RIT has a history of commitment to the educational needs of governments and communities that have experienced major economic and socio-cultural changes and that can benefit from the type of comprehensive academic program for which RIT is recognized nationally and internationally.
Native American Advisory Council (NAAC)
On June 7th, 2010, RIT held the inaugural meeting of President Destler's Native American Advisory Council; members of the Council include, members of the Haudenosaunee Grand Council. Its purpose is to foster a tribal government - to - university relationship providing RIT senior administrators with a necessary connection to the Tribal community so that we can make higher education more attractive, provide the proper support system to keep current Native scholars successful and assist in the return of Native scholars to the Tribal community.
The Future Stewards Program facilitates the strategic partnership between Rochester Institute of Technology and Native American, Alaska Native and First Nation Governments and communities for the purpose of providing directed educational and experiential programs for Native American, Alaska Native and First Nation scholars.
We invite domestic governments to send their best and brightest students (Future Stewards) to RIT to learn the latest science and technology and self-determined skills needed by tribal communities while applying traditional values, methods and knowledge. RIT seeks to build lasting and productive partnerships with Domestic Governments based upon mutual respect and reciprocity. It is expected that these relationships will facilitate synergetic relationships whereby tribal governments consider hiring RIT graduates and graduates consider working for tribes.
Indigenous Arts and Sciences Coalition at Ganondagan
As a result of our commitment to preserve Indigenous Knowledge, RIT, Ganondagan State Historic Site and Friends of Ganondagan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding forming the Indigenous Arts and Sciences Coalition.
Through this relationship RIT is able to conduct field research at Ganondagan. Future Steward Scholars have the opportunity to become involved with research projects related to: Controlling Invasive Plant Species and Restoring Native Grass Seed. In addition, thanks to support from the Office of the President of RIT we have initiated the "Iroquois White Corn Project".
Iroquois White Corn Project at Ganondagan resurrects an ancient farming practice that will grow traditional "white corn" previously grown by the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. White corn was farmed by the Iroquois for more than 11,000 years, but was abandoned by the Europeans who settled in the "new world" in favor of sweet corn. Today less than a total of 75 acres of land are dedicated worldwide to the growth of white corn. The Iroquois White Corn Project will not only begin growing an additional 5 acres of genetic heritage white corn, but it will engage faculty, students and staff from RIT and SUNY Oswego as well as members of the Native community to develop businesses around this important historic food source.
These efforts are bridging the gap between Native American and Western Science and enrich the learning experience for students of science and technology.
Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (RIT-CSTEP)
The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program at RIT works to increase the number of students from under-represented groups pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and fields that require a professional license from New York state. The Future Stewards Program collaborates closely with RIT-CSTEP to provide opportunities to serve Native scholars who major in CSTEP targeted fields.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA and the Future Stewards Program are working together to inspire Native scholars and provide them with opportunities for professional development. Since this collaboration began FSP scholars have been placed into the NASA Langley Aerospace Research Student Scholars Program (LARSS) and at the Glenn Research Center. Most recently, NASA partnered with FSP at RIT's Native Innovation Day January 18, 2013.