“It’s a tremendous advantage for us to have a dedicated space in which faculty and students who are interested in research can come together to brainstorm ideas,” said Gary Long, NTID interim associate dean of research. “We’ve created this engaging environment, a sandbox for research if you will, that wasn’t here before.”
The 23,000-square-foot facility serves as a hub for cross-disciplinary learning and promotes teachers/scholars working collaboratively on research projects with students and colleagues from NTID, other colleges, and universities. The five centers housed in Rosica Hall focus on NTID’s core research themes, including teaching and learning, communication, access technology, and employment success. To date, federal agencies have awarded Rosica’s centers over $6.7 million in funding for collaborative initiatives.
The Deaf Studies Laboratory studies the effect of sign language learning and audism on deaf individuals’ cognition, education, and health. The DSL also operates the NIH-funded Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate Program, a program of mentoring and support for deaf and hard-of-hearing graduate students as they prepare to enter a doctoral program in behavioral or biomedical research. The current Bridges scholars are enrolled in environmental science, applied statistics, and experimental psychology. DSL has also received more than $5 million in funding from the NSF.
The Technological Education Center for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students (DeafTEC) is an NSF-funded Center of Excellence that supports high schools, community colleges, and employers with deaf or hard-of-hearing constituents across the country. DeafTEC’s goal is to increase the number of deaf and hard-of-hearing students entering into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related careers. DeafTEC offers training and educational programming used by educational institutions and employers in Florida, Texas, and California.
REACH conducts collaborative research on the career outcomes of deaf college graduates. The University of Rochester is currently collaborating with the REACH Center on a project that investigates stereotype threat effects on deaf and hard-of-hearing students’ performance on mathematics tests.
The Research Center for Teaching and Learning (RCfTL) is founded upon upon NTID’s commitment to bring faculty together from different disciplines to enhance deaf education. It’s currently collaborating with RIT’s College of Science on an NSF-funded initiative to develop online tools and strategies that present complex statistic concepts to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The center has also participated in research projects about teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing students that are led by colleagues across the university.
The Collaboratory on Economic, Demographic, and Policy Studies collects demographic, economic, and occupational data on NTID alumni to determine the impact of a postsecondary education on people who are deaf or hard of hearing. One of the agencies the collaboratory partners with is the Social Security Administration.
From its conception, Rosica Hall has been a collaborative space. Deaf and hard-of-hearing faculty, staff, students, and alumni were invited to contribute to the building’s design plans, and an NTID alumnus was one of the architects. Throughout the two-story building there are technology-rich workspaces, including writable walls and mobile white boards that make iteasy for students and faculty to display ideas and solve problems together.
Added Long, “The building’s features and amenities are just part of our overall strategy to grow our research funding and engage undergraduates and master’s level students in the research process.”