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Provost’s Update

April 2013 Provost's Update

Colleagues,

“You have to remain critically vigilant.”
Albert Einstein’s supervisor in the Swiss Patent Office

At the same time as the tragic events unfolded in Boston and West, Texas, I finished reading Walter Isaacson’s Albert Einstein book. Isaacson, who also wrote the popular book on Steve Jobs, describes the extraordinary accomplishments, the passions, and the life of one of the 20th century’s greatest intellectuals. Much of Einstein’s philosophy was shaped by the tragic and violent events of his day so his words and thoughts have as much meaning today as they did seventy years ago.

Einstein’s famous use of ‘thought experiments’ led me to recall the work RIT is doing on critical thinking and how important of a skill this is for our students. As the inaugural Eugene Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking, Professor Chip Sheffield has been laying the foundation for making critical thinking a crown jewel of our student learning outcomes. You will find more of what Chip has been working on below along with other news in my April Update.

Jeremy Haefner, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Student Success: New Student Showcase Video-Angela Stallone

A new video is available featuring College of Liberal Arts student Angela Stallone. Angela is graduating with a BS in international studies with minors in business administration and environmental studies. 

A new video is available featuring College of Liberal Arts student Angela Stallone. Angela is graduating with a BS in international studies with minors in business administration and environmental studies. Angela is the co-founder and co-president of the Wells Project at RIT, and the director of programming for Student Government. The video was made possible thanks to Joe Bellavia and his team of students at RIT Production Services; I hope you take a moment to watch it and learn about one of our outstanding student leaders and scholars.

Academic Excellence: Honors Program Revisions

Under the leadership of Director Danielle Smith, the RIT Honors Program has gone through a series of thoughtful reviews and corresponding revisions have been proposed to strengthen its academic core.

Under the leadership of Director Danielle Smith, the RIT Honors Program has gone through a series of thoughtful reviews and corresponding revisions have been proposed to strengthen its academic core. I am pleased to announce that on April 18, the revisions were approved by the Academic Senate. Honors staff will work over the summer to implement changes to the program for fall semester, 2014. Look for a separate message to be coming from my office soon regarding changes to this program.

Academic Excellence: Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness

As you may recall from my March Update, and my recent communication on this topic, we will be using a new system through SmartEvals for student ratings of teaching effectiveness starting in fall semester. 

As you may recall from my March Update, and my recent communication on this topic, we will be using a new system through SmartEvals for student ratings of teaching effectiveness starting in fall semester. I have asked Fernando Naveda to lead this effort for 2013-2014. I am convinced that with his experience overseeing the semester conversion process, the campus will be in good hands for implementing this new system of student ratings. As part of his charge, he will establish a website where information will be shared about the new system and the process ahead, which I will share when it becomes available.

Academic Excellence: NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Announced

I am proud to share that for the second consecutive year, two RIT Ph.D. students have received prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

I am proud to share that for the second consecutive year, two RIT Ph.D. students have received prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.  The awardees are Erika Mesh, a doctoral student in Computing and Information Science, and Phillip Salvaggio, doctoral student in Imaging Science. The success rate for RIT students for these fellowships has been 40%, much higher than the national average of about 15%.  The Office of Graduate Studies contributes to this success by offering hands-on proposal writing workshops and proposal editing, as well as joint mentoring by the dean of Graduate Studies and students who have had proposals funded in previous years.

Academic Excellence: An Update from the Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking

Due to the enthusiastic faculty response and success of last month’s “lunch and learn” workshop, Chip Sheffield, Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking (ACT), will hold another such session on Wednesday, June 5. 

Due to the enthusiastic faculty response and success of last month’s “lunch and learn” workshop, Chip Sheffield, Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking (ACT), will hold another such session on Wednesday, June 5.  It will begin with a complimentary continental breakfast from 8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m., followed by the workshop from 9-11 a.m.  If you have any questions about the content, please email him at cbsfaa@rit.edu .  An electronic announcement with registration details and more information will be forthcoming soon from the Teaching and Learning Studio. 

With the summer months soon upon us, Chip also wants to call your attention to two soon-to-be released books that examine how we think, and which are certain to be in the news.  They are: Daniel C. Dennett’s Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (NY: Norton, 2013), and Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander’s Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire for Thinking (NY: Basic Books, 2013).

Research & Innovation: Upcoming undergraduate and graduate research events

Our students have been busy and prolific this year, producing outstanding new research and creative works, much of which will be shared at the upcoming symposia and exhibition below.

Our students have been busy and prolific this year, producing outstanding new research and creative works, much of which will be shared at the upcoming symposia and exhibition below. I hope you are able to experience the results of their efforts first-hand by attending at least one of the great events shown below.

