Dimension Five

Organizational Agility

RIT owes much of its past success to the alacrity with which it has been able to anticipate and respond to changes in the multiple environments in which it operates. In the next decade, these shifts will accelerate and in some cases expand to the level of seismic change, requiring us to develop innovative practices and policies that facilitate and encourage good ideas and the changes they lead to. In other words, we need to maximize our organizational agility.

organizational agility photo

“Organizational Agility” is more than a dimension: it is a strategic imperative and the linchpin of this plan. Underlying every difference-making goal in the previous pages is the assumption that our institutional culture will be agile and efficient—that we will be able to make decisions with dispatch; to move at least as quickly as the drivers of technology, science, and the global economy; and to reorganize as often as necessary to support the key themes of this plan (academic excellence in teaching, learning, scholarship and research; interdisciplinarity; diversity; and affordability). At the same time, we must recognize that a defining element of organizational agility is the ability to respond to these external dynamics and opportunities without traumatic change to the organization.

Our deep commitment to the sustainability and resiliency of the planet will require us to stay abreast of the latest research, to deploy the most current, appropriate, and efficient tools, and to move quickly in responding to sustainability imperatives.

The Difference Makers below could have introduced every dimension in the preceding pages, but they are so important to the success of Greatness Through Difference that we have given them pride of place as the final words of this document.

Difference Maker V.1

RIT’s curricular, administrative, and organizational structures will serve, not impede, discovery, border crossing, and collaboration among students, faculty, and staff.

Objective V.1.1
Create a collaborative and interdisciplinary structure and culture for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Objective V.1.2
Remove impediments to the approval process for jointly offered interdisciplinary programs.

Objective V.1.3
Using the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies as a starting point, expand and further develop a process for offering the capacity to offer individualized degrees that allow motivated students, with guidance from faculty and staff, to design and implement personalized courses of study and interdisciplinary projects.

Difference Maker V.2

RIT will reduce academic and administrative silos and diminish the lingering negative effects of a silo culture.

Objective V.2.1
Reward collaboration within and across colleges with regard to curricula, teaching, research, and the student-faculty-staff culture.

Objective V.2.2
Redesign budget and costing models to encourage savings while rewarding calculated risk through increased collaboration within and across colleges.

Objective V.2.3
Facilitate the movement of students and faculty across disciplines in order to engage, motivate, and maximize student and faculty innovation.

Difference Maker V.3

Following a thorough budget and space audit, RIT will create a master space plan.

Objective V.3.1
Develop a transparent, collaborative, and sustainable process for the assignment of space.

Objective V.3.2
Ensure that the interdivisional body responsible for space assignment is part of the decision-making process for the design and assignment of new construction.

Difference Maker V.4

RIT will develop a university culture that is less risk-averse and less bureaucratic; it will streamline compliance measures and empower local decision-making responsibilities.

Objective V.4.1
Use long-term planning opportunities and financial transparency as opportunities for taking risk.

Objective V.4.2
Examine best practices at comparable institutions to streamline compliance.

Objective V.4.3
Create a practice that regularly brings together a broad diversity of people for the discussion of new ideas, innovative solutions to old problems, and game-changing ways to instantiate the university mission.

Difference Maker V.5

In the service of ensuring a sustainable planet, RIT will restore, ameliorate, and work within the systems and resources necessary to meet the needs of the current generation in an equitable manner without jeopardizing future generations.

Objective V.5.1
RIT will cultivate global citizens and leaders prepared to address the interconnected ecological, economic, social, and ethical challenges of creating a sustainable future.

Objective V.5.2
The RIT campuses will serve as living laboratories for and international models of campus sustainability, with infrastructure and operations designed to reflect our leadership in sustainability, adaptation, and resiliency.

Objective V.5.3
RIT will develop innovative curricula, programs, and research that foster a commitment to sustainability.

Objective V.5.4
RIT will partner, locally and internationally, with the communities in which it is engaged to advance sustainability and build resiliency.