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A new mentoring forum for deaf and hard-of-hearing academics
  • Michele Cooke,
  • Ana Caicedo
Michele Cooke
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Corresponding Author:cooke@geo.umass.edu

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Ana Caicedo
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
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While about 17% of the adult population have significant hearing loss, we remain under-represented within academia outside of the field of Deaf Studies. One primary contributor to the leaky pipeline is lack of mentorship due to the difficulty of deaf and hard of hearing academics in recognizing one another. Hearing loss among non-signers is seldom obvious. Consequently, non-signing deaf and hard of hearing academics at predominantly hearing institutions often remain isolated without guidance on how to manage the myriad of communication challenges facing academics, such as teaching, leading group meetings, addressing questions at conferences, participating in discussions at professional meetings, and serving on grant proposal panels. Adequate solutions are often not available from our hearing health care providers nor from disability services offices, which are mandated and designed to serve undergraduate students. However, the success of all academics depends on mastering these different communication challenges. To fill the mentoring gap, we have started a blog by and for academics at all career stages with some degree of hearing loss called, “The Mind Hears”. This title derives from the Victor Hugo quote “What matters deafness of the ear when the mind hears, the one true deafness, the incurability deafness is that of the mind.” The goals of the blog are: To provide a forum for crowd-sourcing ways to minimize our challenges and share strategies for thriving in academia with hearing loss. To foster a network of deaf and hard of hearing academics who promote hearing inclusive strategies at universities. Through this blog we hope to reach deaf and hard of hearing academics all around the world, and thus reduce isolation in our community and build a community toolbox of resources and ideas. Hearing loss is variable and can affect us in many and different ways – but through this shared blog we hope to provide something of value to all of those who visit and contribute to our discussions.