Stuart Low, staff writer, The Democrat and Chronicle


Alan Hurwitz, EdD

The Democrat and Chronicle, a regional newspaper in the Rochester/western-NY area, reports on the imminent departure of Alan Hurwitz, EdD, from NTID as he heads for Washington to become president on January 1 of Gallaudet University, which is among the leading liberal arts institutions for the deaf.

Hurwitz established his career at Gallaudet’s traditional rival: the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, or NTID, one of eight colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology. Joining as a science professor in 1970, he became its first deaf dean in 1998 and president in 2008.

Among Hurwitz’ future endeavors: he plans to begin a partnership between NTID and Gallaudet to train health care workers who can communicate with deaf and hard-of-hearing patients, to address the critical shortage in this area. Students would begin their studies at Gallaudet, and go to NTID for technical courses.

Rochester General Hospital would provide internships, and UR’s National Center on Deaf Health Research could share its expertise on promoting health care for deaf populations. Preliminary talks with them should begin early next year, and a national task force will be formed to shape the program, Hurwitz told the newspaper.

He also has launched a new service at NTID to aid veterans who lost hearing in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"Many troops do not use hearing protection while out on missions," RIT said in a statement, citing reports from military doctors. "They feel that it affects their ability to do their job." The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that some 70,000 soldiers suffered hearing losses in combat.

"Serving them is our responsibility, by virtue of our expertise in hearing loss," Hurwitz told the newspaper.

Next year, NTID will help such veterans with communications skills and psychological support. With the help of interpreters and note-takers, some may enter degree programs at RIT, which is a Yellow Ribbon College offering low-cost tuition to recent veterans.

Deaf since birth, Hurwitz was raised by deaf parents in Sioux City, Iowa.

He excelled as an electrical engineering major at Washington University, St Louis. That led to five years as an engineer and programmer in that city’s McDonnell Douglas aerospace company.

He first began using sign-language interpreters at the University of Rochester, where he earned a doctorate in education. His new-found teaching skills and science background were fully exploited at NTID, which saw major changes during his tenure.

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[Source: Democrat and]