The Connect Grants program supports faculty career development and advancement as well as academic unit-level culture change initiatives through awarding mini-grants.


Connect Grants are offered through AdvanceRIT within the Office of Academic Affairs with advisory support from the Council for the Representation & Engagement of Women Faculty, Faculty Career Development, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and Sponsored Research Services. The program’s target audience is all tenured and pre-tenured faculty at RIT, and proposals are accepted from individual faculty and from academic units. 

Funded projects align with the goals and objectives of the Office of AdvanceRIT.

The Connect Grants are designed to broaden faculty opportunities and enhance overall career advancement. Creative unit-level efforts to engage in cultural change, guide and manage faculty through various career stages are encouraged. During this current round, approximately $30,000 is available for the Connect Grants program, with the number of awards depending upon the review and evaluation of the proposals in relation to the posted selection criteria. Preference will be given to proposals from Principal Investigators who have not received funding from AdvanceRIT in the past three academic years (AY: 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023).

Grant Schedule for Academic Year 2023-24

Request for Proposals January 16, 2024
Proposals Due March 25, 2024
Decisions Announced April 18, 2024
Funding End Date April 30, 2025
Final Report Due

May 15, 2025

Proposal Submission Details

Funded projects must align with the goals and objectives of the Office of AdvanceRIT.

Special Interest Areas for the 2023AY cycle

AdvanceRIT has a particular interest in funding projects that support the following:

Special interest areas:

Proposals that support a group to create opportunities strengthen networks and build community with a sense of belonging for emerging scholars, particularly women faculty.

 The proposal should aim to: Develop discipline based and cross-disciplinary connections within and outside RIT

  • Develop peer-support and peer-mentoring groups focused on faculty career success and well-being
  • Build connections with potential faculty by engaging with potential doctoral/post-doc candidates in other institutions by giving talks in targeted institutions, engaging them in current research etc... 
  • Create communities of scholars- connecting emerging and established scholars within RIT or within disciplines
  • Support/enhance inclusion at the college level
  • Support/enhance retention or advancement of particular groups of faculty

Proposal Template: Complete the proposal template (link to the 2024 Proposal Template) and submit as a PDF file to connectgrant@rit.eduNOTE: Funding for faculty time in the form of course release, summer pay, and/or stipends are not allowable expenses. Please see additional information about allowable and non-allowable expenses in the budget area of the template. 

CV/Biosketch: The Principal Investigator must submit a CV or Biosketch with the proposal to While no specific format is required, a condensed version (2-3 page) is recommended, such as an NSF biosketch, which highlights research or activities related to the proposal. 

Letter(s) of Endorsement: For proposals submitted by faculty, email to a letter from the Department Head of the PI. For unit-level proposals, upload a letter from the college dean and from constituents/department members indicating department support for the proposed effort. Letters should concisely describe the potential impact of the proposed effort on the proposer and on their respective department, college, and the university.

Expectations of funded projects

  • Awardees shall be willing to disseminate project outcomes and experiences through participation in university-wide workshops, panel discussions, and presentations.
  • Awardees will attend a project initiation meeting with grant sponsors and other awardees.
  • Awardees must complete a final report summarizing activities and impacts. A final report (with unique identifiers removed) may be disseminated more broadly.
  • Before organizing any funded event or activities, all awardees must provide the AdvanceRIT office information about the event/activities (for example, workshops, networking events, faculty research, or teaching circles…), and after the event/activity, share pictures/videos of the event/activity. Awardees are encouraged to mention that the AdvanceRIT office funded the activity.

Direct questions to

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. The proposal needs to be related to the special interest area. Proposals that are aligned with the special interest area will be given first priority.

A review committee of faculty and administrators reads every proposal and provides feedback to the proposers. It is very common for revisions to be requested before proposals are finally approved. Download Grant Review Criteria

Yes, there is a page limit of four pages.  This page limit does not include references or the project logic model.  It does include all other required proposal elements, including the budget and budget justification.  Please see the Proposal Template for further information.


Proposals must align with the Special interest area for the academic year. Possible proposal projects could create research groups that support gender equity, efforts to support recruitment of a diverse faculty &/or to improve department climate for all faculty, support research collaboration projects that demonstrate potential for career success for the women faculty involved in the project; and programming for faculty groups of all genders that focus on research-based approaches for enhancing a sense of belonging and community building activities known to support diverse faculty, particularly women.

