Modified Strategic Plan (Tier One)

In the fall of 2015, the Early Implementation Committee recommended some minor changes to the language and organization of Tier One of the Strategic Plan (those Difference Makers and Objectives to be implemented first). Where necessary (and as indicated below), these recommendations were approved by the Strategic Plan Committee of the trustees. Additionally, the mission and vision statements, which had been modified slightly since the trustees’ approval of the plan in November 2014, were approved by the full board of trustees on May 6, 2016.

The following is the final version of Tier One of Greatness Through Difference, RIT’s 2015-2025 Strategic Plan. This version allows readers to see what changes have been made and why. On June 15, the final version of Tier One, without the colored annotations, will be posted on this site.




RIT Strategic Plan (Tier One)
2 June 2016



TYPE 1 Changes:
Errata, formatting, re-sequencing within document to improve clarity and ease of implementation, understanding. No material changes.
Proposed by: Mayberry’s Implementation Team
Approval: None necessary

TYPE 2 Changes:
Simplification, clarification, addition/modification of assessment measures.
Approval: Strategic Planning Committee of the Board

TYPE 3 Changes:
Substantive, material changes to DM’s and objectives
Proposed by: VP’s
Approval: SP Committee of the Board recommends for approval to full Board of Trustees




Rochester Institute of Technology prepares its students for successful careers in a global society through a unique blend of curricular, experiential, and research programs delivered within a student-centric culture.

RIT will be a great world university whose academic portfolio, research agenda, and educational model align with the shifting needs of a complex climate.



branding arrowDimension One: Career Education and Student Success

branding arrowDifference Maker I.1
RIT will build upon its strong academic portfolio, extensive experiential learning and co-curricular offerings, and the rich diversity of its people and programs to develop “T-shaped” graduates possessing both disciplinary depth (the vertical axis of the “T”) and breadth across multiple skills and competencies (the horizontal axis, or “transversal” skills).

Objective I.1.1
Introduce a comprehensive co-curricular transcript that will reflect to employers graduates’ competencies in such necessary skills as critical thinking, written and oral communication, leadership, visual interpretation, collaboration, and research.

Objective I.1.4
Revise desired student learning outcomes in degree program and general education curricula to include T-shaped skills and competencies.

branding arrowDifference Maker I.2
RIT will offer opportunities for study at the intersections of technology and the arts, imagination and application, and rigor and curiosity—all designed to meet the demands of future careers in the complex global economy.

Objective I.2.1
Create policies and practices that facilitate the development of interdisciplinary majors, minors, and electives, as well as team-teaching, individualized majors and minors, and innovative learning delivery methods.

Objective I.2.2
Design and implement a clear, unbiased process for rewarding and encouraging faculty to work in new interdisciplinary teaching and research areas.

Objective I.2.3
Create an interdisciplinary, cross-functional team of faculty to identify and prioritize interdisciplinary opportunities for rapid implementation.

Objective I.2.6
Develop opportunities for students to work on interdisciplinary projects of their own design.

Objective I.2.7
Retool and rebrand CMS (Center for Multidisciplinary Studies) as a center for interdisciplinary and innovative learning pathways.

branding arrowDifference Maker I.3
RIT will further enhance its position as the preeminent academic institution and model for professional and technical education for people who are deaf or hard of hearing around the world.

Objective I.3.1
Operationalize “Strategic Decisions 2020: Shaping NTID’s Future Through Innovation.”

Objective I.3.2
Through NTID (National Technical Institute for the Deaf) and in collaboration with the other RIT colleges, expand the university’s role as a national and international Resource Center of Excellence in the education of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Objective I.3.3
Through NTID and in collaboration with the other RIT colleges, promote technology in support of access and learning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Objective I.3.4
Enhance student learning and the use of educational technology for deaf or hard-of-hearing learners at RIT, around the nation, and around the world.

Objective I.3.5
Organize research centers around NTID’s traditional areas of success- related research: Teaching and Learning; Communication; Technology, Access, and Support Services; and Employment and Adaptability to Social Changes and the Global Workplace.

branding arrowDifference Maker I.7
RIT will make the on-time graduation of its undergraduate and graduate students a highly visible university priority.

Objective I.7.1
Students and their advisers will develop comprehensive, multidimensional Educational Plans designed to ensure that students maximize RIT’s learning resources while also graduating on time.

