Congratulations to the following Faculty Mentoring Grant recipients! Grants are awarded to faculty mentoring groups that promote activities or projects related to teaching excellence, dissemination of scholarly works or grant proposal development. Similarly, grants are awarded for projects that support and encourage the creation and development of work that supports faculty at all stages on the career continuum. Click here for more information on this grant program.

Grant-funded projects are listed below.


  • Yewande Abraham, CET, Green Informatics Team
  • Nathaniel Barlow, COS, Doceamus: the Tenure-Track Faculty Mentorship Group in Mathematics
  • Yu Kong, GCCIS, Enhancing Communication & Collaboration In Machine Learning Research/Education
  • Mohamed Wiem Mkaouer, GCCIS, International Faculty Mentoring Group
  • Carole Woodlock, CAD, Supporting Women Faculty in Art And Design By Nurturing Pathways
2018-2019 Grant Recipients

Sandra Connelly, Principal Lecturer, COS 
Project team: Michelle Weatherell, Emily Coon-Frisch
Project title: Changing Biology - A little bit faster than the rate of evolution!

Nickesia Gordon, Associate Professor, CLA 
Project team: 

  • Makini Beck, SOIS & Department of Sociology and Anthropology
  • Phillippa Thiuri, Department of Service Systems, CET
  • Kijana Crawford, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, CLA
  • Silvia Caraballo, Office of Faculty Recruitment, Division of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Sharon Beckford-Foster, Department of English, CL
  • Yewande Abraham, CET, Environmental Management & Safety
  • Joy Olabisi, Management, SCB

Project title: Co-Mentoring Women of Color Circles

2017-2018 Grant Recipients

Health and Addictions Research Center Mentoring Group (
Joseph Baschnagel, CLA, Psychology (lead) CLA; Psychology faculty-Stephanie Godleski, Rebecca Houston, Lindsay Schenkel, Suzanne Bamonto; and GCCIS/Computer Science-Ifeoma Nwogu

This mentoring grant was used to bring in Dr. Katie Witkiewitz, a seasoned NIH grant reviewer and grant writer to mentor the faculty of the Health and Addictions Research Center (HARC) on grant writing and submissions. As a result of meetings with Dr. Witkiewitz we gained valuable insights on the submission and review process and received specific advice for some projects for which we are currently seeking funding. Dr. Witkiewitz also gave a research talk that was attended by 40 people from the general RIT community on her research in alcohol use disorder treatments. Finally, Dr. Witkiewitz met with current graduate students to talk about her research and general graduate mentoring. From the insights we gained we are now in a better position for submitting successful grants.

As part of this mentoring activity we gained valuable insights into the NIH grant submission and review process which we are immediately putting into practice on the grant proposals we are currently developing; gained insight on how to strengthen our research center through grant funding; and gained potential for new collaborations with a world class addictions researcher Additionally many faculty and clinical staff at RIT gained knowledge of cutting edge treatments for alcohol use disorder by attending Dr. Witkiewitz's talk.

Overall we feel this grant program is a great asset to RIT faculty and should continue into the future.

Informal Teaching/Tutoring Discussions Group
Stacey Davis, NTID, Academic Affairs & Science & Mathematics (Lead)
Includes members of the NTID faculty and professional teaching staff

Open to all faculty and professional staff who teach at NTID the Informal Teaching/Tutoring Discussions (ITD) provided both new and veteran educators a safe place to discuss some events and struggles they experience in the classroom, as well as some ideas for addressing them.  It also helped to connect faculty to each other, especially since our faculty are housed in at least 8 different buildings on campus.

Faculty are now more aware of these ongoing events and seem to have an interest in attending.  One even mentioned that she was excited for the next ITD because she had an experience to run by other colleagues to see how they would handle it and how to address these classroom issues in the future.

Mentoring Group for Development of Metrics and Models of Diversity 
Marcos Esterman, KGCOE, Industrial and Systems Engineering (Lead), David P. Wick, SOIS and Division of Diversity and Inclusion; Jeffrey D. Burnette, CLA, Sociology & Anthropology

This faculty mentoring group sought to make progress to promote our activities in scholarship development and proposal writing. Our exploratory discussions centered on best practices in higher education and on establishing the state of the art in the measurement of diversity and inclusion in the context of higher education populations, namely students, faculty, and staff.  Our goal was to examine and refine existing approaches in an effort to develop new avenues within the diversity framework that would help to inform policy and programs under consideration at RIT.  To that end, we initiated our exploration with a literature review of several academic areas (ecology, sociology, economics, information science, and health science) that provided insight on topics ranging from the quantification of biodiversity to human diversity in population demographics.
The specific activities completed or initiated included:  The creation of a subject matter reading list; the formation of a rough draft and outline for a manuscript that we intend to submit as a review article; a benchmarking assessment of 22 universities to identify best practices in higher education that are worth learning more about; and identification of the Mellon Foundation as a target to cultivate for funding future work in this area.

The intended purpose of the funds was to travel to an institution of higher education that was developing or using diversity related metrics to inform policy decisions within the institution. The criteria that we used to identify the institution that we wanted to visit included: Did the institution use metrics to drive policy? Did they have research clusters in diversity and inclusion? Were they recognized for diversity efforts? Do they have someone in a visible position to analyze diversity and inclusion data? Do we have any relationships with the institution?
We collectively assessed 22 universities and decided that Virginia Tech, University of Michigan, UC Berkley, and MIT were schools we would target to visit. We ruled out Michigan because of the institutional knowledge that Dr. Munson already brings and focused on MIT and Virginia Tech because of their relative proximity.  We had a productive email exchange with DiOnetta Jones Crayton, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Office of Minority Education and Dr. Edmund Bertschinger, outgoing Institute Community and Equity Officer, both from MIT.  However, we were unsuccessful at setting up a visit as they were reluctant to commit to a formal meeting. Ironically directing us to schools like RIT as, much of the best work is not being done in the elite institutions but by state universities and small colleges. We had some initial success with Virginia Tech and exchanged some emails with Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke, Vice Provost for Inclusion and Dr. Patrice L. Dickerson, Director of Faculty Diversity.  However, that too was ultimately unsuccessful.  As a result, the funds were not ultimately expended.

