Deaf role models – Dr Robert Adam



Dr Robert Adam is an assistant professor at Heriot Watt University. He is a lecturer in Linguistics, Interpreting, BSL and Deaf Studies. His research of sign language covers complex language contact between Deaf people who use a distinct sign language.  


Raised in Melbourne, Australia, Robert moved to Scotland around 18 years ago. Having studied before the Equality Act, his experience differs to current standards in higher education.

During his studies, he was provided with an interpreter and notetakers. He was grateful for the support, however he reflects on what could have been improved. Robert admits he was very confused about what path to take in life, but he eventually decided to study Linguistics and English Literature. Being a professor comes with many benefits that Robert enjoys, such as meeting students, continuing his research and sharing his knowledge with others.

Your rights

It was difficult for Robert to be involved in informal discussions with students outside of formal learning environments, as his communication support would leave as soon as a lecture/class would finish.

Robert’s top tip is to make sure you have an interpreter for social situations and informal meetings to ensure the social element of university or college is not affected. he also believes students should study and work in an area that excites them. If you do not enjoy what you’re studying or where you are working, your career progression will be hindered.

“Regardless of what route you take in life, fight for your rights as a Deaf individual.”


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