Sean Bennett has spent many years in school.
From teaching in the Rochester City School District and area universities to serving in administrative positions in schools in Rochester, Buffalo and Boston, he’s been a mentor, advocate and role model for young people throughout his career in academia.
For this work, Bennett received the Clarkson University Woodstock Award, given to outstanding graduates of the college who have demonstrated notable service to the university and who have made significant contributions to their career fields. He received the award at his alma mater’s annual reunion weekend in early July.
“It’s tremendous when peers and the university honor you in this way. I greatly appreciate the recognition and realize how prestigious this is,” says Bennett, currently the assistant dean for undergraduate academic affairs in the College of Applied Science and Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology. In his role he focuses on increasing student performance and interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology, along with academic intervention and support. “Although this is an individual recognition, awards like this are also a reflection of the organizations you are a part of; this college is an amazing team to work with.”
Receiving the award was also a chance for Bennett to reflect on his career as an education professional with more than 13 years of combined experience in business, K-12 education and higher education. He began at RIT in 2007 as the director of its multicultural center for academic success, leading that department for four years before moving into the assistant dean position with one of RIT’s nine colleges.
“We are very fortunate to have Sean as a key member of the leadership team in the RIT College of Applied Science and Technology. His expertise, commitment, dedication and person-centered approach consistently contributes as we strive for higher levels of excellence for our college,” says Linda Tolan, the college’s senior associate dean.
Prior to coming to RIT, Bennett was the associate vice president for Institutional Diversity Initiatives and Pipeline Programs at Clarkson University, where he was responsible for the successful initiative to enhance the engagement of minority students with campus services and programs, such as the Higher Education Opportunity Program, the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, Student Support Services and the McNair Scholars program. He was also selected for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities Independent Sector’s 2007 Alumni Hall of Distinction.
Bennett received his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Clarkson University in 1992 and his master’s degree in education from the State University of New York at Brockport in 1996. In 2002, Bennett graduated from Harvard University with a master’s degree in administration, planning and social policy. Currently, he is working on a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Pennsylvania. Bennett, his wife, Susan Norris, who graduated from Clarkson in 1991, and their two sons reside in Rochester.