Even without the intended purpose of the funds being fulfilled, we did establish a collaboration between myself, David Wick and Jeffrey Burnette.  We have identified the need to expand the nature of diversity and inclusion metrics to be more comprehensive and adaptive to future needs.  We have identified rich sources of data and strategies that we can draw from at other institutions. Lastly, we have identified publication opportunities and a foundation that we wish to pursue further (as descried above).  This will be particularly useful for Jeffrey Burnette’s tenure portfolio when he goes up for tenure in 2020.

Crypto@RIT Mentoring Group (Interdisciplinary faculty collaboration on cryptographic techniques for cybersecurity)
Peizhao Hu, GCCIS, Computer Science (Lead); H.B. Acharya, GCCIS, Computing Security; Anurag Agarwal, COS, School of Mathematical Sciences; Sumita Mishra, GCCIS, Computing Security; Marcin Lukowiak, KGCOE, Computing Engineering; Stanislaw Radziszowski, GCCIS, Computer Science; Leon Reznik, GCCIS, Computer Science; Matthew Wright, GCCIS, Computing Security; Bo Yuan, GCCIS, Computing Security

Cellular Performance Metrics and Infrastructure Resiliency Group
Mark Indelicato, CAST, Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (Lead); CAST faculty-Miguel Bazdresch, Clark Hochgraf, William Johnson, Yossi Nygate; and Jennifer Schneider, CAST, CETEMS

We used these funds to attend two conferences:
William Johnson attended sessions related to emergency operations where real-time cellular communication metrics were important. Johnson had lengthy discussions several times during conference events with Michael Lambert, Director of Emergency Management for Santa Fe, TX County, who has extensive experience in emergency response and has had to work with limitations on communications during crisis management. While cellular communications is only one part of the puzzle, it is an important part since (1) many first responders are using the commercial networks and (2) emergency responders are skeptical of the FirstNet system’s claims to deliver adequate communication in a crisis.  Johnson also presented our current metrics work during the poster session. Discussions confirmed that the cellular metric project was a valuable piece of the emergency response communications picture.

PSCR Stakeholders Meeting 2018
Clark Hochgraf attended and learned about a low cost LTE base station setup (<$1k) that we could use to setup a drone with an eNodeB and EPC. These are essential elements of an LTE cellular system and this hardware can be used to create our own LTE UE (User Equipment), which would give us freedom to customize the coverage data collection system specifically for drone deployments. Clark spoke with the founder of the company SRS  ( and a also few people using their systems and they said it was pretty good and much cheaper than any alternative ($~30k).
We feel this would be good to get a system for development of our future work placing us in a position to apply for external funding we need to show accomplishments and a history of successes - in addition to publications based on this work.

We have made connections with several players in the emergency response community that could be valuable background information for use during preparation of relevant RFPs.  The culture in this funding area is based not only on solid ideas and successes and publication, but the establishment of relationships.  NIST is allocated millions of dollars from NSF and we are cultivating a relationship with NIST through ISCRAM, the PCSR and the Homeland Security and Technology arm of DHS. We submitted two papers to the HST conference in October 2018. We have also submitted a paper to Resilience Week August 2018.

This grant is very important for us as we position ourselves for larger awards. These funds are crucial before we can be expected to have the successes required for larger grant applications.
The impact on our group has been significant. We have been developing our cellular metrics app and writing papers, but have not had the funding to attend key meetings with stakeholders, policy makers and emergency responders. Department funds are insufficient for the travel needed to cultivate these relationships. Without the Mentoring Grant Program, our group would not have been able to attend these two very important conferences.  The immediate impact is that our work is known to this community not just in a disseminated work, but as we discuss in person and in context based on their needs and the work they are doing.


Gear Research Mentoring Group
Liu, Rui, KGCOE, Mechanical Engineering (Lead), and KGCOE Mechanical Engineering faculty: Alfonso Fuentes, Patricia Iglesias

One of the major missions of this activity was to broadly impact the teaching activities which are related to gear technologies. Through the gear research seminars supported by this grant, the invited speakers described their research works to our both undergraduate and graduate students and attracted several students to pursue their research projects in related fields. The gear research seminars were also integrated into our courses (strength of materials, material sciences, and tribology and lubrication) to show our students the actual applications and research activities related to those topics.
We also used this grant to support our graduate student mentoring activities through the visits of gear manufacturers. These visitors gave us a good chance to expose advanced gear manufacturing technologies to our graduate students.
In addition, the supported research seminars also offered our mentoring group great opportunities to enlarge our connections with invited speakers and local companies, several collaborative research activities have already begun and continued. Furthermore, these educational activities have been and also will be included into our grant proposals to show the integration of education and broader impacts.

This mentoring grant offers us an opportunity to develop our existing gear research group in KGCOE.
Firstly, this grant offered us a great chance to invite external speakers who are working in similar research areas to interact with our graduate students and inspire them. Secondly, through these opportunities, we expanded our connections with these speakers, and collaborate with them. Several collaborative proposals and technical papers have been published or prepared. Thirdly, the grant supports our two visits to local manufacturing companies to strengthen our relationships. Lastly, all the activities supported by this grant offer a great impact on our progress toward promotion or tenure. Specifically, Dr. Liu received his tenure-track position from mechanical engineering department in KGCOE and Dr. Fuentes received his tenure from mechanical engineering department in KGCOE in the past few months.

We all consider this grant program as a great opportunity for young faculty members or new research groups to strengthen the collaborations and enlarge the connections with companies and other universities. Under this grant, we have obtained such great achievements in both teaching and research. We would say this grant offered our group support and a great experience. We are looking forward to collaborating with the Office of the Provost and Faculty Career Development in the future!

Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Historical Reflections on the 2016 Presidential Election Group
Mandell, Hinda, CLA, School of Communication (Lead); CLA faculty-Christine Kray (Anthropology & Sociology); Tamar Carroll (History); Michael Brown (History); O. Nicholas Robertson (Criminal Justice); Katie Terezakis (Philosophy); and Alison Parker, The College at Brockport, History. 

In January 2018 I toured the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts and met with the chief curator Beth McLaughlin and the exhibiting artist Adrienne Sloane. As a result of this productive visit, Beth McLaughlin agreed to write an essay for my book with Juliee Decker (Museum Studies, COLA), "Crafting Democracy," proposal under review with RIT Press, and Adrienne Sloane will be exhibiting her work "The Unraveling" at our 2019 exhibit of the same name. This was an invaluable experience because I have never worked with a museum curator before, and this will be the first exhibit I am curating. This relates directly to scholarship and creative development.

As a result of cultivating relationships with the Fuller Craft Museum, a $4,800 grant from the Farash Foundation (with Juilee Decker) will support publication of the book, "Crafting Democracy". This successful grant proposal is very important to me as I enter a new field of scholarship (material studies and material culture).

This is an exceptional grant because it allows for new learning opportunities, and new pathways to professional development, that aid researchers in leaving the comfort of our "silos!" I am so grateful to have received this funding so I can grow as a scholar and engage in interdisciplinary work that is important to my method - and to RIT as well! Thank you.

Healthcare Information Technology Research Team
Tu, John Q., SCB, MIS, Marketing and Digital Business (Lead), and SCB faculty-Manlu Liu, Sean Hansen, Quang (Neo) Bui

We used the grant to send two researchers to a workshop where they presented their research progress, connected with potential interviewees, and networked with potential collaborators.

The trip allowed us to get feedback on our research projects. At the workshop our research was presented and will be included in the workshop proceedings. We also connected with a colleague in the University of Buffalo and will potentially go there for a research presentation.

Great value to faculty to extend our network beyond RIT.

Effective Methods for Teaching Undergraduate Finance Core Courses Mentoring Group
Zhang, Hao, SCB, Finance & Accounting (lead), and Archana Jain,  Konstantin Sokolov, SCB faculty

The funding supported one faculty of the group's attendance at the 2018 American Finance Association (AFA) Annual Meeting who returned sharing new ideas and methods on how to effectively teach finance courses. As one example came from attending a panel discussion, “FinTech: How Will it Transform Financial Markets and Services?” The panel included discussions on how new technologies influence financial markets, e.g. blockchain and cryptocurrency issues, resulting in the incorporation of these new topics into SCB finance courses in order to spark students' interest and expose students to the newest developments in financial markets.

With the support of the grant, one of the faculty members had improved teaching evaluations in an undergraduate course. Students also mentioned that they liked the  discussions on the newest developments in financial markets.  Faculty also benefited from these discussions -- partly motivated by the conference and these discussions, a new research project was started related to blockchain and cryptocurrency issues. "We feel that this is a very good grant program, and we are grateful for the support."

2016-2017 Grant Recipients

Effective Strategies for Teaching Graduate-level Mathematical Modeling
COS Faculty: Elizabeth Cherry (lead), Kara Maki, David Ross

  • Our mentoring grant funds supported a visit from Laura Miller (UNC Chapel Hill) to discuss her experiences teaching graduate-level mathematical modeling.  The participation of our colleagues in some of these discussions helped to cultivate a broader appreciation of the unique challenges of teaching modeling and how earlier placement of modeling activities within the curriculum can contribute to the development of students’ modeling skills.  Those of us teaching mathematical modeling over the next year (all of us involved in the grant) definitely felt the visit was a useful opportunity to discuss why this course is so challenging to teach and to brainstorm about different potential ways to overcome these difficulties.  This program was useful for us in expanding our network in the field of mathematical modeling and in helping us to position RIT as a leader in mathematical modeling education.  

Junior Faculty Success Club: Realizing Our Full Potential
COS Faculty: Christopher Collison (lead), Jeremy Cody, Michael Coleman, Nathan Eddingsaas, Michael Gleghorn, John-David Rocha, Lea Vacca Michel

  • Our group met weekly during the fall and spring semester since the grant was awarded.  At each meeting we shared our personal successes and celebrated them collectively, and we shared our personal barriers and brainstormed solutions.  Each member of the group started by presenting a reflection of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with their research progress and career objectives at RIT.  We then considered how we could meet our personal objectives. We also identified opportunities that would allow for development of collaborations, development of external funding and development of peer-reviewed and published research.  These meetings allowed group members to identify challenges and address them with positivity, responsibility, accountability and with the shared support from the group.  We continue to meet, with our habit being locked in through this award. There is a higher level of collegiality, teamwork, "all-for-one, one-for-all" attitude that will last for years to come as a result of our mentoring group meetings.

STEM Research as a Tool to Enhance 2+2 Curricula
Sandra Connelly, COS, (lead), Sarah Brownell (KGCOE), Dawn Carter (COS), Joe Lanzafame (COS), Jeff Mills (COS), James Murphy and Suzanne Long, Monroe Community College

Psychology Women and Gender Minority Mentoring Group: Building a Network of Mentors Inside and Outside RIT
CLA Faculty: Caroline DeLong (lead), Suzanne Bamonto, A. Eleanor Chand-Matkze, Paula Chase, Jessamy Comer, Kirsten Condry, Stephanie Godleski, Rebecca Houston, Jennifer Lukomski, Lindsay Schenkel, Alan Smerbeck, Tina Sutton

  • This is the fourth year of our mentoring group, and the first time we have met with mentors outside RIT.  This year’s grant helped our mentoring group stay strong and connected. Meeting with external mentors allowed us to grow and expand our mentoring network. Several faculty in our group were interested in leadership positions and made helpful connections with the two external mentors who hold leadership roles. The mentors shared their experiences as women in academia and how they manage the responsibilities of their positions. This program is highly valuable to RIT faculty, particularly when mentoring groups are funded over a period of years.  Our mentoring group formed a community within our department that has improved the climate for female and gender minority faculty.