Proposal Examples

You can download the following proposals as samples. All have been provided with the permission of the authors. Please note, grant proposal guidelines have been revised over the years.

Building the Foundations for a Computational Materials - Research Nucleus at RIT

  • PI: Poornima Padmanabhan, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Chemical Engineering
  • Co-PI: Patricia Taboada-Serrano 

Mentorship for an Interdisciplinary Numerical and Experimental Investigation for Colloidal Transport within Evaporating Droplets under an Electric Field

  • PI: Kara Maki, College of Science, School of Mathematical Sciences
  • Co-PI: Michael Schertzer 

Green Informatics: Development of a Scholarly Collaboration for Robust & Resillent Building Management Systems

  • PI: Jennifer Schneider, Office of the Provost, Senior VP of Academic Affairs
  • Co-PIs: Yewande Abraham, Lisa Greenwood, Nana-Yaw Andoh, and Minh Pham 

Development of a Women in Liberal Arts Group

  • PI: M. Ann Howard, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Science, Technology, and Society
  • Co-PIs: Silvia Benso, Caroline Delong, Jessica Lieberman, and Corinna Schlombs 

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Mentoring Group

  • PI: Carol Romanowski, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, Department of Computer Science
  • Co-PIs: Sumita Mishra, Yin Pan, and Xumin Liu

Evaluation and Impact

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.

Individual impacts of the Connect Grants have been related to improving women’s work life, professional development, career advancement, and improving their working environment. In particular, Connect Grantees strengthened internal and external networks which led to career advancement, benefitted from mentoring relationships as mentors and mentees, built skills (including leadership skills) to support their professional development, increased their research autonomy and project visibility, increased their confidence in disseminating and being experts of their work, increased their value and influence, and supported the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in their field, through their grant projects.

Organizational impacts of the Connect Grants at RIT are related to refining institutional structures and installing practices to promote representation and advancement of women faculty. Some grantees worked to transform their institutional environment by strengthening community and raising internal awareness of their work, and also created new learning and leadership opportunities which helped to modify institutional policies, practices, and procedures.

(The above is an excerpt from the November 2019 Connect Grant Program Internal Evaluation conducted by Dr. Liz Litzler, Emily Affolter, and Lexie Maister, University of Washington Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity)  

Examples of Past Funded Efforts

  • Strengthen faculty’s professional visibility in national/international networks.
  • Utilize social resources to support the creation and expansion of networks among RIT faculty and within professional disciplines.
  • Support research proposal development or re-submission efforts for external funding.
  • Expand research and/or writing capabilities to enhance competitive proposal development and submissions.
  • Promote interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty internal and external to RIT which could include formal peer-to-peer reciprocal visits to mutual institutions.
  • Sponsor and coordinate a visiting scholar’s colloquium series.
  • Present research at national/regional conferences.
  • Specialized training to support scholarly collaborations.
  • Engage the assistance of an external career/leadership coach.
  • Unit-level efforts focused on recruiting and retaining exceptional faculty from broadly diverse backgrounds. 
  • Efforts designed to support organic efforts, organizational development, research to inform change or other self-identified areas of need.

Recipients by Year

Clarissa Street Augmented Reality Project; PI: Tamar Carroll, College of Liberal Arts; Co-PI: Susan Lakin, College of Art and Design

Deaf Hub: Empowering Deaf Women and BIPOC in Health Care and Biomedical Science; PI: Jess Cuculick, National Technical Institute for the Deaf; Co-PI's: Tiffany Panko, Mariam Paracha, Wendy Dannels, Jordan Wright,  and Jessica Contreras, National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Advancing Skin Tone Color Perception Research; PI: Susan Farnand, College of Science; Co-PI: Michael Murdoch, College of Science

Design Imagination: Making Medical and Access Technology from Pedagogy to Profession; PI: Jessica Hardin, College of Liberal Arts

Building the RIT Soft Matter Core: a new arena with significant presence of female researchers; PI: Shima Parsa , College of Science; Co-PI: Lishibanya Mohapatra, College of Science, Poornima Padmanabhan, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, and Moumita Das, College of Science

Amplifying Feedback Loop: Animated Advocacy of the Climate Crisis; PI: Vanessa Sweet, College of Art and Design; Co-PI: Dave Sluberski, College of Art and Design

Sultana’s Dream: A magical journey of a woman in outer space. Advance Production Immersion Live Action, VFX, 3D Animation, 3DDD

