RIT/NTID announces personnel changes to support antiracism programs

Appointments will help support NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan

Alesia Allen, assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion; Joseph Hill, assistant dean for ALANA faculty recruitment and retention; Thomastine “Tommie” Sarchet-Maher, assistant dean of ALANA Outreach, Access, and Success; and Peter Hauser, assistant dean of research mentoring.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has announced personnel changes in support of the college’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan, which is scheduled for release this fall.

Alesia Allen has been named assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion; Joseph Hill will serve as assistant dean for ALANA (African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American and Native American) faculty recruitment and retention; Thomastine “Tommie” Sarchet-Maher is assistant dean of ALANA Outreach, Access, and Success; and Peter Hauser has been named assistant dean of research mentoring.

Allen, who previously was named NTID director of diversity and inclusion, will oversee implementation of NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan. She serves as a member of the NTID Administrative Council. Allen monitors diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity and access regulations, and issues in higher education and advises NTID administrators on matters related to diversity and inclusion. She 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 for Academia, designed to diversify NTID’s faculty, and for recruitment and retention efforts for faculty and staff from historically underrepresented groups. 

“Alesia’s new position aligns with the additional responsibilities she is taking on as we finalize and prepare for implementation of NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan,” said NTID President Gerry Buckley. “She has been instrumental in helping to draft and revise the plan, and I look forward to continuing to work with and support her as the NTID community works together to take the important steps outlined in the plan to make NTID better, stronger, and more welcoming of all people.”

As assistant dean for ALANA faculty recruitment and retention, Hill will work closely with Allen to diversify NTID’s faculty, with special emphasis on recruiting individuals who identify as 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 is an associate professor in NTID’s Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education with research interests in socio-historical and linguistic aspects of African-American varieties of American Sign Language, and attitudes and ideologies about signing varieties in the American Deaf community.

In Sarchet-Maher’s role as assistant dean of ALANA Outreach, Access, and Success, she will work closely with NTID Academic Affairs to develop and expand 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, who teaches in NTID’s Master of Science program in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, is a member of the NTID Administrative Council and has been director of the Center for International Educational Outreach 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 also leads curriculum development, assessment, training, and evaluation for international deaf education programs, and established the Summer Transition Program and Fall Transition Program with NTID faculty member Jessica Trussell. Sarchet-Maher serves as co-director for the Center for Education Research Partnerships 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; 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.

In Hauser’s new role as the assistant dean of research mentoring, he will work closely with the NTID pre-tenure faculty and faculty in the NTID Faculty Program for Academia 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.

Since 2014, 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, and the principal investigator of the Broadening the Participation of Deaf Individuals in Sign Language Research program funded by the National Science Foundation since 2013. He served as the Science Mentorship Leader of the NSF Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning from 2011 to 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 with the goal of enhancing sociocultural connectedness, health, learning, and well-being in deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. In 2011, when Hauser received his tenure, he was recognized as one of the RIT’s Principal Investigator 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. Hauser is the past recipient of the RIT Provost’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring, NTID National Advisory Group Outstanding Service Award, Isaac L. Jordan, Sr. Pluralism Award for Promoting Diversity, RIT Exemplary myCourses Teaching Award, and Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“We have assembled an outstanding team to help with implementation of NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan,” added Buckley. “Each will focus on key areas that are integral to success of the plan and integral to the successful recruitment, retention, and development of ALANA faculty, staff, and students. They will not do this work alone; anti-racism and social justice work requires on-going commitment and support from everyone in the NTID community. Together, we will make meaningful and lasting change.”