Objective I.7.2 (Originally I.7.4; changed for sequence logic.)
Eliminate existing policies, procedures, practices, and conditions that impede progress toward on-time graduation.

Objective I.7.4 (Originally I.7.2; moved for sequence logic.)
Identify existing and develop new policies, procedures, practices, and conditions that support progress toward on-time degree completion.

Objective I.7.6 (Originally I.2.8; this objective is necessary to achievement of DM I.)
Make greater use of CMS as a path for on-time graduation for students who have changed majors or whose studies have been interrupted.



branding arrow Dimension Two: The Student-Centered Research University

branding arrowDifference Maker II.1
RIT will be internationally distinguished as a research university through its focus on and investment in specific inter- and trans-disciplinary research areas identified through a systematic and inclusive selection process.

Objective II.1.2 (Originally II.1.3; combined with original II.1.2 [with some small edits]; rationale: can’t have a process or a program until you have a vision; four criteria help to guide the vision.)
Develop and communicate a strong, data-based research vision that focuses on a set of transformative, interdisciplinary, and inclusive research areas [from II.1.3] that will constitute a research program that 1) promotes collaboration across colleges, departments, institutes, and centers; 2) eliminates barriers to participation in interdisciplinary research for faculty and students across RIT; 3) is ensured stable financing for research infrastructure; and 4) is conducive to strategic investments that will catalyze growth. 

Objective II.1.3 (Taken from II.1.2, which originally referred to process only; rationale: need a vision before a process.)
Develop a systematic, transparent, data-driven, and inclusive process for identifying a limited set of signature interdisciplinary research areas in which RIT can become a global leader.    

Objective II.1.4 (Originally not a Tier One objective; included here for sequence logic)
Create an external research advisory board comprised of impartial, recognized experts to guide the selection and evaluation of strategic research areas.

Objective II.1.5
Using the methods described above, investigate the potential of the following research areas: Digital Media and Imaging Science; Global Resilience; Accessibility and Inclusion; Advanced Design and Manufacturing.

branding arrowDifference Maker II.4 (Increase has been changed from 30% of total population to a 30% increase of graduate student population.)

RIT will enlarge its graduate portfolio through adding professional and research-focused programs in STEM fields, the humanities, social sciences, and arts, increasing the graduate population by 30%. New programs will include experiential learning, research, scholarship, and co-curricular opportunities. All programs will strive for the highest levels of excellence and global recognition.

Objective II.4.2
Using existing program structures and coursework, create innovative interdisciplinary graduate degree packages, such as minors, Ph.D./MBA pathways, and co-curricular options for Ph.D., MFA, and MS degrees.

Objective II.4.4
Develop and implement a ten-year plan for increasing and enriching library and electronic resources to accommodate the planned growth in graduate students and the graduate program portfolio.



branding arrowDimension Three: Leveraging Difference

branding arrowDifference Maker III.5 (Originally objective I.1.6, which was the broadest statement in the plan of enrollment/graduation growth goals for STEM undergraduates. From the perspective of implementation logic, it belongs as the umbrella DM for growth goals for underrepresented STEM undergraduates. Treating the two categories separately risks maintaining or increasing the current imbalance between majority and underrepresented STEM undergraduates). (Note also that the original I.1.6 specified a 5-year timeframe, while DM III.5 and supporting objectives specify ten years. With a five-year interval between initial enrollment and graduation for FTFTF STEM students, achieving the goal of I.1.6 within five years is unrealistic.)        

Within five ten years, lead private U.S. universities in the number of STEM undergraduates enrolled at and graduating from RIT.

Objective III.5.1 (Originally DM III.5)
RIT will be the largest producer of female, underrepresented male, and deaf or hard-of-hearing STEM graduates among all private colleges in the U.S.

Objective III.5.1a (recommended additional objective)
Develop new B.S. STEM programs, concentrations, and options that 1) fit within our STEM program portfolio; have high post-graduation employment potential; and show promise of enrolling sufficient numbers of females to offset partially the male-female imbalance in STEM programs.

Objective III.5.2 (modified and re-numbered for more logical sequence; given effectiveness of WE@RIT, we wanted to be sure there was a place in the SP for college-level recruitment activities; we also want to stay away from setting numerical targets.)
Examine the effectiveness of the existing marketing and recruitment strategies for each STEM program and create, expand, or replicate successful college-based recruitment programs for the three underserved populations.
Original: Examine the current marketing strategy for each STEM program and set annual goals for increasing the number and percentage of female, minority male, and deaf or hard-of-hearing undergraduates in each.

