NTID Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The mission of the NTID Office of Diversity and Inclusion is to help transform NTID into a more inclusive and diverse learning community with emphasis on access, success, and equity by recruiting, retaining, and ensuring success of diverse students, faculty, and staff. NTID strives to build a community that values and respects one another by engaging all stakeholders and providing the best learning environment for faculty, staff, and student success. The NTID Office of Diversity and Inclusion supports this vision by promoting inclusion and diversity through different learning channels with emphasis on the inclusive model of excellence.

NTID recognizes that an inclusive and diverse community supports the goal of greatness through differences.

ODI Town Hall

[ID: Background image is white and gray. Text in black reads: NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan. The NTID Office of Diversity & Inclusion is hosting the last virtual town hall for the spring semester. Text in orange: Friday, April 30, noon-1:30pm. Text in black: The town hall is open to students, faculty, and staff and will be a webinar format. You must register with an RIT email address to attend. Registration link: https://bit.ly/3tLnqMo. The NTID Office of Diversity & Inclusion’s logo is in the top left corner, surrounded by orange and yellow. The bottom left corner has a QR code surrounded by orange.]

A Message from President Munson

Diversity Spotlight

Women’s History Month Spotlight
Tiffany Panko
Tiffany-Panko-Spotlight.jpg

[ID: The background image is purple, dark orange, and orange. A smiling woman has light skin, brown wavy hair, and wears a necklace and a black top. The Diversity & Inclusion logo is in the top left corner. Text in white reads: Women’s History Month Spotlight. Tiffany Panko.]


What woman inspires you, or who is your favorite heroine and why?
While Margaret Sanger has some flaws, she was ahead of her time and spoke up for women’s reproductive rights even if she had to escape to Europe or spend some time in jail. She also spearheaded the effort that resulted in the birth control pill and opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. that the origins of Planned Parenthood can be traced back to.

What assumptions about women would you like to see change?
That women are emotional and can’t be leaders because of their emotions. Emotions are not male or female; they’re human! No matter what gender you are, recognizing your emotions makes you a stronger leader.

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field?
Imposter syndrome is real. It can be hard, as a woman, to speak up and assert what you want and find mentors who will listen and help you achieve your goals.

What in your life has brought you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?
Being recognized and chosen as one of 125 AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors for my dedication to STEM and mentoring younger people to see their potential! Through this opportunity, in addition to connecting with other amazing Ambassadors, I won a grant to develop a women’s health book for deaf middle school girls, am displayed in the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, and have a 3D-printed statue that was displayed in the Dallas Love Field Airport while waiting for its launch with all of the statues post-COVID.

What can our community do to better support women?
Listen when they’re speaking, and listen to understand not react.

What advice would you give young women?
Follow your dreams, even if they scare you or you decide to change paths. Society will always tell you what you can and can’t do – that doesn’t matter. What matters at the end of each day is if you are happy with the path you are on.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Write fluently in Latin! Such a beautiful language.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I’m known for my baking! Don’t like coconut?
You’ll like my double chocolate coconut macaroons. Skeptical about lavender in baked goods?
Don’t be – you’ll love my lemon lavender shortbread cookies. Hate mayonnaise?
I’ll ask you if you liked my chocolate cake before telling you what made it moist!

Meet Our Team

Executive Team

Alesia Allen
Assistant Vice President for NTID Diversity and Inclusion
Joseph Hill
Assistant Dean NTID Faculty Recruitment and Retention
Thomastine Sarchet
Assistant Dean ALANA Academic Outreach, Access and Success
Peter Hauser
Assistant Dean for Research Mentorship

Support Staff

Christan Monin
Senior Staff Assistant

Alesia Allen is responsible for overseeing implementation of NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan. She serves as a member of the NTID Administrative Council and works closely with Keith Jenkins, RIT vice president and associate provost of diversity and inclusion, and his team. She monitors diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity and access regulations and issues in higher education and advises the NTID president and other NTID administrators on matters related to diversity and inclusion. Allen collaborates with faculty, staff, students, and other NTID units, including the NTID Diversity Group, to support diversity-related initiatives at NTID. She also has oversight responsibility for the NTID Faculty Program in Academia (NFPA), which is designed to diversify NTID’s faculty, and for recruitment and retention efforts for faculty and staff from historically underrepresented groups. 