  • PI - Ambarien Alqadar, College of Art & Design
  • Co-PI's - Meghdad Asadilari and Atia Newman, College of Art & Design

Gender Studies (that) Matter in the 21st Century: Working Together via Faculty Conversations, Knowledge Integration, and Shared Expertise in View of Co-Imagining the Curriculum for the RIT Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Degree

  • PI - Silvia Benso, College of Liberal Arts
  • Co-PI - Sara Armengot, Tamar Carroll, Kijana Crawford, Nickesia Gordon, Chris Hinesley, Ammina Kothari, Laura Shackelford

Pre-tenure Female Peer-support Group in Mathematics

  • PI - Lucia Carichino, College of Science
  • Co-PI - Blessing Emerenini, Shahla Nasserasr

Mary Kelly: The Convergence of Activism and Art

  • PI -  Rebecca DeRoo, College of Liberal Arts

Connecting Women Faculty in Energy Area and Promoting Interdisciplinary Collaborations:

  • PI - Santosh Kurinec, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
  • Co-PI - Bing Yan, Katie McConky

Mentoring Faculty to Enhance their Professional Visibility Using Website Design and Social Media

  • PI - Dina Newman, College of Science
  • Co-PI - Rita Magalhaes

Virtual Reality at World Child Art Festival

  • PI - Susan Lakin, College of Art & Design

Advancing research Quantum Computing Architecture and Compilation

  • PI - Sonia Lopez-Alarcon, Kate Gleason College of Engineering

Networking Networks: Building the Foundations of a Social Networks Theory and Analysis Hub at RIT

  • PI - Joy Olabisi, Saunders College of Business
  • Co-PI - Duygu Akdevelioglu

Training in the Development of a Preventative Intervention for College Students with Trauma Histories who are at Risk for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

  • PI: Lindsay Schenkel, CLA
  • Co-PI: Suzanne Bamonto, CLA

Building a Sustainable Pipeline of Graduate Students for New PhD Programs

  • PI: Patricia Taboada-Serrano, KGCOE
  • Co-PIs: Obioma Uche and Poornima Padmanabhan, KGCOE

Mapping Trust: Examining decision making in a context of double burdens of chronic and communicable disease epidemics

  • PI: Jessica Hardin, CLA

Preliminary Data Generation Related to the Use of Polymeric Threads for Management of Lymphedema in Breast Cancer Patients

  • PI: Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard, KGCOE

Indigenous Industrial Design

  • PI: Mindy Magyar, CAD

Homecoming: A Web Series of Three Short Form Documentaries about Law Enforcement and Community Action in Upstate NY

  • PI: Ambarien Alqadar, CAD
  • Co-PI: Cathleen Ashworth, CAD

Automation and Artificial Intelligence in Newsrooms: A Comparative Analysis

  • PI: Ammina Kothari, CLA

Saunders Women Faculty Support Group

  • PI: Emi Moriuchi, SCB
  • Co-PIs: Sorim Chung, SCB; Archana Jain, SCB

Green Informatics: Development of a Scholarly Collaboration for Robust & Resilient Building Management Systems

  • PI: Jennifer Schneider, Eugene Fram Chair, Academic Affairs
  • Co-PIs: Yewande Abraham, CET; Lisa Greenwood, CET; Nana-Yaw Andoh, GIS; Minh Pham, COS

Developing Spatialized and Volumetric Audio in Virtual-Reality Storytelling

  • PI: Mari Jaye Blanchard, CAD

Building & Diversifying Color Science Research & Recruiting Networks

  • PI: Michael Murdoch, COS
  • Co-PIs: Susan Farnand, COS; Mark Fairchild, COS

Journal Development and Mentorship Project for the Launch for an Afrofuturism Journal Project

  • PI: Myrtle Jones, CAD

Building the Foundations for a Computational-Materials Research Nucleus at RIT

  • PI: Poornima Padmanabhan, KGCOE
  • Co-PI: Patricia Taboada-Serrano, KGCOE

My American Dream; a feature-length documentary film about undocumented immigrant cab drivers chasing the American Dream

  • PI: Ambarien Alqadar, CIAS

An Exploration of Biological and Cultural Paradigms Through the Use of Microbes in Printmaking

  • PI: Eileen Bushnell, CIAS
  • Co-PI: Jennifer Liedkie, CIAS

Development of Early Career Faculty by Taking Advantage of Resources at Collaborative Institution