July 22 – CONVERGENCE, a juried graduate student art exhibition and graduate alumni reception held at the Vignelli Gallery, 5-7 p.m.  The keynote speaker will be Grant Holcomb, director of the Memorial Art Gallery.  This event is organized in partnership with the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.

July 23 – Fifth Anniversary Graduate Research and Creativity Symposium, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Slaughter Hall.  The symposium theme is “Picking up S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, and Mathematics)”.  The keynote speaker will be professor Margaret Bailey from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. This event is organized in partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

August 2–Undergraduate Research Symposium, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., RIT Inn & Conference Center. The symposium keynote speakers are Rohit Amarnath, 1996 RIT graduate and founder of Full 360 Inc., and Nicholas Schneider, 2010 RIT graduate, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania.

Faculty and Staff Success: B2 Approved

I am delighted to share that faculty approved the revised version of policy B2.0, the Charter for Academic Governance.  Congratulations to the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Academic Senate, for their efforts in reviewing, crafting edits, and presenting the revised policy to faculty.

I am delighted to share that faculty approved the revised version of policy B2.0, the Charter for Academic Governance.  Congratulations to the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Academic Senate, for their efforts in reviewing, crafting edits, and presenting the revised policy to faculty. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the committee members who have committed so much time and effort to this project: Kristen Waterstram-Rich (CHST), Chair; Margaret Bailey (KGCOE); Suzanne Bamonto (CLA); Cathy Beaton (GCCIS); Bernie Brooks (COS); Eileen Feeney Bushnell (CIAS);  Chris Jackson (CIAS), Shalini Khazanchi (SCB); Jeff Pelz (COS); Tom Policano (NTID); Sue Provenzano (Assistant VP for Academic Affairs); Rajendra Raj (GCCIS); Eli Saber (KGCOE); Maureen Valentine (CAST); Jamie Winebrake (CLA Dean).  Thank you and congratulations on a job well done.

Faculty and Staff Success: Celebration of Teaching & Scholarship May 7

Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 7 for the Celebration of Teaching and Scholarship. The event will include the presentation of the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching and the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 7 for the Celebration of Teaching and Scholarship. The event will include the presentation of the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching and the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Additional awards will be given for scholarship, faculty mentoring, diversity and pluralism, and teaching with technology. Below is a list of awardees who will be recognized at the event; please congratulate your colleagues who have been selected for these prestigious awards.

The Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching:          

  • Christina Goudreau, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Materials Science, College of Science
  • Ivona Bezáková, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
  • Linda Fleischman Gottermeier, Au.D., Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies and Services, National Technical Institute for the Deaf

The Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching:

  • Kelly Norris Martin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, College of Liberal Arts

 The Outstanding Teaching Award for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty:

  • Alan Reddig, Senior Lecturer, Department of Industrial Design, School of Design, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

The Trustees Scholarship Award:

  • Seth M. Hubbard, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Associate Professor in Microsystems Engineering, College of Science
  • Brian J. Landi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Department, Kate Gleason College of Engineering

The Isaac L. Jordan, Sr., Faculty Pluralism Award:

  • Jason T. Younker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts

The Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award:

  • Robert J. Barbato, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Management, E. Philip Saunders College of Business
  • Christopher J. Collison, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Materials Science, College of Science
  • Robert D. Garrick, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Engineering Technology, College of Applied Science and Technology
  • Anne Haake, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship and Professor,  Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
  • Todd Pagano, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of Laboratory Science Technology, National Technical Institute for the Deaf

The Innovative Teaching with Technology Award:

  • Robert Teese, Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science

The festivities will begin at 4 p.m. in the Ingle auditorium, with a reception to immediately follow in the Alfred L. Davis room in the SAU.  I hope you are able to join us as we recognize these outstanding members of our faculty.

Inclusive and Global Education: Growth at Global Campuses

Growth continues to be strong at our global campuses. Yousef Al-Assaf has been installed as the new president of RIT Dubai and is deeply focused on increasing enrollment.

Growth continues to be strong at our global campuses. Yousef Al-Assaf has been installed as the new president of RIT Dubai and is deeply focused on increasing enrollment. Leadership at the Dubai campus is working closely with our RIT departments here in Henrietta to foster collaboration and share best practices.

The RIT/American College of Management and Technology (ACMT), with locations in the Croatian cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb, is well-led by President Don Hudspeth. The expansion into Zagreb has gone smoothly, as shown by the fact that ACMT has received nearly three times the number of applications received in previous years. The Zagreb location will be moving to a new campus in fall 2013; the new facility will encourage a robust student learning experience. (Pictured: Artist’s rendering of new Zagreb campus).