Electrical, Microelectronic and Microsystems Engineering Seminar Series
KGCOE Faculty: Parsian Katal Mohseni (lead), Panos Markopoulos, Luis Herrera, Ivan Puchades, Jing Zhang, Edward Hensel, Brian Landi; and Seth Hubbard (COS)

  • Activities involved hosting a series of invited speakers from various academic institutions and federal government institutions to present their research and/or funding programs to RIT faculty, staff, and students. Four speakers were invited from the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and faculty from Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh. New relationships were established with the invited funding agency program officers. In person discussions will provide valuable insights for future funding opportunities in their programs. New collaborative research efforts have been initiated between the research groups the invited speaker.

Doceamus: The Pedagogical Mentorship Group in Mathematics
COS Faculty: Paul Wenger (lead), Nathaniel Barlow, Bernard Brooks, Michael Cromer, Matthew Hoffman, Sogol Jahanbekam, Carl Lutzer, Kara Maki, Laura Munoz, Niels Otani, Wei Qian

2015-2016 Grant Recipients

Interdisciplinary Faculty Collaboration on Computational Analysis of Community Macro-Wellness in Social Media
Cecilia Ovesdotter Alm (CLA) (Lead) and Chris Homan (GCCIS), Ray Ptucha (KGCOE)

MIS Research Group
Quang Ngoc Bui (SCB) (Lead) and SCB faculty: , Sean Hansen, Manlu Liu, Victor Perotti, Bryan Reinicke, John Q. Tu, Yang Yu

  • The grant allowed us to meet regularly to discuss our research projects, find common interests to propose four grant applications, and organize a guest speaker lecture. These activities allowed us to further our scholarship development and extend our network. Currently, there is no formal forum in which MIS faculty can discuss and exchange research ideas -- this group provides an encouraging environment for MIS faculty to do so. The grant is excellent support for RIT faculty to engage in activities that advance their career. I have learned a lot and made good connections and impressions to my peers.

Project-Based and Game-Based Learning for the Digital Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS) Peer Mentoring
Juilee Decker and Trent Hergenrader (CLA)-Project Leads and Michael Brown, Andrea Hickerson, Ammina Kothari, David Meiggs

  • This grant provided an opportunity for faculty collaboration and sharing of experiences and knowledge in a structured format that enabled us to facilitate the conversations and to learn from our peers' experiences.  We also benefitted from matching funds from the DHSS program, which enabled us to engage in conversations off campus and in a relaxed environment. This experience would not have happened if the faculty had not received a stipend towards conference attendance. We anticipate that the productive conversations that we had will carry through to the DHSS working group tentatively planned for 2016-2017.

Psychology Women and Gender Minority Mentoring Group
Caroline DeLong (CLA) (Lead) and CLA  faculty: Suzanne Bamonto, Eleanor Chand-Matkze, Paula Chase, Jessamy Comer, Kirsten Condry, Stephanie Godleski, Jennifer Lukomski, Lindsay Schenkel, Audrey Smerbeck, Tina Sutton

  • We had a teaching club and a writing club this year. We read How to Write A Lot, and discussed our writing projects with each other (journal articles, book chapters, and grant proposals). All members made progress with their writing projects, with at least five articles  and a book chapter submitted or revised during this period.  All members found the book to be helpful in developing a writing schedule that allowed writing projects to progress more quickly. This key insight will help members continue to stay productive in the future.  The teaching read the book Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning; our meetings had productive discussions that were helpful for members to develop their teaching practices by learning how others design and conduct their classes. In addition, we had one large group meeting related to teaching on modern conceptions of gender in which we discussed how to be inclusive and respectful to transgender students in the classroom.  As a result of this meeting, one member prepared a handbook called Gender Diversity: A Guide for Higher Ed Faculty that will be shared with other faculty. 

Rochester Interdisciplinary Audio Engineering Symposium Group
Sunyoung Kim (CAST) (Lead) and CAST faculty: Mark Indelicato, Clark Hogchraf, Hiraku Okumura, Masahiro Ikeda (Yamaha Corporation)


Working with Big Data Collaboration and Mentoring Group
Ammina Kothari (CLA) (Lead) and Tony Harkin (COS), Andrea Hickerson (CLA), Myrtle Jones (CIAS), Josh Meltzer (CIAS)

  • The grant has been extremely useful, particularly for new faculty members to help them get acclimated into the RIT community of educators and scholars. The grant helped facilitate cross-departmental class projects and opened the door for more of those in the future and collaborative scholarship opportunities. The ability to travel together as a group to Journalism Interactive conference allowed us the time to discuss our project, get ideas on how to improve it and to see how we can help one another grow as teachers and scholars.

KGCOE NSF Proposal Peer Review Group
Katie McConky (KGCOE) (Lead) and KGCOE faculty: Margaret Bailey, Anju Gupta, Patricia Iglesias Victoria, Dhireesha Kudithipudi, Kathleen A Lamkin-Kennard, Rachel Silvestrini, Patricia L. Taboada-Serrano, Jing Zhang

The School of Mathematical Sciences Faculty Mentoring Program
Deana Olles (COS) (Lead) and COS faculty: Mihail Barbosu, Patricia Diute, Carl Lutzer, Kara Maki, Darren Narayan, Hossein Shahmohamad, Olga Tsukernik, Tamas Wiandt


Engineering Learning Assistant (LA) Faculty Mentoring Group
Mark Olles (CAST) (Lead) and Michael Caldwell (CAST), Beth Carle (CAST), Scott Franklin (COS), Deana Olles (COS), Alan Raisanen (CAST)