  • PI: Anju Gupta, KGCOE
  • Co-PI: Geoffrey Bothun, KGCOE

Connecting Women in Emerging Technology Areas and Promoting Interdisciplinary Collaborations

  • PI: Santosh Kurinec, KGCOE

Building a Community of Scholars in the College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST)

  • PI: James Lee, CAST
  • Co-PI: Rebecca Sumner, CAST

Formal Evaluation of WISe

  • PI: Lea Vacca Michel, COS
  • Co-PI: Kara Maki, COS

Character Mosiac Project

  • PI: Newman, Atia, CIAS
  • Co-PI: Mark Reisch, CIAS

Writing Research in Teams for Evvectiveness (wRITe) Program

  • PI: ogilvie, dt, SCB
  • Co-PI: Crawford, Kijana, SCB

Establishing a Collaborative, Connected Faculty Network Focused on Engineering Education Best Practices

  • PI: O'Neil, Jennifer, CAST

Integrated & Collaborative Multi-Dimensional Support for Undergraduate Student Success & Wellness: Pilot Project

  • PI: Perry, Elizabeth, CHST

Increase Women Leadership in STEM and Entrepreneurship: Organize International Symposium on Global Women of Light and Present Invited Research Papers at International Conference

  • PI: Qiao, Jie, COS

Development of a New Scholarly Research Capacity Through Collaboration & Mentoring- Disaster Science: Management & Recovery

  • PI: Schneider, Jennifer, CAST
  • Co-PIs: Hirudayaraj, Malar; Kesgin, Muhammet; Lagiewski, Rick; Sparkman, Torrence E., CAST

Training on a School-Based Research Protocol for Substance Abuse Prevention Services for Children with Conduct Disorders

  • PI: Schenkel, Lindsay, CLA
  • Co-PIs: Bamonto, Suzanne, CLA; Houston, Rebecca, CLA

Effectiveness of a booklet-based intervention in enhancing faculty attitudes toward transgender students

  • PI: Smerbeck, A, CLA
  • Co-PI: Hinesley, C. Henry, CLA

Developing from Within: Creating Mindful Leaders and Mentors in the College of Science

  • PI: Wright, Leslie Kate, COS
  • Co-PIs: Tyler, Christy; Das, Moumita;  Franklin, Scott; Kartaltepe, Jeyhan; Sweet, Hyla;  Thomas, Julie, COS

International Collaboration: Understanding Trauma in Culturally Diverse Northern Nigeria

  • PI: Casey, Conerly, CLA

RIT Women's Research Colloquium Series presented by CREW

  • PI: Cass, Robin, CIAS
  • Co-PIs: Babbitt, Callie; Dell, Betsy; Kudithipudi, Dhireehsa; Ludi, Stephanie 

Charting a Course Towards Full Professor

  • PI: Decker, Adrienne, GCCIS

Salivary Testing Training: Extending RIT Faculty Expertise and Mentoring in Behavioral Science

  • PI: Godleski, Stephanie, CLA
  • Co-PI: Baschnagel, Joseph

Supporting Young Investigator's Career Advancement through Mentoring and Collaboration

  • PI: Gupta, Anju, KGCOE

Development of a Woman in Liberal Arts Group

  • PI: Howard, Ann M., CLA
  • Co-PIs: Benso, Silvia; Delong, Caroline; Lieberman, Jessica; Schlombs, Corinna

Health Information Technology Adoption and Usage in the Greater Rochester Area

  • PI: Liu, Manlu, SCB
  • Co-PIs: Bui, Quang; Hansen, Sean

Mentorship for an Interdisciplinary Numerical and Experimental Investigation for Colloidal Transport within Evaporating Droplets under an Electric Field

  • PI: Maki, Kara, COS
  • Co-PI: Schertzer, Michael

Mathematical Sciences Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Group on Advertising Student Researchers

  • PI: Munoz, Laura, COS
  • Co-PIs: Cahill, Nathan; Campanelli, Manuela

Development of Categorical Perception in Sign and Speech: Preliminary Investigations

  • PI: Prud'hommeaux, Emily, CLA
  • Co-PIs: Bochner, Joseph; Huenerfauth, Matt; Samar, Vince

WISe Distinguished Seminar Series

  • PI: Wright, Leslie Kate, COS
  • Co-PIs: Chakrabarti, Sukanya; Michel, Lea

Communication and Outreach through Mentored Media Engagement and Networking Teams