Allen has experience working as a diversity dialogue facilitator, helping undergraduate students explore divisions among people on the basis of racial and ethnic identity and helping them examine racial and ethnic dynamics within and across deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing communities. She has provided multicultural workshops and mentored students of color, providing resources for them to succeed in their studies and in their careers following graduation.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from RIT/NTID and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Gallaudet University. 

As assistant dean for ALANA faculty recruitment and retention, Joseph Hill will work closely with Allen to diversify NTID’s faculty, with special emphasis on recruiting individuals who identify as African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American and Native American (ALANA). He will participate in the search process for faculty candidates, working with search committee chairs to increase diversity in candidate pools. He also will lead initiatives to support the retention and success of ALANA faculty members at NTID. As part of his new role, which is a three-year appointment, Hill will be a member of NTID’s Administrative Council.

Hill holds the rank of associate professor in NTID’s Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education. 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).

Hill earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Gallaudet University.

In Thomastine “Tommie” Sarchet-Maher’s new role as assistant dean of ALANA outreach, access, and success, she will work closely with NTID Academic Affairs on the development and expansion of domestic and international outreach and transition programs; dual-credit coursework; and assessments for admissions, placement and retention. She will work collaboratively to develop academic outreach and transition pipelines for ALANA, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and international students that minimize barriers, increase access and participation to educational opportunities, and promote overall success. She also will serve as a member of NTID’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion executive team. 

Sarchet-Maher is a member of the NTID Administrative Council and has been director of the Center for International Educational Outreach (IEO) since 2016, overseeing NTID’s international partnerships. She also serves as liaison to RIT Global Education and works closely with RIT’s international admissions’ offices, consulting and advising on international deaf and hard of hearing applicants. In 2018, she was named the Paul and Francena Miller Endowed Chair for International Education for NTID, a rotating appointment through all colleges of RIT. 

She teaches in NTID’s Master of Science program in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. She also leads curriculum development, assessment, training, and evaluation for international deaf education programs and established the Summer Transition Program (STP) and Fall Transition Program (FTP) with NTID faculty member Jessica Trussell. Sarchet-Maher serves as co-director for the Center for Education Research Partnerships (CERP) with Trussell. She is the 2005 recipient of the Isaac L. Jordan, Sr. Staff Pluralism Award; is a founding member of the NTID Diversity Group (NDG); co-chaired NTID’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; and served as co-moderator for NTID’s First Community Dialogue on Race. As a BIPOC woman in a leadership role, Sarchet-Maher formally and informally mentors non-tenure track faculty and staff of color seeking education and career advancement.

Sarchet-Maher holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in secondary deaf education, both from RIT/NTID. She currently is completing her doctorate in Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Rochester.  

In Peter Hauser’s new role as the assistant dean of research mentoring, he will work closely with the NTID pre-tenure faculty and the faculty in the NTID Fellowship Program for Academia (NFPA) to support their individual development plans. He will establish and lead a committee to develop NTID’s five-year research plan, including research mentorship support and resources. He also will become a member of NTID’s Administrative Council.

Hauser has been the director of the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program for under-representative minorities in biomedical sciences funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2014 and the principal investigator (PI) of the Broadening the Participation of Deaf Individuals in Sign Language Research program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 2013. He served as the Science Mentorship Leader of the NSF Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning 2011 – 2015. He also served as the leader of the NTID Pre-Tenure Faculty Group since 2016 and will continue to be the point of contact for tenure-related questions and support. He founded the NTID Tenure Track People of Color group in 2017 that now will be led by NTID’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion executive team, of which Hauser is a member.