  • This is my second year being involved with this grant program, and I am thankful that there are funds available for faculty to pursue activities that can improve RIT as well as offer tremendous networking opportunities. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with all the faculty members in the mentoring groups on the two mentoring activities and feel as though both opportunities have made a real difference.
  • We held a small group discussion with guest Mary Nelson, a member of the LA Alliance, that included two CAST LAs and their mentors, as well as faculty that were interested in using LAs in the fall. Our grant funds were also used to pay the LAs. I have enjoyed success utilizing LAs in my engineering classroom and am very excited to see others doing the same--the student feedback is always positive and they are requesting that more of their courses have LA support. Utilizing an LA assists faculty in transforming a traditional lecture class setting into a more interactive small group setting with the students being far more engaged and benefiting from the increased instant feedback. First year students, in particular, appear to be benefiting by having an LA that they see as a peer to help create a more comfortable learning environment for them. Growing the LA program to span the first two years of engineering classes in CAST would bolster the programs and strengthen our students to ensure their success here at RIT. We were enabled through this grant, and the tremendous support of CASTLE and the LA program, to grow the trained LA body for CAST from two to four.

Grant Writing in Molecular Imaging Team
Hans Schmitthenner (COS) (Lead) and Irene Evans (COS), Joseph Hornak (COS and CIS)

  • We have found that collaborations are exceedingly important for grant applications in molecular imaging research.  We used our grant funds to travel to a workshop one day prior to the World Molecular imaging Conference (WMIC) in order to establish a collaboration with two researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, resulting in writing two grants with the Roswell researchers after the workshop--one to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and one to the Department of Defense (DoD). Our DOD proposal was "invited" after a pre-application in July. A key to this proposal were the collaborators we forged this past year who are co-investigators and co-wrote the applications with us.

Peer Mentoring for the Tenure-track Women Faculty in CAST
Maureen Valentine (CAST) (Lead) and CAST faculty: Amanda Bao, Beth Carle, Betsy Dell, Jeanne Christman, Malar Hirudayaraj, Jerrie Hsieh, Dea Jacobs, Karen Proctor, Linda Tolan, Linda Underhill, Carol Whitlock

  • The project sought to advance the careers of women faculty in CAST by expanding their networks and providing them a safe place to share ideas.  When a strong network of colleagues exists, the opportunity for informal peer mentoring and collaborative development improves. The key outcome of the project was to get the Women Faculty of CAST together to get to know one another and share their ideas around teaching and scholarship with one another.  This was our attempt at developing their network. At the last event, we had the opportunity to include the two women who will be joining CAST in the Fall, giving them the chance to meet others in the hopes of easing their transition into the college.

Doceamus: The Pedagogical Mentorship Group in Mathematics
Paul Wenger (COS) (Lead) and COS faculty: Nathaniel Barlow, Bernard Brooks, Michael Cromer, Matthew Hoffman, Carl Lutzer, Kara Maki, Laura Munoz, Niels Otani, Wei Qian

  • This is the second year that this group has been funded, and it has been a great asset in helping us develop a tight community of professors who are committed to moving the teaching mission of our department forward. Our activities consisted of weekly discussions focusing on teaching mathematics and the implementation of technology in the classroom. The weekly meetings have been an invaluable opportunity for faculty, especially early-career faculty, to meet and discuss teaching.  Teaching is a significant aspect of our job, and one that new faculty frequently have less experience with compared to research.  Sharing our experiences and methods allows us to better home in on effective techniques for educating our students.
2014-2015 Grant Recipients

Strategic Transitions towards Major Research Awards in Sustainability
Callie Babbitt (Lead) with members from GIS: Dennis Andrejko,  Roger Chen, Jules Chiavaroli, Gabrielle Gaustad, Ming Hu, Thomas Trabold, Eric Williams

Junior Faculty External Funding Success Club
Chris Collison (Lead) with members from COS: Michael Coleman, Jeremy Cody, Nathan Eddingsaas, Lea Vacca Michel,  John-David Rocha

Promoting Excellence in Teaching and Research in the Psychology Women’s Mentoring Group
Caroline DeLong (Lead) with members from CLA/Department of Psychology: Suzanne Bamonto, A. Eleanor Chand-Matkze, Jessamy Comer, Kirsten Condry, Jennifer Lukomski, Lindsay Schenkel, Audrey Smerbeck, Tina Sutton

  • This mentoring group provides both social support for female faculty in the Psychology Department at RIT as well as an opportunity to discuss relevant issues facing women in academia.  The goal of our mentoring project this year was to support teaching excellence and writing progress among group members.  We met six times over the course of the spring semester to eat lunch and discuss readings. To support teaching we read What the Best College Teachers Do,  by Ken Bain, and a selected set of seven readings focused on gender and the classroom.  As a group, we discussed our current teaching practices and the techniques discussed in BainÂ’s book to improve our own teaching practices and enhance the learning experience for our students in the classroom.  Our discussions on gender in the classroom focused on gender stereotypes, the influence of gender on student course evaluations, and the impact of gender on classroom behavior and faculty/student interactions.  We created a community myCourses page for our group. We discussed our writing projects and progress and posted meeting notes on myCourses.  This allowed us to ask each other for help when needed, share resources to promote writing success, and keep each other updated on our scholarly progress.
  • The mentoring grant provided a stronger link among our group of women by formalizing the mentoring process to include academic books to read, and give us a way to gather everyone together for discussions and meetings. Our mentoring group worked really well because we had a mix of formal and informal mentoring, but keeping to a schedule and meeting regularly was a big part of our success. It kept us moving through our agenda for the year, and as we completed tasks we developed new ideas for the coming year. Perhaps the grant process could be adjusted to help not only develop new groups but also to maintain mentoring groups that are successful.  This program has been especially valuable for new, pre-tenure, and non-tenure track faculty.  Participants have formed research partnerships with more senior faculty - in one case, applying for an external grant together.  Participants also reported feeling more welcomed into the RIT community and to have a better sense of RIT’s resources and culture. Without these valuable opportunities to discuss important issues relating to teaching and gender, it is uncertain whether these ideas and opportunities would have emerged.

