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R. I.

T Rochester Institute of Technology

American Sign Language & Interpreting Education
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

February 21, 2019

Promotion Committee
Gallaudet University
800 Florida Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

To Whom It May Concern,

It is with great pleasure that I am writing a letter of support for Dr. Raychelle Harris who is applying for
promotion to Professor in her position in the Department of American Sign Language & Deaf Studies at
Gallaudet University. I am confident that Dr. Harris will receive many letters of support related to her
application for promotion. However, I would like to specifically focus on several areas that I believe
encapsulate Dr. Harris’s many talents based on my experiences working with her.

I had the honor of working with Dr. Harris on a book chapter related to ASL Academic framework. As in
other spoken languages, there is a clear definition of their academic language as well as their theories and
framework. ASL is still relatively new and more research is being sought in this area. Dr. Harris, Dr.
Christopher Kurz and I have met many times to discuss what ASL academic language means and its
framework. Dr. Harris is a leader in this area and I have no doubt she will continue to explore and define
ASL academic language which could be a breakthrough for fields such as sign language research,
effective pedagogical approaches for both L1 and L2 learners, and Deaf Education, Anthropology, Deaf
Studies, to name a few. In this capacity, I found Dr. Harris to be a very pleasant person to work with and
at the same time, an intellectual person, who has a deep understanding of ASL curriculum, pedagogical
approaches and methods, and current trends in the field of sign language teaching.

Another opportunity I had to work with Dr. Harris was when we both co-taught in the Master of Arts in
Sign Language Education (MASLED) program for two summers at Gallaudet University. We both taught
several online courses. Prior to the summer classes in 2012 and 2013, Dr. Harris and I would frequently
work together through numerous videophone meetings and emails in order to prepare our courses for the
students. In the fall of 2014, I was invited to observe one of Dr. Harris’s classes at Gallaudet. Her
teaching approach was very impressive - she is a natural teacher. She was able to connect with students.
As department chairperson of the ASL & Interpreting Education department at Rochester Institute of
Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID), I frequently perform class
observations of my department faculty as well as faculty at other colleges, and I can tell you that I would
rate Dr. Harris in the highest category when it comes to teaching. Students rave about her teaching and
knowledge of the topics she teaches.

In spring of 2016, Dr. Harris was one of the featured speakers in the ASL Lecture Series held at
Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID). She also gave
a workshop to the whole ASL & Interpreting department at RIT/NTID related to Academic ASL and her
presentations were well-received. We would invite her back to campus in a heartbeat.

Based on my interactions with other colleagues in the field, I can assure you that Dr. Harris is one of very
few deeply respected scholars and teachers in the field. She is a popular and frequent speaker at
workshops and conferences. She is an excellent ambassador for the Department of ASL & Deaf Studies
and for Gallaudet University. In sharing these experiences with you, I am attempting to encapsulate her
many attributes as a researcher, visionary leader and teacher. Not only is her teaching outstanding, but she
also has compassion for students and cares about their learning experience at Gallaudet. I have frequently
witnessed her going out of her way to ensure that Gallaudet students have positive learning experience
especially through online classes, which is not an easy task for any faculty to handle.

I give Dr. Raychelle Harris my highest recommendation for promotion to Professor at Gallaudet
University. From what I know, she richly deserves to be given promotion to Professor. I have no doubt
that Dr. Harris will continue to make MASLED and Gallaudet University shine and showcase its many
talented ASL teachers in this world.

Best wishes in your process and please feel free to contact me if I may offer any further insights about Dr.
Raychelle Harris’s many positive attributes. Thank you for your consideration.


Kim B. Kurz, Associate Professor

Chairperson, American Sign Language & Interpreting Education
Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf