Category Archives: Academics

RIT selected to receive National Science Foundation I-Corps grant

Scot Atkins with dark short hair and striped button down shirt and dark suit coat

Rochester Institute of Technology is among eight National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) sites across the country selected to each receive $30,000 grants to increase participation and promote inclusion of underrepresented populations in the National Innovation Network.

These I-Corps sites, designed to provide infrastructure, resources, networking and training to move scientific discoveries from university labs to the marketplace, will use the awards to pilot novel approaches and partnerships that promote inclusive entrepreneurship through the initiative. The pilot activities will engage differently-abled individuals, first-generation college students, racial and ethnic minorities and women, as well as Minority-Serving Institutions.

As outlined in the proposal, RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf will partner with RIT’s I-Corps site initiative—programmatically embedded into the Albert J. Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship—as well as the National Association of the Deaf and the Association of Higher Education and Disability to increase opportunities available to deaf and hard-of-hearing college students who are aspiring STEM entrepreneurs. Through a national network of universities with high concentrations of deaf and hard-of-hearing students, RIT plans to recruit new instructors and coaches along with extending I-Corps training. Program administrators also will create curricula on the use of technologies that will enable people who are deaf or hard of hearing to participate in online entrepreneurship coaching.

“This is a great opportunity to generate more opportunities for entrepreneurship among deaf and hard-of-hearing college students across the nation, not just here at NTID,” said Scot Atkins, NTID business studies professor and a nationally recognized expert in deaf entrepreneurship. “This grant award will allow us to capitalize on our existing successes and infrastructure for entrepreneurship within RIT/NTID and work with a larger audience.”

Atkins will help lead the initiative at RIT/NTID. Details of the proposal include:

            • Creation of entrepreneurial assets that will increase the number of graduates with an emphasis on STEM with business creation/tech commercialization knowledge, experience and team-building skills

            • Continued development of new ventures based in the Simone Center that will create businesses with growth potential and provide economic development to upstate New York

            • Pre-seed/early stage pipeline for potential new ventures

            • Successful undergraduate innovation processes that promote and advance the development of balanced student teams, experienced coaching and access to university support services such as networking, prototyping labs and other high-tech facilities

            • Programs and events sponsored by the Simone Center that target early-stage business development with the goal of transitioning these investment-ready projects and businesses to RIT’s Venture Creations business incubator.

“RIT is an institution that serves a large population of deaf and hard-of-hearing students and has processes in place that will accommodate those students and others to explore entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Richard DeMartino, the Albert J. Simone Endowed Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, director of RIT’s Simone Center, and a professor in the Saunders College of Business. “Our program design is student-centric, having the joint impact of immersing students in an entrepreneurial curriculum and launching innovative products that focus on STEM related fields, software, sustainability, imaging sciences, micro-e, design, new media, interactive gaming and other areas. We’re looking forward to utilizing resources, mentors and I-Corps funding to further enhance opportunities for our underrepresented students to enter the exciting arena of entrepreneurship.”

NTID and Saunders College of Business already have a robust research agenda focusing on the dynamics of entrepreneurship, including opportunities and challenges for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, added DeMartino.

NTID is also home to the Next Big Idea, an annual entrepreneurship competition sponsored by ZVRS for deaf and hard-of-hearing students with a track record of producing innovative products, businesses or services that solve problems or eliminate existing challenges for potential consumers.  

“NTID is proud to be partnering with RIT’s Simone Center as one of the eight sites nationwide to receive I-Corps funds,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “NTID leads the way in developing deaf and hard-of-hearing entrepreneurs, and this NSF funding will help to expand and continue our position in this vital role.”  

RIT/NTID announces writing contest for deaf, hard-of-hearing high schoolers

orange block with RIT Writing Contest in white and SpiRIT and pen drawing in brown

Deaf and hard-of-hearing high school students in 10th and 11th grades can use the power of words to express their feelings— and win prizes—in Rochester Institute of Technology’s SpiRIT Writing Contest for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students.

Winners can choose from a scholarship and travel expenses to the Explore Your Future program at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, or a $500 cash prize. Explore Your Future is a six-day summer career exploration program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students that provides the opportunity to sample different careers as well as college life.

For guidelines and entry information for the SpiRIT Writing Contest, go to www.rit.edu/NTID/WritingContestNR. The entry deadline is March 1.

For more information, email WritingContest@ntid.rit.edu or call 585-475-7695 (voice) or 585-286-4555 (videophone). For more information about NTID, go to http://www.rit.edu/NTID.

David C. Munson Jr. named RIT’s 10th president

David Munson in navy jacket, light blue shirt and tan pants wearing glasses sitting in a leather chair.

David C. Munson Jr. was introduced to the community today as Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president.

Munson, who will assume RIT’s top post July 1, was introduced by RIT Board Chair Christine Whitman at a community-wide event this morning in the Gordon Field House.

“We believe we have identified the ideal leader to continue RIT’s rise to prominence. A leader who shares our commitment to outstanding career-focused education, research and innovation, love of both technology and the arts, and a desire to help students from widely diverse backgrounds succeed,” Whitman told the audience. “This is a leader who has a vision for the future of RIT that will both unite and excite the entire RIT family from around the world.”

A brief video highlighting Munson’s many personal and professional accomplishments was shown, and then the former dean of the University of Michigan College of Engineering, chosen by the RIT Board of Trustees after a nationwide search, came on stage to thunderous applause and took the podium.

Munson opened his remarks by thanking the RIT Board of Trustees for what he called “a thrill and privilege” to be named university president. And he congratulated retiring President Bill Destler, RIT students, faculty, staff and alumni “for the exemplary work you all have done in creating such a strong foundation for the future.”

“When I stepped down from my dean position this past summer, RIT was already known to me because I had admired your progress over the years and your strength in the arts as well as technology,” Munson said.

“In the coming years, I look forward to maintaining RIT’s traditions and simultaneously building on the 2025 Strategic Plan, ‘Greatness through Difference.’ To be sure, there is still much work to be done at RIT in program development, recruitment of top-notch faculty and students, planning of facilities and fundraising. But I believe that RIT is positioned to continue its upward trajectory, elevating its distinctive programs to best in class and generating new ideas and programs for the future, with the promise of making an ever-larger difference in the word.”

As RIT’s president, Munson will be responsible for one of the nation’s leading research and career-oriented universities featuring 18,700 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries, 121,000 alumni, $73 million in sponsored research and an endowment of more than $750 million.

He said he was “drawn to RIT when I observed an exciting portfolio of academic programs, research with impact to solve global problems, and an ability to stay focused on the overall student experience.”

A 24-member search committee composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni, administration and trustees narrowed the pool of candidates before the final selection by the Board of Trustees.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Munson to RIT and look forward to him leading the university through its next exciting chapter,” said Whitman said in a statement. “His extensive academic experience, respected research credentials, demonstrated leadership, engagement with students and global vision will propel RIT to new heights. We know he will build on the strong foundation established by President Destler and his predecessors whose tireless work made RIT a distinctly great university.”

Munson has 38 years of experience in higher education, which includes serving as the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at Michigan from 2006 to 2016, where he served two five-year terms, the maximum allowed by U-M. Michigan Engineering is considered one of the top engineering schools in the world. Eight of its academic departments are ranked in the nation’s top 10.

Munson earned his BS degree in electrical engineering (with distinction) from the University of Delaware in 1975. He earned an MS and MA in electrical engineering from Princeton in 1977, followed by a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1979, also from Princeton.

From 1979 to 2003, Munson was with the University of Illinois, where he was the Robert C. MacClinchie Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Research Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory and a faculty member in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

In 2003, he became chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at U-M prior to becoming dean. Today, with his deanship appointment fulfilled, he serves as a professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

Munson’s teaching and research interests are in the area of signal and image processing. His current research is focused on radar imaging and computer tomography. He is co-founder of InstaRecon Inc., a start-up firm to commercialize fast algorithms for image formation in computer tomography. He is affiliated with the Infinity Project, where he is coauthor of a textbook on the digital world, which has been used in hundreds of high schools nationwide to introduce students to engineering.

Munson is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a past president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, and co-founder of the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing. In addition to multiple teaching awards and other honors, he was presented the Society Award of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, he served as a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, he received an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, and he was the Texas Instruments Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rice University.

In 2016, Munson earned the Benjamin Garver Lamme Medal from the American Society of Engineering Education (highest award for an engineering administrator).

Munson’s record of accomplishment that drew praise from current RIT President Bill Destler, who will retire June 30 after serving more than 40 years in higher education and 10 years as RIT president. He applauded the work of the search committee and the selection of the new president.

“On behalf of RIT and the Greater Rochester-Finger Lakes region, I welcome Dr. Munson and his wife, Nancy, to our community,” Destler said. “The naming of a new president is an exciting time for RIT students, faculty and staff, as well as our alumni, family and friends around the world. Dr. Munson has an impressive record of accomplishments and brings skills, expertise and experience that will greatly benefit this university and further propel RIT as one of the great global universities.”

To learn more about Munson’s credentials, including a curriculum vitae, go to http://www.rit.edu/presidentialsearch/.

To read Munson’s full remarks, go to http://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=59161.

To read more about the search process, go to http://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=59131.

To read more about Munson, go to http://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=59171.

 
 

RIT named by U.S. Dept. of Energy to lead new Manufacturing USA Institute on clean energy

Image of four-story building illuminated at dusk.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy, as part of its Manufacturing USA initiative, to lead its new Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute—a national coalition of leading universities and companies that will forge new clean energy initiatives deemed critical in keeping U.S. manufacturing competitive. More.

RIT ranked a ‘best value’ university

Aerial shot of RIT building showing trees and blue sky in the background...

Rochester Institute of Technology ranks among the country’s best values in private colleges, according to “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s Top 300 College Values of 2017.”

Kiplinger’s annual list ranks 300 private universities, liberal arts colleges and public colleges, as well as separate lists in each of those categories.

RIT ranked 85th out of 100 on the list of private universities, and 266th among all colleges. More.