Hauser will continue to direct the NTID Research Center on Culture and Language (CCL) where NTID faculty study deaf and hard-of-hearing communities of practice with the goal of enhancing sociocultural connectedness, health, learning, and well-being. In 2011 when Hauser received his tenure, he was recognized as one of the RIT’s Principal Investigator (PI) Millionaires, and he was the first NTID faculty member who had funding from both National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health totaling over $1 million. Since then, he has continued to be awarded grants from both federal agencies. He has published more than 50 peer-review journal articles and book chapters and has presented his research all over the world. Hauser is the past recipient of the RIT Provost’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring (2018), NTID National Advisory Group Outstanding Service Award (2009), Isaac L. Jordan, Sr. Pluralism Award for Promoting Diversity (2006), RIT Exemplary myCourses Teaching Award (2006), and Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005).

Hauser holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and philosophy from Central Connecticut State University, and master’s degrees in psychology and linguistics and a PhD in clinical psychology, all from Gallaudet University.

Christan Monin is a senior staff assistant in the NTID Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She provides administrative support and assists in coordinating events, workshops, and trainings.

Christan works closely with NTID’s director of diversity and inclusion and director of recruitment and retention as well as with students. She also provides administrative support for the NTID Faculty Program for Academia (NFPA) and manages a database of deaf professionals.

Before joining RIT, Christan served as a staff assistant for the Academic Advisement and Undergraduate Admissions departments at SUNY Brockport. Christan holds two degrees from Brockport, a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Health Science and a Master of Arts degree in English literature.

In her free time, Christan enjoys learning ASL, writing letters to her sponsored child in India, knitting, reading, cooking, and traveling.

Supporting Collaborators

Blake Nitko
Social Media Coordinator
Rachel Green
Special Assistant for Interpretation and Special Projects

Affiliated Organizations

NTID Diversity Group (NDG)

The NTID Diversity Group (NDG) is a faculty and staff volunteer group committed to promoting the best possible learning, living and working experience for AALANA (Asian, Latino, African, and Native American.) members of the RIT/NTID community. NDG's focus is community involvement, professional development and being a resource for the RIT/NTID community.

RIT Division of Diversity & Inclusion

The RIT Division of Diversity & Inclusion works collaboratively with academic and administrative units to provide a holistic range of services that enhance access and success for historically underrepresented students, faculty and staff, support education and scholarship, and ensure a welcoming, inclusive, vibrant and accessible environment for everyone.

NTID Faculty Program for Academia (NFPA)

The mission of the NTID Faculty Program for Academia (NFPA) is to work towards diversifying the faculty by increasing the number of post-secondary STEM instructors and professors from historically ​underrepresented groups who are qualified to teach DHH college students. The program provides qualified Fellows with up to three years of mentored experiences, opportunities, and resources to prepare them for academic careers working with the aforementioned population.

Each Fellow will have an individualized professional development team that will guide their overall career development and success. The program has two tracks: one for those who desire a post-secondary teaching career (lecture track) and one for those who desire a balanced teaching and scholarship career (assistant professor track).

While NTID is particularly interested in increasing the number of STEM faculty from underrepresented groups, candidates from other disciplines offered by NTID are eligible to apply.

NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan

Equal opportunity is one of our country’s most cherished values, but events here in Rochester and in communities across our nation demonstrate that we have work to do to ensure equal access and opportunity for all. The racism and inequity that exist in our society cannot be ignored.

See NTID's Antiracism and Social Justice Plan

Black Heritage Month Celebration Luncheon

A long-standing tradition in the NTID community, the Black Heritage Month Celebration Luncheon has evolved since its beginnings in the early 1990s. It began as a simple sharing of lunch among a small group of faculty and staff and, as of February 2020, is now a community-wide event with guest speakers. This transformation is the result of the efforts of Johnnie “JB” Brown, an NTID staff member who retired in 2020. You can learn more about the history of the luncheon from this downloadable PDF.

JB is also responsible for the establishment of the Johnnie “JB” Brown Black Heritage Month Celebration Endowment Fund, which is nearly fully funded and will cover all costs associated with the annual luncheon in perpetuity. If you would like to give to the fund, you can easily do so online here.