  • PI: Babbitt, Callie, GIS
  • Co-PIs: Hoffman, Matthew; Maki, Kara; Rocha, John-David    

Resilience in Countries in Transition: Connections among Resilience, Ethnic Identity, and Just-World Belief in Young Adults in Croatia and Kosovo

  • PI: Buhin, Larisa, CLA

Exploration of Techniques to Integrate Images and Functionality into Clothing through Classroom Environment

  • PI: Chang, Shu, CIAS
  • Co-PIs: Heusner, Christine; Schweppe, Marla    

Support Successful Research Proposal Development

  • PI: Ghoraani, Behnaz, KGCOE
  • Co-PI: Ptucha, Raymond        

Establishing competitive collaborations between nanotechnology and glaucoma through mentorship

  • PI: Lamkin-Kennard, Kathleen A., KGCOE
  • Co-PI: Michael Schrlau    

From WISE to WISE: Networking for Women in Science and Engineering

  • PI: Lopez-Alarcon, Sonia, KGCOE
  • Co-PIs: Kudithipudi, Dhireesha; Maki, Kara; Michel Lea    

Developing Case Studies to Further Scholarships Pertaining to Business and Design, Prepare Students for Changing Professional Landscape

  • PI: Magyar, Mindy, CIAS    

Promotion and Tenure Strategies for Minority Women Academics at RIT for Transformative Success (P&T SMARTS)

  • PI: ogilvie, dt, SCB
  • Co-PIs: Crawford, Kijana; Cummings, Twyla; Smith, Danielle; Thoms, Charlotte

Attendance at Ultrafast Optics 2015

  • PI: Qiao, Jie, COS                

Supporting Career Advancement through External Leadership Development

  • PI: Wang, Linwei, GCCIS

Empower Leadership of Women in Electrical Engineering

  • PI: Zhang, Jing, KGCOE
  • Co-PI: Kurinec, Santosh

Iroquois Creation Story Film and Animation Project

  • PI: Ashworth, Cathleen, CIAS
  • Co-PI: Quadri, Atia

Gendered Citation Studies in Philosophy of Science

  • PI: Brister, Evelyn, CLA    

Engineering Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Group

  • PI: Ghoraani, Behnaz, KGCOE    

Application of the Appreciative Inquiry Process in the College of Liberal Arts

  • PI: Howard, Ann M, CLA
  • Co-PIs: Blizzard, Deborah; DeLond, Caroline; Hermsen, Lisa; Schlombs, Corinna    

Women in Science (WISe) Networking and Leadership Initiatives

  • PI: Michel Vacca, Lea, COS
  • Co-PI: Maki, Kara 

Computing Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Group

  • PI: Romanowski, Carol, GCCIS
  • Co-PIs: Liu, Xumin; Mishra, Sumita; Pan, Yin    

Post-Tenure Mentoring

  • PI: Scanlon, Patrick, CLA     

Effective Mentoring and Leadership Skills for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Women Faculty at NTID/RIT

  • PI: Schlehofer, Deirdre, NTID
  • Co-PIs: Beiter, Karen; Ross, Annemarie D.; Kauppenin, Lisa




Title & Description


Vashti Anderson


College of Art and Design

Rebecca Houston

Elena Fedorovskaya

Networking and Faculty Development for Women in Neuroscience at RIT

College of Liberal Arts

Yuhan Huang

Bridging Literary Studies and Social Activism: Narrating Gender-based Violence and Resistance

College of Liberal Arts

Katrina Overby

Nickesia Gordon; Makini Beck

Sister Scholars Connect: Black Women Faculty and Graduate Student Writing Retreat

College of Liberal Arts

Amy Engelbrecht-Wiggans

Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard

Formation of a Collaborative Peer Mentored Fiber Testing Group

Kate Gleason College of Engineering

Makini Beck

Writing Our Lives in Ghana, West Africa

School of Individualized Study







Partnership Grants

The AdvanceRIT Partnership Grant provides funding to campus partners to support new activities which are closely aligned with the AdvanceRIT objectives and do not lend themselves to the Connect Grant structure or timing. 

Before submitting a full application, you are encouraged to contact the director of AdvanceRIT at and describe your project.  Please provide a brief description detailing the internal funding needed, a description of how the project meets one or more of the AdvanceRIT goals and the project’s broader institutional impact and an overall outline for the project.

View application