Rochester Institute of Technology has been home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf since 1968, when the first class of Deaf students enrolled in RIT's academic programs. In 2010, RIT and NTID partnered together to establish a Center on the RIT campus that provides a place for students, faculty, and staff to gather, interact, and learn about Deaf culture and heritage, as well as American Sign Language (ASL). That Center, the RIT ASL and Deaf Studies Community Center, is centrally located on campus. It offers a state-of-the-art classroom for teaching and learning, two offices, and a lounge area that promotes open and clear access to communication and interaction among Deaf and hearing peers and colleagues.
The RADSCC is committed to sharing information and resources regarding ASL and Deaf culture with the world. It supports diversity on campus by providing a comfortable, creative environment for interaction between Deaf and hearing people. It is a resource for local and international outreach activities that celebrate the achievements of the Deaf community and supports advocacy and education among Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing colleagues.
ASL and Deaf Studies classes are taught in the RADSCC, along with sponsored presentations by community, national, and international leaders in ASL and Deaf culture and heritage. Student organizations sponsor and participate in events, as well as gather for meetings in the Center. RIT faculty and staff stop in for ASL tutoring and practice. Hearing students taking ASL as part of their Modern Language program in the College of Liberal Arts also come to the RADSCC for ASL tutoring and practice.
The Rochester Deaf community is included in planning and participating in various Center-sponsored events. Various works of art by Deaf artists from the community and around the world are displayed. There are ongoing digital presentations of information, announcements of events and activities, and spotlights on specific events that celebrate achievements of Deaf people. The RADSCC will soon include an extensive archive of material related to Deaf art, Deaf history, Deaf people, Deaf culture, and technology.
Our mission is to share information, resources, and knowledge connected with American Sign Language and deaf culture. The Center supports the preservation of American Sign Language, and is a resource for community, national, and international outreach activities that enrich and celebrate the talents and achievements of the deaf community. Finally, we support advocacy and education for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing colleagues.
This is just the beginning! We hope to expand to become more than a classroom and meeting place: to also become a full museum and archive, as well as community center that serves not only the RIT community, but the local Rochester community and national and international deaf communities as well.