Media, Arts and Sciences and STEM Grant Proposal Writing Group (MASS)
Myrtle Jones (Lead) with members: Barbara Birkett, Elena Fedorovskaya, Michael Riordan (CIAS); Michael Coleman (COS); Geraldine Cochran (MCAS & COS)

Pedagogical Mentorship Group in Mathematics
Carl Lutzer (Lead) with members from COS/School of Mathematical Sciences: Bernard Brooks, Nathaniel Barlow, Michael Cromer, Matthew Hoffman, Kara Maki, Laura Munoz, Niels Otani, Wei Qian, Paul Wenger

Peer-2-Peer Network: Striving for Excellence in Teaching through Structured Evaluations, Vetted Redesign Techniques, and Group Debriefs
Sandra Connelly (Lead) with members: Bill Brewer,  CHST; Jennifer Connelly, COS; Stacey Davis, NTID; Juilee Decker, CLA; Elizabeth DiCesare, COS; Ming Hu, GIS; Andre Hudson, COS; Joseph Lanzafame, COS; Katie McConky, KGCOE; Jeff Mills, COS; Tom Prevendoski, COS; Ke-an Wu,  SCB

  • In this peer network we chose to stretch across multiple disciplines (representatives from six of the nine RIT Colleges) and faculty ranks (lecturers, visiting assistant professors, assistant professors, and associate faculty)  to establish a network that could truly benefit from the experiences of others.  Members of the network visited each other’s classes and provided feedback to the instructor regarding the class structure, delivery, and student engagement in the classroom. Discipline-specific content was not the focus of this group, rather we focused on the effectiveness of delivery and provided a supportive environment in which new ideas could be discussed and alternate delivery techniques could be vetted and assessed in a very timely fashion.  This allowed for the possibility of topical redesigns for several faculty during a single semester, which improved the experience for the students and the faculty immediately rather than waiting until the next time the course is offered to make changes.
  • The numerous faculty ranks are believed to have been an important component of this group from the standpoint that we are all capable of learning from one another, regardless of rank or discipline, and we believe that a network such as ours provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate this ideal to others across the University.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Junior Faculty Research and Mentoring Group
Sildomar Monteiro (Lead)  with members Mehran Mozaffari Kermani, KGCOE/ Electrical & Microelectronic Engineering; Reza Azarderakhsh, KGCOE/Computer Engineering; Raymond Ptucha, KGCOE/ Computer Engineering

  • As a result of this grant, we were able to invite and learn from an experienced grant winner, Carl Batt, who also gave feedback to our individual proposals. We were also able to learn from grant awardees from different departments at RIT. The workshop was a great success. The attendance was higher than expected, and we were able to meet other faculty interested in grant writing. All of those people we met expanded our peer network at RIT. This event wouldn't be possible without financial support from this grant. The mentoring grant program is a great initiative that should be maintained and perhaps expanded.

The School of Mathematical Sciences Mentoring Model for Non-Tenure Track Faculty
Deana Olles (Lead) with members from COS/School of Mathematical Sciences: Birgit Coffey, Patricia Diute, Carrie Lahnovych, Deana Olles, Thomas Prevendoski, Helen Timberlake, Olga Tsukernik, Tamas Wiandt, Hossein Shamohammad, Mihail Barbosu, Matthew Coppenbarger

  • This opportunity was extremely beneficial to our team. We learned a lot about what we want in a mentoring program, as well as what we can leave out. Thanks to the Faculty Career Development Services for supporting and co-sponsoring our events. We received great feedback from faculty in departments and colleges outside our own. I can only hope that lecturers all across campus will receive the support they need for growth and success.
  • SMS has had a mentoring program set up for its faculty, including lecturers, for a little over a year. The team was interested in finding what other universities with similar or more formal programs are doing to support their lecturers in teaching, service, possible scholarship and promotion. The goal was to fine tune our own program and then provide others on campus with the foundations to get their own started. Baylor University's Academy for Teaching and Learning director Lenore Wright and her mentor Tom Hanks came to RIT to provide us with a workshop entitled Best Practices in Mentoring Non-Tenure Track Faculty. The hour-long sessions we participated in were Creating a Positive Climate for Teaching: Policies, programs and recognition; Mentoring and Supporting Non Tenure-Track Faculty: Assessing Instructor Needs; Evaluating, Supporting, and Inspiring Great Teaching: Policies, Procedures, and Programs for Non Tenure-Track Faculty.  

Scholarship Mentoring Team
Mark Olles (Lead) with CAST faculty:  Alan Raisanen, Carlos Diaz, Martin Anslem, Manian Ramkumar, Daniel Johnson

  • It was an honor to receive this grant and we have gained valuable information, experience and contacts through completing the effort. These grants offer a tremendous opportunity to our faculty to pursue continuous improvement and should be continued.
  • It was important for our group to see what other universities expect from their faculty. Tenure and promotion expectations, specifically teaching load and funding expectations for faculty on a research path, at the other universities are not very different from each other but do differ from our expectations. During the presentations it was very interesting to see how the UB and RPI faculty representatives pursued funding and how they created a balanced portfolio for scholarship.  In culmination our group has identified focus groups to meet monthly and discuss/support efforts in fostering a culture of scholarship. We are optimistic that the faculty in our departments and college will participate in these meetings and form collaborative groups to strengthen the effort of our college.

