Representatives from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the World Federation of the Deaf have signed a formal cooperation agreement as a way to continue and strengthen the relationship between the world’s first and largest technological college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and the global deaf rights organization. The signing, led by RIT/NTID President Gerry Buckley and WFD President Joseph Murray, took place at the 18th World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf held earlier this month in Paris.
Details of the agreement include:
- Cooperation and collaboration regarding opportunities contributing to shared values, such as providing leadership and advocacy to deaf communities.
- Assisting in making connections and building relationships with national deaf associations for mutual grant opportunities.
- Exchanging information and best practices related to approaches in training and empowerment.
- Promoting the human rights of deaf people within the framework of the United Nations Human Rights system, paying particular attention to the UN Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Affirming commitments to full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by all UN member states. Both organizations note the importance of the implementation of the articles dealing with sign languages and professional sign language interpreters.
- Commitment to sharing new research discoveries published by RIT/NTID faculty with WFD for broad dissemination, including research on sign language interpreting and pedagogy, access technologies and employment.
“We are honored to be entering into this cooperation agreement with our friends from WFD, who tirelessly work to improve the lives of people who are deaf throughout the world,” said Buckley. “We take this commitment seriously and look forward to strengthening our relationship as time goes on.”
Gerard J. Buckley, president of Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, received the George W. Nevil Award of Merit at the graduation ceremony for students of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia.
The award honored Buckley’s work as an educator and administrator and read, “In recognition of making significant contributions to the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing people.” He also delivered the commencement address to the graduating class.
Peter Bailey, head of school at PSD, noted Buckley’s service to the Deaf community throughout the country.
“Dr. Buckley has inspired many PSD students as well as students from all over the country with his leadership and innovation,” Bailey said. “We were honored to present the Award of Merit to him as a way of thanking him for all of his efforts.”
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Buckley has nearly 40 years of experience in higher education, including nearly 30 years serving in a variety of capacities at NTID. From 1990 to 1993, Buckley served as chairperson and assistant professor of the Department of Educational Outreach at NTID, followed by five years as director of NTID's Center for Outreach and assistant professor on the RIT/NTID Social Work Support Team. From 1998 to 2003, he served as NTID associate dean for student services, and held the position of NTID assistant vice president for college advancement with responsibility for the admissions, placement, marketing, and outreach operations of the college from 2004 until beginning his role as NTID president of NTID and RIT vice president on January 1, 2011.
He has served as president of the board of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association and as president of the Lexington School for the Deaf Board of Trustees in New York City. He also has served on the National Advisory Board of NIH's Institute on Deafness at the recommendation of Senator Robert Dole (retired).
Buckley holds a B.S.in Social Work from RIT/NTID, an M.S.W. from University of Missouri and an Ed.D. in Special Education from the University of Kansas.
It’s the end of the fall semester, and we’re looking forward to the holiday break, followed by the intersession, and then spring semester. Intersession, or Tiger Term, as we also call it, offers a number of opportunities for students. Some will take a Tiger Term class on campus to fulfill a course requirement. Others will travel abroad and pick up a few credits in Italy or other sun-filled locations. Some will work; some will look for co-ops; and others will just have fun on their break. And then spring semester will begin with new academic challenges and fun times with clubs, organizations, student government and student life events. At each step along the way of this annual cycle, your students learn and grow and move ever toward that life success we know awaits them.
At this time of year, I always like to reflect on the year past and ponder the potential challenges and successes of the coming year. I am proud of the the work your students have accomplished and the opportunities they have taken advantage of. I’m grateful for the support you have given them, and I thank you for entrusting RIT/NTID with the opportunity to work with them. May you and your family relish every minute of the holiday season and enjoy a happy and healthy new year.
The annual Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival will take place from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 3. Students, faculty and staff are exhibiting and volunteering as the Rochester community arrives on campus to imagine RIT! The event is free and the public is invited. For more information, visit the Imagine RIT website.