By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Gallaudet University officials named four finalists Wednesday in the search for the next president of the nation's premier college for the deaf and hard of hearing, signaling that the school is near the conclusion of a process that sparked mass protests and arrests last time.
The finalists are: T. Alan Hurwitz, president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf; Roslyn Rosen, director of the National Center on Deafness at California State University at Northridge; Ronald J. Stern, superintendent and chief executive of the New Mexico School for the Deaf; and Stephen F. Weiner, provost of Gallaudet.
In a message posted Wednesday afternoon on the school's Web site, search committee chairman Jim Macfadden wrote that "we had a lot of fun coming to this point, naming the final candidates. Now the excitement, anticipation and thrill begins."
The school's trustees are seeking a replacement for Robert Davila, whose term ends in December. After I. King Jordan, a popular president, departed in 2006, students rebelled against the selection of Jane K. Fernandes, Jordan's provost, as his successor.
They took over the administration building, then barricaded the gates to the school. Police arrested more than 100 students as they cleared the entrances. The trustees rescinded Fernandes's appointment and installed Davila, who is credited with restoring stability, first as interim leader and then as president.
All the finalists are deaf, and all can sign. Previous protests swept Jordan in as Gallaudet's first deaf president. Fernandes said the opposition to her was rooted in the fact that she grew up among hearing children and did not learn American Sign Language until her 20s. Protesters cited other objections, including her record at Gallaudet and the credibility of the search process.
Weiner, 54, has been provost of Gallaudet since July 2007 and has worked at the school for all but two of the past 29 years. He has served as dean of the undergraduate school and associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies, among other posts. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Gallaudet and a doctorate in education, counseling and development at American University.
Since 2000, Stern, 57, has led the New Mexico school, which is both state school and outreach agency to school districts and families. He helped draft New Mexico's Educational Bill of Rights for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. He graduated from Gallaudet and received a master's degree at Northridge and a doctorate in educational leadership at the University of New Mexico.
Rosen, 66, spent more than 30 years at Gallaudet as chief academic officer, professor and dean of the College for Continuing Education, among other posts. She is past president of the National Association of the Deaf. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Gallaudet and a doctorate in education administration from Catholic University.
Hurwitz, 67, presides over one of eight colleges in the Rochester Institute of Technology and is vice president and dean of the institute, in addition to leading the school for the deaf. He holds a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis, a master's degree from St. Louis University and a doctorate in education, curriculum and teaching from the University of Rochester.
The finalists will visit the campus in the next few weeks, and the board of trustees will make a selection in October. The new leader will start Jan. 1.