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The RIT Strategic Plan “Greatness through Difference” promotes a compelling case that the college student of the future must graduate with skills that will enable them to succeed in an ever-changing landscape. The strategic plan calls for excelling at graduating students with the T-shape skill set they need – skills that not only give them the in-depth knowledge from their academic major they need but, more pertinent to the plan, the set of skills that broaden their thinking, their perspectives, and their actions.

Indeed, this idea is not unique to RIT. For example, Rice University recently announced a $150M gift to create a center for leadership with the premise that leadership can be taught and every Rice graduate should be exposed to these essential skills1. Michigan State University President Simon has declared that MSU will distinguish itself by embracing the T-shape graduate2. In addition, companies such as IBM, IDEO, and Cisco are exploring ways to scan resumes and other job applicant materials to find candidates that fit the framework.

It is up for debate whether the ‘T-Shape’ metaphor is the most suitable to articulate this aspiration that our students have both a depth and breadth to their skill set. Regardless, the final set of skills we want our students to possess must uniquely fit the mission of RIT.

Charge to the T-Shape Tiger Team (PDF)(September 16, 2015)