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July 8, 2003

Logan professor to head state commission

From: Marion Daily Republican, IL - Jul 8, 2003

JOHN A. LOGAN COLLEGE - Harmon (Paul) Menkis, associate professor of interpreter preparation at John A. Logan College, was recently reappointed by the Governor's Office to serve as commissioner on the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC).

Menkis, a Marion resident who has been selected as the Commission's chairman, is serving his second term on the board.

The IDHHC is governed by a board comprised of 11 unpaid members who meet quarterly to oversee the Commission's operations.

The board establishes policy for the Commission and provides the overall course of action for the director and staff to implement. Members are appointed based upon their involvement in the deaf and hard of hearing community. By law, a majority of the members must - like Menkis - be deaf or hard of hearing.

As associate professor of interpreter preparation, Menkis teaches American Sign Language and deaf studies courses. He began teaching at John A. Logan College in 1989.

As chairman of the Commission, Menkis says he will seek full accessibility of all state agencies for deaf and hard of hearing individuals; full communication accessibility through up-to-date technology; and legislative support on licensure, and certification of qualified interpreters for the deaf.

The Commission seeks ways to educate the general public about issues surrounding hearing loss. Cost effective means of disseminating its message will rely on printed media, public service announcements, and billboard advertising. Despite a decrease in state funding, the Commission distributed nearly 100,000 pieces of literature, over 40,000 promotional items, and responded to over 12,000 public inquiries in calendar year 2002 - all record figures for the Commission.

"Indeed," Menkis says, "the Commission's presence is becoming known throughout the state of Illinois."

Menkis holds a B.A. from Gallaudet College and an M.S. from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Copyright © 2003 Marion Daily Republican