Innovation Hall of Fame

James J. DeCaro Headshot

James J. DeCaro

James J. DeCaro is currently professor and interim president of theĀ National Technical Institute for the Deaf. He is the immediate past director of NTID's Postsecondary Education Network-International (PEN-International), a multinational collaborative network of colleges and universities serving deaf students that is funded by more than $10 million in grants from The Nippon Foundation of Japan. DeCaro is also immediate past director of the NTID Center on Access Technology, which focuses upon the application of innovative technologies to facilitate access to educational settings for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Prior to holding these posts, he served as dean of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf for 14 academic years (1985 - 1998), two of those years as interim director and CEO. In 2009, he was named Dean Emeritus by RIT President William Destler.

Of his RIT experience, he says, "From the first time I set foot on this campus as a new member of the faculty in 1971, it was clear to me that I was expected to take risks, and develop and implement new ways of teaching people who are deaf...but to do so in a calculated and systematic fashion. That is, develop new approaches to reaching out to people who are deaf...finding innovative ways to meet their educational needs. The educational history of people who are deaf was one of underachievement and low expectations. For almost 40 years now, I have been given the freedom to pursue these ends...and not only at the college of NTID but across the university. RIT is an institution that has thrived on innovation and change and has been nimble and flexible in providing its people with the opportunity to innovate. For this, I am most appreciative and thrilled."

DeCaro holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering and a Ph.D. in instructional technology. DeCaro was also awarded an honorary doctorate in 2003 by Bauman Moscow State Technical University (Russia) for his contributions to the postsecondary education of people who are deaf.

Professor DeCaro has been a Rotary International Scholar at University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (England) and a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Orebro University (Sweden). He holds an honorary professorship at Tianjin University of Technology (China). In 2008 he received the FESCO award of Japan for his service to humanity.