Another Round of Connect Grants Coming Soon!

All current tenured and pre-tenured RIT faculty are eligible to apply for a Connect Grant. The AdvanceRIT project supports the funding of awards for eligible women faculty within STEM/SBS disciplines. The Office of the Provost has provided support to expand the Request for Proposals to all full-time, tenured and pre-tenured faculty in all disciplines. The Connect Grants Program is available to individuals, faculty groups (formal or ad hoc), and academic units. Successful grant proposals must support one or more of the AdvanceRIT project goals and objectives.

These mini-grants encourage leadership and career development, mentoring, networking and research collaboration, while enhancing and advancing the university’s multifaceted initiatives and scholarship infrastructure.

Grant Schedule for AY 2017

Request for Proposals: Monday, September 4, 2017

Proposals Due: Friday, October 27, 2017

Decisions Announced: Friday, December 1, 2017

Funding Available: Friday, December 15, 2017

Funding End Date: Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Final Report Due: Friday, August 31, 2017

Connect Grant Application Submission

Connect to to download the application template and complete the application form. Please direct questions regarding proposals to

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Connect Grant Program Internal Evaluation; Executive Summary

The following is an excerpt from the April 2017 Connect Grant Program Internal Evaluation conducted by Dr. Liz Litzler, Emily Affolter, and Lexie Maister, University of Washington Center for Evaluation and Research for STEM Equity."The advanceRIT Connect Grant program has resulted in strong impacts for the grantees of the programs as well as the broader RIT community, based on an evaluation of the program.   

From 2014 to 2017, there have been 43 Connect Grants awarded to 34 different faculty members and two departments. Grants have varied in size from $1,000 to 12,400 and the Connect Grant program has disbursed a total of $257,603 since its inception; 60% of all proposals were awarded. All ten RIT colleges have had Connect Grant awardees; 25 grants went to STEM fields, 10 went to SBS fields, and 8 went to other fields. In total, 86 unique faculty members have been involved in these grants and benefited from them, and some faculty have been involved in more than one Connect Grant."

To read the full report, please visit April 2017 Connect Grant Program Internal Evaluation.

“Most grantees found mentorship to be a prominent and beneficial element of their Connect Grant experience, helping them understand the nuances of the institution. The majority of grantees found working with their designated grant mentors helpful for their career development. They also gained value from mentoring their project team members, and enjoyed their experience mentoring students.”

“The majority of grantees noted various career advancement opportunities as a result of the Connect Grant, including promotions or tenure, taking on new journal editorial responsibilities, being asked into other positions of leadership, and continuing projects that lead to more grant funding.”

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Bystander Awareness Workshop: The Results Are In

Have you witnessed concerning behavior or circumstances but don’t know how to respond?

A workshop on November 3, 2016, addressed the many ways to respond to these situations using playback as an interactive approach and brought the practice of being an active bystander to a new level. 43 participants attended the 2-hour interactive session to learn more about:

  • Bystanders support diversity and inclusion
  • Bystanders help interrupt the cycle of unconscious bias
  • It’s hard to be an active bystander
  • Practice makes a difference

In this workshop, an interactive playback approach was used to encounter our reluctance to be active bystanders, reflected on a variety of bystander moves, and practiced ways to make a difference. We can create a culture of active bystanders and support diversity and inclusion. Playback is a form of improvisational presentation that reflects back the feelings, thoughts and stories of the people in a community.

A resource document was created for this workshop, and the workshop evaluation results are now available. Please use the links below to view these materials.

Interrupting Bias or Exclusionary Comments

RIT Bystander Awareness Workshop Evaluation Results

The NEA-funded True Story Theater troupe has been doing workshops on active bystanders as diversity allies since 2004. For more information, please visit True Story Theater.

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Engaging Faculty in Interdisciplinary Research: Challenges and Best Practices from a Career Development Perspective, a white paper by Andrea Rommel, Margaret Bailey and Betsy Dell

In recent years, the growth in interdisciplinary research has contributed to significant advancements in science. However, from a career development perspective, faculty perceive a number of impediments to conducting interdisciplinary research.

This white paper describes the rise of interdisciplinary research in academia and faculty’s perceived impediments to conducting interdisciplinary research. Next, it reviews evidence that women have a stronger propensity to collaborate and to conduct interdisciplinary research than men, thereby suggesting that engaging in interdisciplinary research may have a disproportionately negative effect on women’s career development. Finally, given the critical importance of interdisciplinary research to scientific advancement, it reviews best practices for supporting interdisciplinary research at the institutional level with conclusions and supporting references.

To read the complete paper, please visit this link on our AdvanceRIT website.

Supplemental AdvanceRIT Publications and Disseminated Materials can be found on the website as well.

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Michigan Players: Session Feedback

On May 16, 2017, AdvanceRIT again welcomed the acclaimed Michigan Players, this time as “The Chair's Role in Faculty Mentoring” - fashioned as three thematically related vignettes. This interactive workshop explored the department head’s role in faculty mentoring. In the workshop, participants saw a department head discuss a third year review letter with a junior faculty member, welcome a new faculty hire, and check in with an associate professor regarding promotion readiness to the rank of Professor. Developed to showcase positive and potentially problematic mentoring behaviors, these interactive vignettes allow department heads and other academic leaders to think through the ways that they might create a more positive climate for faculty mentoring, both structurally in their department’s policies and interpersonally in the behaviors they adopt and use with their faculty colleagues.

This workshop was intended for Associate Deans, Department Heads, Chairs, Academic Leaders and those who show high potential for holding leadership positions in the future. Over 90 participants attended this annual event.

If you were unable to attend this valuable experience, a number of useful mentoring handouts and documents can be found on the AdvanceRIT website’s Career Success resources page. Additionally, there are many other resources on a variety of themes (unconscious bias, inclusion, promotion & tenure, etc.) available on the AdvanceRIT website.

Participant Feedback

“This was unexpectedly helpful.” –Chair

“What was the most significant takeaway from today’s workshop session?”

“Power of interactive theater.”–Associate Professor

“The need to show compassion on both sides of these conversations.” –Senior Lecturer

“[The] importance of empathy. To try harder to see others’ perspectives” –Associate Professor

“Empathy and communication are key for success.” –Associate Professor

“Active Listening, recognizing the power structure inherent to leadership/discussion.” –Associate Professor

“Strategies for [those in Chair positions].” –Full Professor

“The importance of considering how the faculty member is viewing the interaction from the start.” -Dean

“[The] need to be more explicit in providing information [to faculty].” Department Head

“Pre-tenure faculty need to learn to advocate for themselves.” –Department Chair


“What will you do differently as a result of participating in this session?”

“Listen more (in all senses of the word.)” –Department Chair

“Be prepared- get to action- follow-up and hold both parties accountable.” –Senior Lecturer

“Pay attention/be more observant of “cues” when interacting with faculty.” –Associate Professor

“Spend more time with department members.” –Department Head

“Engage the department in discussions.” –Department Head

“Open communication and be transparent and supportive.” -Department Head

“Raise a loud voice to the Dean and Provost when I see contradictions in our policies or different kinds of “doublespeak” when discussing faculty evaluation.” –Department Chair




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