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OLPD alumna writes about faculty hearing loss in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Kathleen S. Roufs received her Ed.D. in EDPA-Higher Education from the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD) in 2011. She is currently emeritus director of advising and retention at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has written an article, "Let's Break the Silence on Hearing Loss," in the The Chronicle of Higher Education based on her dissertation research.

''I think my avoidance of social contexts with my colleagues is interpreted as social withdrawal, reticence, or disinterest, rather than what it mostly is: embarrassment that I cannot follow conversations in a crowded environment. So, I 'beg off' or not show up."

That comment was made by one of 84 faculty members who said, in a study conducted last year at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, that they had experienced some degree of hearing loss. The hypothesis was that many faculty members with hearing loss just bear up in silence, in a silent world, and the study confirmed it. In fact, that number is probably quite low. We have no way of knowing how many hearing-impaired faculty members did not respond to the survey, but if their number reflects that of the general population (as one would expect), it would be closer to 500.


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