Objective III.5.3  (re-numbered from original III.5.4 for sequence logic and slightly modified for sense)
Conduct an analysis of attrition patterns from STEM programs for these three populations, and develop and execute [added] an action plan for increasing retention rates.

Objective III.5.4 (originally III.5.1; moved for sequence logic)
Develop 10-year plans for increasing the number and percentage of females, minority males, and deaf or hard-of-hearing students in STEM majors.

branding arrowDifference Maker III.6
RIT will eliminate the achievement gap between minority and majority students, becoming a model of inclusive excellence for all students, faculty, and staff.

Objective III.6.1
Using an asset-based assessment and research model, develop a profile of success factors and institutional challenges for minority males.

Objective III.6.2
Develop a comprehensive mentoring program for minority males in which two mentors are assigned to each student throughout his/her RIT career, engaging alumni where possible.

Objective III.6.3
Using the model of the biannual attrition study conducted in the President’s office, interview minority students who leave RIT before graduating.

Objective III.6.4
Develop a national model for the preparation, recruitment, and financial support of urban, minority, and low-income high school graduates through the Rochester City Scholars program and the RIT-Rochester Prep Charter School partnership.

branding arrowDifference Maker III.8  (modified because original version doesn’t clearly indicate that a set of core values currently exists. New version makes clear that the reference is to RIT’s existing core value policy (P04.0, which contains a “Respect, Diversity, and Pluralism” section.)

RIT’s core values of diversity and inclusion will be reflected in performance and promotion assessment at all levels of the university.
Original: RIT will reflect diversity and inclusion as core values in performance and promotion assessment at all levels and in all functions of the university.

Objective III.8.1
The President will include attention to diversity and inclusion as a performance criterion for his leadership team.

branding arrowDifference Maker III.10
RIT will initiate a comprehensive marketing campaign to make all current and potential stakeholders and higher education at large fully aware of the university’s history, its unique character, and its exceptional record of success.

Objective III.10.1
Create a Chief Marketing Officer position charged with overseeing all university marketing efforts and leading an associated marketing effort.

Objective III.10.2
Constitute an interdivisional committee of high-level stakeholders led by the CMO to develop an integrated strategic marketing communications plan for the university.



branding arrowDimension Four: Affordability, Value, and Return on Investment

branding arrowDifference Maker IV.1
RIT will be the university with the best placement rate and return on investment of all private universities in the United States.    

Objective IV.1.1
Include the criteria of 1) academic program currency; 2) student placement; and 3) post-graduation success in academic program assessment and review.

Objective IV.1.2
Without sacrificing quality, streamline approval processes for new academic programs and courses to ensure their timely introduction.

Objective IV.1.3
Publicize and deliver on a guarantee that no student in good standing within 15 credits of graduation will drop out because of insufficient funds for remaining tuition.

Objective IV.1.4
Programs with a required or optional co-op will work with the ILI to develop a set of differentially priced online courses that can be taken when students are on co-op assignment.

branding arrowDifference Maker IV.2
RIT will become the university that best utilizes educational technology to improve access, maintain academic quality, and achieve desired learning outcomes while balancing costs.

branding arrowDifference Maker IV.3
Through a tuition containment program and a capital campaign drive for additional scholarship support, RIT will address the financial needs of promising low-income students. 

Objective IV.3.1
Direct a specified amount of funding from capital campaign scholarship drive to support low-income and underrepresented students (e.g., Rochester City Scholars, Pell-eligible students, SAY Yes students).

Objective IV.3.2
Create a Study Abroad/Co-op Abroad scholarship fund for low-income students.

Objective IV.3.3
Double the number of Rochester City Scholars attending RIT.

branding arrowDifference Maker IV.4
RIT will launch a blended capital campaign entitled Greatness Through Difference to raise the public, private, and research funding necessary for the achievement of critical “Difference Makers” in the 2015-2025 strategic plan.



branding arrowDimension Five: Organizational Agility

branding arrowDifference Maker V.1
RIT’s curricular, administrative, and organizational structure 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.

branding arrowDifference Maker V.2
RIT will reduce academic and administrative silos and diminish the lingering negative effects of a silo 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.