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Rentsch Receives NSF Grant

Associate Dean Joan RentschCCI Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Communication Studies Professor Joan Rentsch is part of a research team centered at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) that received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $499,830 to conduct a study on “Investigating Team Knowledge Building in Complex Science and Statistics Problem Solving when the Teams Include Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Hearing College Students.”

Rentsch will serve as a co-principal investigator on a research team led by Principal Investigator Michael Stinson, a professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT. Rentsch’s part of the project is to study how teams composed of hearing and deaf/hard of hearing students are able to build knowledge about statistical concepts and problems by sharing uniquely held information as well as common information. Her work will focus on team member schema similarity, which refers to the degree to which team members have similar knowledge structures for organizing and understanding phenomena. Rentsch’s expertise in team communication will guide the development of the research methods and training materials.

The grant begins September 1, 2015 and will continue until August 31, 2018. “We are excited to conduct this important work in CCI’s Integrative Organizational Research Laboratory,” said Rentsch. “The grant enables us to extend team communication research funded by the United States military to the deaf community and is expected to yield important theoretical and practical contributions to the field of communication.”


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, its budget is $7.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 48,000 competitive proposals for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.