David Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies

What is the Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies?

The David Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies is an endowed research chair within the Faculty of Education and the University of Alberta. Endowed chairs are prestigious academic appointments established to recognize and/or bring to the University leading experts whose scholarly activity and accomplishments will enrich research and teaching in their field of expertise. The Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies was the first endowed chair within the Faculty of Education, the only one that focuses on deaf studies, and was the first research chair in the world to be named in honour of a Deaf person.

Dr. Lynn McQuarrie takes up a dual appointment as the David Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies and the Director of the Western Canadian Centre for Deaf Studies (WCCDS) effective November 1, 2014. Dr. McQuarrie's scholarship and grant-funded efforts focus on language and literacy development in deaf and hearing children and adolescents. Her primary research examines reading acquisition and development in children who grow up in a dual language environment (American Sign Language - English) and explores how these languages interact to support reading. Dr. McQuarrie will also lead further growth and development of a strong research to practice focus in the bilingual education of deaf students within WCCDS.

What are the main activities of the Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies?

  • Conduct research with a focus on issues of importance to deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • Encourage scholars and other community organizations to conduct research relevant to deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • Develop and maintains an understanding of the current research affecting the areas of education, language, cultural studies and interpretation in order to direct inquiries towards the appropriate resources.
  • Disseminate current research in the field of deaf studies.

Who is David Peikoff?

David PeikoffTo learn more about David Peikoff as a person, view the video below from Ontario Seniors.

David Peikoff was born in Poltava, Ukraine in 1900. He became deaf at the age of five. His family immigrated to Canada in 1906 and Peikoff attended the school for the deaf in Winnipeg. After training as a printer in the United States, he returned to Canada and became a tireless advocate in the areas of education and employment.

Peikoff served as President of the Ontario Association of the Deaf, and was one of the founders of the Canadian Association of the Deaf. He tackled employment issues, defended the right for deaf people to have driver's licenses, and campaigned for the re-opening of Winnipeg and Belleville schools for the deaf, both of which had been closed during the Second World War.

In 1961, Canada lost Peikoff to the United States when the Gallaudet College Alumni Association persuaded him to become chairman of their Centennial Fund Drive. During his term he served the college well, as an effective fundraiser establishing funds and scholarships to support Deaf students.

David was presented with numerous awards including two honorary degrees (a Master of Arts in 1950 and a Doctor of Laws in 1957), the Laurent Clerc Award in 1970 for outstanding social contributions by a deaf person and the Gold Medal of Honour from the British Deaf Association. In 1987 the University of Alberta established the David Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies.

David Peikoff passed away in 1995.

Picture used with permission of DEAF LIFE Magazine.