Interdisciplinary Cardiac Arrhythmia Collaboration and Mentoring Group
Niels Otani (Lead) with members: Elizabeth Cherry (COS), Behnaz Ghoraani (KGCOE), Laura Muñoz (COS), Linwei Wang, (GCCIS) and URMC faculty: Jean-Philippe Couderc, PhD, MBA; Coeli Lopes, PhD; Wojciech Zareba, MD, PhD

2013-2014 Grant Recipients

CLA Book Club: Connecting Published Authors with those Interested in Book Writing
Kelly Martin (Lead) with CLA faculty: Bruce Austin, Tamar Carroll, Nick DiFonzo, Hinda Mandell, Keith Jenkins, Mike Johansson, Andrea Hickerson, Keith Jenkins, Christine Keiner, Michael Laver, Jessica Lieberman, Scott Merydith, Jessica Pardee, Judy Porter, Rebecca Scales, Corinna Schlombs, Jonathan Schroeder, Danielle Smith, Elena Sommers, Katie Terezakis,Tracy Worrell

  • The grant supported a book club by connecting published authors within CLA to others interested in writing books and allowed the group to invite an expert in the field as well as provide a “space” for people to gather and share information about the publishing process. The "officialness" and support of a Provost Mentoring Grant gave credence to the group. Dr. Kelly Martin shared, “This is an excellent opportunity for people to brainstorm creative ways they can create mentoring groups.”

The CyberSecurity Framework Team
Rajendra Raj, Jennifer Schneider, (CAST), Carol Romanowski (GCCIS), Sumita Mishra (GCCIS)

Development of Biomedical Teaching and Research Scholarly Work of the Pre-tenured Faculty in Biomedical Engineering
KGCOE Faculty: Iris Asllani, Jennifer Bailey, Thomas Gaborski , Behnaz Ghoraani, Blanca Lapizco-Encinas, Cristian Linte, Alen Man

  • The grant funded external and internal speakers covering several important aspects of a successful research and teaching program. Topics included conducting collaborative research projects; building effective grant writing strategies; balancing service, research and teaching responsibilities; and transferring successful strategies in teaching for BME and ABET preparation. The mentoring grant helped the group organize a structured mentorship team where they could all actively participate, share ideas on how to evolve into successful researchers and instructors, and expand their mentoring network outside RIT.

ECTET Audio Engineering Education Group
Clark Hochgraf, Mark Indelicato, Sungyoung Kim, Richard Wyffels

Inclusive Excellence in Teaching Spanish Language and Culture
CLA Faculty: Elizabeth Adams, Christina Agostinelli, Godys Armengot-Mejía, Sara Armengot, Diane Forbes, Tim Foxsmith, Francia González, Rosalba Pisaturo

  • The grant was used hold a workshop with a guest presenter for RIT Spanish instructors on how to improve their Spanish language and culture classes for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The grant also allowed the group to participate in American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) webinars to stay current with national trends in the discipline. The project strengthened their network by bringing full and part time instructors together reporting, “This was a wonderful experience and helped us grow together as a group with the assistance of our guest speaker.”

Mechanical, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Seminar Series
KGCOE Faculty:  Edward Hensel, Jr., Thomas Gaborski, Christiaan Richter, Michael Schrlau, Patricia L. Taboada-Serrano, Wayne W. Walter, Steven Weinstein

Peer Mentoring in Access Technology, Research and Development
Catherine Beaton (GCCIS-IST), Gary Behm (NTID / Access Technology Innovation Lab), Steven Day (KGCOE), Elizabeth DeBartolo, Vicki L. Hanson (GCCIS), Patricia Iglesias-Victoria (KGCOE), Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard (KGCOE), Stephanie Ludi (GCCIS), Tae Oh (GCCIS), Dan Phillips (KGCOE), Stan Rickel (CIAS)

Psychology Women’s Mentoring Group
CLA Faculty: Suzanne Bamonto, Jessamy Comer, Kirsten Condry, Caroline DeLong, Jennifer Lukomski , Lindsay Schenkel , Audrey Smerbeck, Tina Sutton, Tywanquila Walker

  • The mentoring group had a very successful inaugural year, creating a cohesive community and providing support to members in terms of both tangible progress on writing, and a less tangible improvement in the climate of the department. Several members have successfully submitted and published articles and others submitted grants. All reported making some progress, and credit the mentoring group with their ability to maintain enthusiasm and motivation in their writing. “One of the strengths of our mentoring group is its diversity in including faculty at all different stages of career and family lives -- the value has come from having representation of a variety of viewpoints and our desire to find multiple pathways to success for our members. Please continue to support this excellent program.”

Saunders College of Business Research Group
SCB Faculty:  Deb Colton, John Ettlie, Clyde Hull, Archana Jain, Shalini Khazanchi, Manlu Liu, Sandra Rothenberg, Qian Song, Zhi Tang, John Tu, Rong Yang, Hao Zhang

Studies on American Indian Languages (Linguistic Anthropology, Language Documentation and Conservation)
CLA Faculty: Christine Kray, Wilson Silva, Jason Younker

  • The grant made it possible to host the first annual Research Symposium on Linguistics and the Native Languages of the Americas, supplemented by funds from other RIT programs. The symposium was the venue where the group was able to gain feedback on their work, strengthen and widen their scholarly networks, and help them envision new pathways for collaboration and communication with native communities within and beyond the region. This collaboration has enhanced individual research projects and furthered initiatives that will benefit RIT as a whole, as they work toward building a Center for American Indian Languages, establish a library collection of rare volumes and manuscripts, and build a digital archive. Dr. Christine Kray shared, “These initiatives will strengthen RIT's international reputation as a university that collaborates with and is responsive to the cultural visions and goals of Native American communities. Thank you very much for this opportunity. We have benefited enormously from this grant.”
2012-2013 Grant Recipients

Bringing Assessment to the Classroom: Pre-tenure Faculty Development on Test-writing and Classroom Assessment
COS Faculty: Paul Craig, Scott Franklin, Tom Kim, Aaron McGowan, Dina Newman, Bob Teese, Eric West, Leslie Kate Wright

  • External speakers were invited to campus to give presentations, conduct group discussions, and meet one-on-one with faculty to discuss several aspects of classroom pedagogy. The sessions included research-based curriculum development and assessment, novel pedagogical strategies (particularly activity-based methods), and use of undergraduate classroom assistants in laboratory and guided-inquiry settings.

