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What Lies Ahead

September 24, 2014

autumn“Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit


I am often asked what Academic Affairs will be working on in light of our new emerging strategic plan. As usual, plenty. 

While the new strategic plan becomes formalized, we will continue to stay focused on our five academic priorities - student success, academic excellence, research and creative work, inclusive and multicultural experiences, and faculty and staff success. Here are some examples of what we are working on in these areas:


  • Student success: We are investigating academic actions such as suspensions, probation, etc. to better understand barriers to graduation. 
  • Academic excellence: We are looking to streamline and pilot our academic program review process, increase our offerings and enrollments for intersession and summer, and initiate preparations for our Middle States visit in 2016-2017. 
  • Research: We are focused on developing a more robust approach for assigning research space and finding space for our faculty and staff to succeed. 
  • Inclusive and multicultural experiences:  We will be working towards established goals for diversifying our faculty and staff, and deepening our partnerships with universities in China. 


But it is under the priority of faculty and staff success where we continue to put much of our efforts this year, as we did last year. 

Much of our work in this area is influenced by the COACHE results and the work coming from the ADVANCE grant. For example, we will spend considerable time discussing evaluation processes and best practices, because we know how important these evaluations are in contributing to faculty and staff satisfaction. We will be piloting a digital portfolio system that will assist in all our evaluations - annual, tenure, mid tenure, and promotion. And this year we have asked that all critical documents in the tenure and promotion process be digitized and submitted in PDF form. Similarly, I've asked Dean Hector Flores to work with Enrollment Management and Career Services to digitize the graduate education applications faculty receive to review. We will be streamlining the hiring process thanks to the task force led last year by Dean Harvey Palmer and Senior Associate Dean Twyla Cummings. Finally, I will be working with the other RIT divisions to charge a cross-campus task force to look at streamlining some of our processes that have evolved into bureaucratic ordeals. 


You can see our plan of work by visiting my website, and you can find a generic letter of expectation for deans there as well. Note that I worked with each dean to include their projects and initiatives, as well as those found at the campus level. There is much to do, but I feel confident that we will make material progress in all of them. I look forward to working with our exceptional faculty and staff to make RIT a great place to work.