UTPA professor appointed to Texas School for the Deaf board
December 20, 2014
By DANYA PEREZ-HERNANDEZ Staff Writer
Being born hard of hearing, Shawn Saladin of Edinburg remembers the isolation and lack of understanding that comes with being partially deaf.
Years later, and with several college degrees at hand, those struggles have given him the opportunity to represent students dealing with deafness throughout Texas.
Saladin, associate dean of research and academic affairs at The University of Texas Pan American’s college of health science and human services, was recently appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the governing board of the Texas School for the Deaf, where he will begin serving next month until January 2017.
TSD works as a state agency to provide education to children who are deaf, hard of hearing or with multiple disabilities ages until 21 years of age.
The school’s bylaws mandate five out of nine board members must be deaf, parents of children who are deaf, or professionals working with the deaf.
“It’s really a huge honor,” he said. “The three things I’m supposed to do are teach, research and serve. And this really ties those three things together.”
For the past 10 years, Saladin has been serving as gubernatorial appointee for several committees such as the Rehabilitation Council of Texas and Governor’s Committee of People with Disabilities, where he continues to be a member.
Saladin has been researching ways to help bring quality education into school programs for the deaf and widen the range of resources available so that they can lead a more independent lifestyle. He is a co-developer of UTPA’s project Valley I-CAN — Valley Independent Confident Activities Network — where students volunteers help individuals who need sign language translations and tutoring.
“I want these people to know that we can figure out ways for them to have more control over their lives so that they can realize their hopes and dreams,” Saladin said.
As a new board member, he said he wants to figure out ways to reach out to people in need, especially in the Rio Grande Valley where as many as 8,000 people are deaf of hard of hearing. Only a handful of them are students, he said.
“I want to show what the school for the Deaf can offer to the Valley,” Saladin said. “Make sure that all children end up with a proper education.”