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RIT makes progress toward goal of achieving an ethnically diverse environment

RIT’s commitment to achieving a thriving, diverse campus is producing measurable results. The university has nearly doubled the number of professors from under-represented ethnic groups.

Eulas Boyd

In fall of 2002, 26 of 84 (31 percent) new full-time faculty were African American, Latin American or Native American (AALANA). RIT now has 54 full-time AALANA faculty, comprising 6 percent of full-time faculty; Asian Americans also make up 6 percent of the faculty.

RIT is also making strides in terms of minority enrollment with 243 AALANA freshmen, or 10 percent of the class (an RIT record). Another record: 15 percent of transfer students were AALANA.

In addition, RIT opened the North Star Center for Academic Success and Cultural Affairs. The center serves as a source of guidance for the recruitment, retention and graduation of RIT’s AALANA student population.

Eulas Boyd, assistant provost for diversity and director of the North Star Center, explains that the center helps students access services including scholarships; organizes a summer program aimed at academic, cultural and personal development; plans periodic seminars on societal issues; and serves as a base for several ongoing outreach programs for the pre-college students in the Rochester area. A key effort is the North Star Society, which supports and recognizes students for excellence in academic work, ethical/character development, and community service.

“Other universities have services,” says Boyd. “What sets us apart is the North Star Society. That is at the heart of what we do.”

“What we have done this past year is remarkable, unbelievably outstanding,” says President Albert J. Simone. “Our efforts are a great beginning. However, recruitment of minority faculty requires an ongoing commitment to achieving diversity. Recruitment must be seen as a continuous journey.”

Stanley McKenzie, provost and vice president of academic affairs, agrees that now is not the time to rest on any laurels. “Despite the terrific success we had last year in hiring AALANA faculty, our percentages of AALANA faculty remain below national averages in nearly all of our departments. We need to continue the efforts with equal commitment this current year.”

For more information on the North Star Center, visit: www.rit.edu/~nscenter