August 28, 2015
To all faculty, staff and students, I extend a very hearty and warm welcome to the 2015-2016 academic year at Rochester Institute of Technology. It is delightful to see the campus brimming with activity, excitement, and friends.
Of course, the year really started last week with students moving in, convocation and the President’s address to the community. Dr. Destler’s presentation on Friday really demonstrated how far we have come as a university and I think some highlights are worth repeating …
• Enrollments and registration is up from last year on the main campus and up over what was originally projected. This is terrific indication that an RIT education has a strong value out there for students and parents.
• Our preliminary persistence rate (retention from 1st year to 2nd year) is trending to show a big jump from last year. We won’t have final numbers until the 21 day report but early data shows it tracking 2% higher than last year.
• Last year was a record year for sponsored research as RIT brought in over $62 million in grants
• When combined, the total of new funds from corporate, government, and philanthropic sources exceeded $100 million of the first time in RIT history.
• RIT received $13.5 million from the state and an additional $17 million from corporate and private sources to construct an advanced facility for our MAGIC Spell Studios;
• RIT is one of 3 primary academic partners (with SUNY-Poly and the U of R) with a new advanced manufacturing institute focused on photonics. You can learn more by attending an overview session hosted by Vice President for Research Ryne Raffaelle on Wednesday, August 26 from 2 to 3 in the Student Innovation Center.
• Three of our faculty were awarded NSF Career awards, three RIT students won Fulbright awards, and four of our students won the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, a feat matched by only 7 other institutions in the nation.
The list goes on and I encourage you to read President Destler’s full address to the community. I completely agree with Dr. Destler when he writes that "RIT is on the cusp of greatness." It is truly an honor to be part of this great institution and we all know that these results come from the hard work and commitment of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends. Thank you for all you do for RIT!
As I start this year, I wanted to share with you what academic affairs will be focused on and how I intend to communicate our progress. Every year I post the plan of work for the Division of Academic Affairs and I invite you to view it on my website.
Communication is extremely important to me - this means not just sharing information but listening intently to the community. In the past, I have used email and my website as the primary forms of sharing information. But realizing that we are often inundated with email, I have added Town Hall meetings, blogging, and department/college visits. This year I have started a Twitter account and you can follow me, if you are inclined, at https://twitter.com/RITProvost. And by the way, my website is currently under badly needed major revisions with the intent of making information easier to find. Of course, I invite you to contact me in any way you feel comfortable - I will do my best to respond in a timely manner.
Again, welcome! It is going to be a great year for RIT!