Deaf Person of the Month
Dr. Peter C. Hauser is a Deaf clinical neuropsychologist with an interdisciplinary-research background. He’s an Associate Professor in NTID’s Department of Research and Teacher Education, and the Research Initiative Director of Neurocognitive Foundations of Visual Language and Visual Learning at the National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (known as VL2), at Gallaudet University, where he also serves as Science Mentorship Leader. At NTID, he’s Director of the Deaf Studies Laboratory, where he studies the cognitive, language, and psychosocial aspects of visual learning. A popular teacher, he’s received RIT’s Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Isaac L. Jordan, Sr. Pluralism Award for Promoting Diversity and Inclusion.
He has over 35 publications, regularly presents nationally and internationally on a variety of topics—interpreting issues, measuring ASL proficiency, how ASL is processed in the brain.
Profoundly deafened at age 5, he earned B.A.s in Psychology and Philosophy at Central Connecticut State University in 1994, and two M.A.s—in Linguistics (1998) and Psychology (1999)—and his doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2000—from Gallaudet University, and has done postdoctoral training in Neuropsychology at University of Rochester.
At NTID, he directs the Deaf Studies Laboratory, which he set up to get more students involved in the excitement, and explores clinical neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, and psycholinguistics as they relate to the Deaf experience. The DSL collaborates with the Bavelier Laboratory in UR’s Brain & Cognitive Sciences program.
In August 2013, having received a $34,000 mentorship grant from the NSF, Hauser took six Deaf students to the Sign Language Researchers Toolkit workshop hosted by University College London; they presented at the 11th Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference (having brought along an ASL interpreter). Hauser noted, “The number of deaf people studying sign languages is very low compared to the number of hearing people who are conducting sign-language research in educational linguistics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, theoretical linguistics, and such.”
He wants to see those numbers increase. Later that month, NTID/RIT and UR received a $2.1 million, 5-year grant from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (part of National Institutes of Health) to train Deaf and hard-of-hearing students pursuing graduate degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences, establishing the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program, with Hauser as principal investigator for RIT. He said, “This is an amazing opportunity for aspiring deaf scholars who have long been under-served and under-recognized.”
His students are a diverse group of Deaf, HoH, and hearing—and everybody learns from each other.