RIT Director for Student Innovation and Undergraduate Research Support Announced

College of Science Dean Ian Gatley assumes position April 1




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Rochester Institute of Technology Dean of the College of Science Ian Gatley has been named director of the new Center for Student Innovation and Undergraduate Research Support, effective April 1. Gatley will remain dean until June 30.

Jeremy Haefner, RIT Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, will appoint an interim dean for the College of Science and begin a national search for the next permanent dean, with the goal of filling the position by July 2010.

“Ian brings a creative and innovative set of skills, experiences and passions to this new appointment,” says Haefner. “In his previous roles, first as director of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and as dean of the College of Science, he fostered an environment of tremendous growth and expansion. Research and scholarship in science significantly grew during the time of his appointments and the college saw a rise in a number of strategic programs, culminating in the Ph.D. in astrophysical science and technology this past year.”

In his new role, Gatley will oversee a center designed as a workplace, a think tank of sorts, for teams of students to pursue problem-solving ideas representing social or commercial innovation.

Scheduled to open this spring, the center’s 10,000 square-foot circular, glass-enclosed space will dramatically distinguish it from other buildings on campus. This glass wheel will be the “hub and clearing house of RIT innovation resources” Haefner envisioned in a December presentation.

Ultimately, the center will be a place for students to grow their ideas and to meet and interact with alumni, clients, businesses and community organizations. It will also host gatherings, seminars and innovation fairs that encourage networking and relationship building and stir up synergy.

Gatley’s multidisciplinary approach to research and problem solving makes him an ideal fit for director of the Center for Student Innovation. An internationally known scientist, Gatley may be best known for building one of the first multi-pixel infrared cameras used for astronomical research.

More recently, his passion for adapting technology for new uses can be seen in the various projects on campus employing immersive-video techniques. The general idea for using multiple projectors grew out of Gatley’s relationship with the Rochester Museum and Science Center and the need to find affordable projection technologies for the planetarium. Related RIT-based projects have included a five-camera video of the 2007 commencement ceremony featuring former President Bill Clinton and an immersive open-house experience for prospective students that converts an auditorium into a wide-screen theater.

“Gatley’s team has assigned the intellectual property from this work to RIT in order to create opportunities for students,” Haefner says. “The university has filed for three patents for inventions that include wearable and mobile video capture and multi-screen displays.”

Haefner points also to the success of the Undergraduate Research Symposium as another example of Gatley’s emphasis on discovery. The annual symposium has grown steadily over the past three years. Last summer, 93 students presented research guided by faculty from nearly all the colleges at RIT.

“I am very confident that Ian will bring this same passion for helping students achieve the learning outcomes we expect from the Center for Student Innovation and from Undergraduate Research Support,” Haefner adds.