, Dave and Joseph Hill. "Infusing Social Justice into Interpreting Education." Proceedings of the CIT 2016 Conference Proceedings. Ed. Miako Rankin, Mary Thumann, and Risa Shaw. Fremont, CA: Conference of Interpreter Trainers, 2017. Web.

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
This capstone course offers students an opportunity to integrate content areas in the program curriculum and investigate current issues and controversies in the field of interpreting. The course content and activities will vary depending on current issues, literature developments, and students’ interests, but students will be given guiding research tools through research development with a critical approach to interpreting-related issues.
3 Credits
Students in this course will be introduced to the study of American Sign Language in terms of its linguistic structure and use. In particular, students will learn to analyze the basic features of ASL phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics/discourse In addition, research related to variation in ASL and acquisition of ASL will also be reviewed. Please note fluency in ASL is required for this course, as instruction is in ASL (an interpreter will not be provided).

In the News

  • December 10, 2023

    side by side images of Seattle Seahawks football player D K Metcalf wearing the number 14 jersey.

    DK Metcalf’s sign language TD celebrations a ‘hot topic’ in Deaf community: ‘He has the swag with it’ 

    The Athletic talks to Deaf musician Sean Forbes ’08 (applied arts and sciences); Kim Kurz, professor in the National Technical Institute for the Deaf; and Joseph Hill, assistant dean of NTID Faculty Recruitment and Retention, about Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, who uses American Sign Language in touchdown celebrations. (This content requires a subscription to view.)

  • January 9, 2023

    person using sign language.

    Preserving Black ASL

    For years, Joseph Hill, assistant dean of NTID Faculty Recruitment and Retention and an associate professor in the Department of ASL and Interpreting Education, has studied how the segregation of southern Black Deaf Americans, along with their history and culture, has impacted the linguistics of today’s Black Deaf youth. Hill hopes his research will continue to uncover and preserve Black American Sign Language.

  • May 28, 2021

    two women wearing face masks looing at a pamphlet in a doctor's office.

    Researchers show deaf community needs greater guidance on COVID-19 management, care

    A team of researchers, led by NTID, has discovered that improved guidance on COVID-19 management and healthcare navigation accessible to the deaf community is needed. The conclusion is based on studies that show a higher portion of deaf respondents reported challenges with accessing, understanding, and trusting COVID-19 information compared to their hearing peers.