Software Engineering Faculty Mentoring Group
GCCIS Faculty:   Stephanie Ludi, Andy Meneely, Emad Shihab

  • The grant provided funds for attendance at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants Conference—a must for new faculty, researchers, educators, and administrators who want to gain key insight into a wide range of current issues at NSF. Conference highlights included: new programs and initiatives; future directions and strategies for national science policy; proposal preparation; NSF’s merit review process; cross-disciplinary and special interest programs; conflict of interest policies; and breakout sessions by discipline. The grant allowed this group to have up-to-date insight on NSF's roadmap that has helped direct their conversations and planning regarding scholarship.

Gosnell School of Life Sciences (GSOLS) Writing Group
Greg Babbitt, Margaret Bailey, Dawn Carter, Michael Coleman, Feng Cui, Elizabeth DeBartolo, Elizabeth Dicesare, Mark Fairchild, Maureen Ferran, Elizabeth Hane, Anne Houtman, Karl Korfmacher, Carol Marchetti, Lea Michel, Dina L Newman, Jacob Noel-Storr, Hans Schmitthenner, Paul Shipman, Gary Skuse, Hyla Sweet, Christy Tyler, Leslie Kate Wright

  • This project provided an opportunity for faculty to share best practices on writing. An informal workshop was held to initiate the expansion of the writing groups with most faculty from GSOLS attending. After identifying barriers to writing, strategies that work for them, and writing projects, potential writing groups were assembled.  The highlight of the project came at the concluding retreat with an invited speaker who offered practical resources for writing and a new motivation for faculty.  Project members shared, “The external source of energy and enthusiasm was uplifting.”

Mechanical, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Seminar Series
KCGOE Faculty: Thomas Gaborski, Edward Hensel, Jr., Christiaan Richter, Patricia L. Taboada-Serrano, Wayne W. Walter, Steven Weinstein

  • The goal of this project was to expand the scope of junior faculty mentoring to include both internal and external networking, thus promoting the national visibility and reputation of RIT.  Funding was used to cover costs for three external speakers in the 2013-2014 academic year.  Support for this group has enabled faculty to stay current on cutting-edge research, network with internal and external colleagues, form new national and international collaborations to pursue pioneering research, and ultimately, provide our students with the best education possible. 

Research in the Rough
SCB Faculty: Ashok Robin, Hao Zhang, James Baroody, John Ettlie, John Tu, Joy Oguntebi, Michael Palanski, Mithu Dey, Sandra Rothenberg, Sean Hansen, Zhi Tang, Archana Jain, Hao Zhang, Rong Yang, Chian Song

  • Funding was used to support this series aimed at creating a community of scholars that can support each other toward scholarly excellence.  Specifically, tenure-track faculty members present their on-going research projects in order to seek feedback and input on a variety of research-related issues.  In addition, portions of their sessions were devoted to the discussion of general research-related topics such as the journal review process and challenges of data collection in organizations. In response to this series, they have created a "research group" comprised of tenure-track faculty members who get together periodically to discuss ways to generate awareness about on-going research in the college.
2011-2012 Grant Recipients

Technology Rich Learning Environment Education Research Team
Betsy Dell (CAST), Rhiannon Hart (CLA),  Michael Stinson (NTID), Larry Villasmil (CAST), and Nancy Ares, Warner School of Education, University of Rochester

  • The group's NSF FIRE proposal received positive feedback but was not funded due to the need for improvements in the education research methodology and evaluation plan. This grant was utilized to contract with an objective external evaluator team to enhance the research methodology section for submission to the NSF-RDE and NSF-TSL Project.

Integrated Mathematical Models to Combat Dry Eye Syndrome
Kara Maki (COS), David Ross (COS), Steve Weinstein (KGCOE)

  • This group worked on developing a mathematical model of the mechanical interactions between a contact lens suspended in a tear film and the viscous liquid in which it is suspended. Dr. Richard Braun, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Delaware, one of the leading experts in modeling the tear film dynamics, was invited as a guest speaker on "Modeling the Tear Film" for their group. In addition, one of the members presented in a mini-symposium and will speak about the mentoring group’s recent efforts, in collaboration with Bausch & Lomb, to understand the settling dynamics of contact lenses.

Molecular Imaging Group
COS Faculty: Hans Schmitthenner, Joseph Hornak

  • Funds provided membership to World Molecular Imaging Society (WMIS) and registration for the World Molecular Imaging Conference (WMIC), the most important conference in the new field this group is starting at RIT.

Mechanical Engineering Seminar Series
KGCOE Faculty: Wayne Walter, Edward Hensel, Michael Schrlau, Mario Gomes, Jason Kolodziej, Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard, Benjamin Varela

  • The group mentors junior faculty how to recruit graduate students and disseminate their research. Funds provided by the grant allowed them to host guest speakers that increased the academic networks between RIT and the home institutions of these speakers, and increased the likelihood of future collaborations including the dissemination of scholarly works, writing joint grant proposals, and sharing research help and ideas.

Junior Faculty External Funding Success Club
COS Faculty: Chris Collison, Loraine Tan, Lea Michel, Michael Coleman, Jeremy Cody

  • Funding was used for the group to discuss successes and opportunities in grant application, proposal writing, persuasive writing and networking as well as to pay for visits to funding agency program managers.

Science and Mathematics Education Research Collaborative (SMERC)
COS Faculty: Dina L. Newman, L. Kate Wright, Thomas Kim, Scott Franklin, Robert Teese

  • Funds were used for workshops on best practice pedagogy/assessment and a spring quarter seminar speaker/workshop. Through the workshops, faculty expanded their knowledge of best-teaching practices, reviewed and discussed evidence-based teaching methodologies, and promoted a culture committed to student learning.