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To:             All RIT Faculty and Staff

From:        Ellen Granberg, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Twyla Cummings, Dean of Graduate Education

Date:         February 21, 2019

Subject:     Charge for the Development of a Proposal for a Master's in Artificial Intelligence

Overview: There is continued growth and interest in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). Several universities including MIT, Columbia, and Princeton have launched new programs, departments, research initiatives and centers focused on this topic. This area of study relies on fields such as machine learning, deep learning algorithms, computer vision, cognitive science, and natural language processing. While RIT does not yet offer a degree in AI, courses in each of these subjects are offered in and across several of our colleges.

In June of 2018, an interdisciplinary group of faculty was charged by RIT's president and provost to develop concept papers for a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in artificial intelligence. As part of this charge, the group was guided to address the student and employer markets and to provide information on additional resources that would be required to support these degrees. The concept papers were submitted for review in October of 2018. After reviewing these concept papers and discussing the options with both faculty and administration, we have determined that an M.S. degree in AI would be the most appropriate for the RIT portfolio at this time.

Master's in Artificial Intelligence Taskforce: On February 20, a newly created taskforce was charged to develop a full proposal for a master’s degree in artificial intelligence.  The members of this taskforce consists of faculty from four colleges: College of Science (COS), B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS), Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) and the College of Liberal Arts (COLA). The taskforce will be guided by and will report their progress to the Deans of: COLA, COS, GCCIS, KGCOE and GE (Graduate Education). The members of the taskforce are listed below:

Taskforce Member College
Cissi Ovesdotter Alm COLA
Irina Mikhalevich COLA
Nathan Cahill COS
Mihail Barbosu COS
Zack Butler GCCIS
Dhireesha Kudithipudi KGCOE
Ferat Sahin KGCOE



The Charge: The taskforce charge is to develop a proposal for an interdisciplinary master's in artificial intelligence. The structure of the degree will allow for a research or professional option. The taskforce will also outline the curriculum for an online format, an advanced certificate and BS/MS options.  If you have input or suggestions for the committee, I encourage you to reach out to the membership. 

The completed proposal will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary curriculum committee, the graduate council and the academic senate. The final approval will come from RIT's provost and president.

Concurrent with this charge, the deans of the respective colleges and the dean of Graduate Education will work together to determine the process for the management of this degree.

This is only the start of RIT’s work in artifical intelligence. Given the level of interest and the talent of RIT’s faculty, we're sure we will find many more opportunities to build degree programs that will serve our students and elevate RIT’s standing as a leading institution of higher education.

Target date for plan completion and submission to the New York State Education Department: December 1, 2019.