2019-2020 Tiger Imprint Showcase

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) is pleased to share the 2019-2020 Tiger Imprint Showcase. It highlights the many accomplishments this academic year which support the mission and strategic plan of the university through the four dimensions of people, programs, places and partnerships. It also includes all national recognition we have received that affirms RIT’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.

The Division of Diversity & Inclusion (DDI)—supported by the RIT Board of Trustees Diversity Subcommittee, the RIT President and the President’s administrative team—works collaboratively to lead diversity and inclusion efforts that support RIT’s overall mission and strategic plan. DDI sponsored programs, initiatives and events impact students, faculty, staff and the community. Over 700 students from across the university, for example, participated in DDI sponsored initiatives during AY 2019-2020. The following includes some DDI highlights and achievements in AY 2019-2020.

National Recognition

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Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the sixth year in a row. This recognition is for successful efforts in campus diversity and inclusion. Universities are judged on the recruitment and retention of historically under-represented students, faculty and staff, improvements to campus climate and specific campus-wide commitments to diversity through programs, informal dialogues and resources.
Read more about the HEED Award

RIT is recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine as a 2019 Diversity Champion, one of the first colleges and universities in the nation to receive this designation, for the fifth year in a row. Diversity Champions exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels.
Read more about Diversity Champion

For the third year consecutive year, RIT was honored as an institution committed to diversity by Minority Access, Incorporated. Minority Access is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to increase diversity, decrease disparities and reduce incidents of environmental injustices. Every year the organization identifies exemplary colleges and universities who serve as an example for others.
Read more about Minority Access

RIT is listed as one of the “Top 200 Colleges for Native Americans” in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s Winds of Change magazine. This is the ninth year in a row for this prestigious honor. The Top 200 list identifies colleges and universities where American Indian students attend in significant numbers, and where the campus community, Native American programs, and academic support services enable high levels of success for American Indian students.
Read more about Winds of Change Award

Rochester Institute of Technology is ranked No. 115 in Forbes Magazine’s 2020 “America’s Best Employers for Diversity,” which also places RIT No. 13 among all U.S. colleges and universities.
Read more about Forbes ranking


Where Creativity Begins

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This year the Division of Diversity and Inclusion sponsored several multicultural programs for the RIT community. DDI helped host the 50th Anniversaries of both the Black Awareness Coordinating Committee (BACC) and the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP.) Highlights of other programs this year include: Native American Heritage Month with Mariah Gladstone, Hispanic Heritage Month with Julissa Calderon, Black Heritage Month with Adrian Miller, Let Freedom Ring with Nicole Doyley and RIT student Loryn Johnson and the 38th Annual Expressions of King’s Legacy with keynote speaker Joy-Ann Reid of MSNBC.
Read about BACC 50th Celebration
Read about Expressions of King's Legacy

The Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) served 150 students this year with an average fall 2019 GPA of 3.35. Forty six percent earned Dean’s List honors. 56 of them graduated. Fifty students completed Co-op programs, 13 conducted research and two students received three Community Impact Awards.

The 4th annual Celebration of Excellence highlighted division accomplishments and select individuals and organizations who advance diversity and inclusion efforts at RIT. This year’s virtual event also featured remarks by two graduating students.  
View our Celebration of Excellence

summer experience students

The division held its pre-collegiate summer program—the DDI Summer Experience—for sixty-incoming RIT freshmen who participated in a four-week sustained and immersive experience for diverse students entering RIT from various pathways, such as the Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholars program and the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).

The Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) serves 106 low income diverse students and 100% of the freshmen who started in the fall of 2019, continued their academic studies in the spring of 2020. A total of 29 students graduated, the most ever in a year. Over 47% of May graduates had jobs, internships, graduate school placement or secured positions in the Peace Corps before the end of the academic year.

Two people received the Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Faculty & Staff Pluralism Award. Professor Satish Kandlikar, Kate Gleason College of Engineering and Harold Fields, Director of the Center for Residence Life were honored. The award is named in honor of a man who led by example at RIT. It is given annually to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

In addition the following students are the recipients of the Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Pluralism Scholarship Awards. Amy Parr, Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Freshman Scholarship for 2020. Amy is an ASL Interpreting major at NTID. Patrick Edwards, Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Upperclassman Scholarship for 2020.  Patrick is a economics and applied statistics double major. Scholarships have been awarded to five students through the Frederick Douglass Scholarships established at RIT in 1982. They were chosen because of their leadership and dedication to diversity.
Read more about recipients

students in research labs

The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, currently serving 46 students, accepted 10 new students in spring 2020. LSAMP also saw three members participate in undergraduate research at RIT during the summer of 2019; witnessed four additional students completed research at RIT during the academic year; and supported six LSAMP students from Monroe Community College (MCC) who took part in the summer research experience at RIT in 2019. Two of the MCC students were accepted to RIT as transfer students for the 2019-2020 school year.

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The Division of Diversity and Inclusion Marketing and Communications team (MARCOM) published eight newsletters with a total of 49 articles this academic year. In addition, MARCOM debuted a new branded email feature, “Difference Makers” highlighting individual faculty and staff. In adapting to Covid-19 restrictions, MARCOM created an electronic keepsake book for graduating 2020 Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholars and created a virtual platform to acknowledge the 4th Celebration of Excellence program honoring students, faculty and staff who impact diversity and inclusion.

text on blue backgroundThe Multicultural Center for Academic Success (MCAS) engaged in several initiatives this year. MCAS partnered with Division of Student Affairs, Center for Counseling and Psychological Services to provide embedded counseling within the center in addition to other mental health programs. Dr. Odessa Despot and counselor Isabel Chandler led group counseling sessions called 'Real Talks' which moved to a virtual format on a weekly basis. Four more students were accepted into the RIT Honors Program and the MCAS Professional Development Conference, led by Division staff and partnering RIT units, was launched in the fall with over 40 students.

The RIT Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars) had five scholars participate in undergraduate research at RIT during the summer of 2019. During the academic year, seven additional students completed research at RIT. There are currently 35 students who plan to attend graduate school and this spring nine new students were accepted into the program.

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The Native American Future Stewards Program (FSP) committed to increasing the success rate and number of Native scholars in STEM along with other areas of need in Indian country. Served 21 AIAN students, RIT awarded a total of four degrees to AIAN students, three of which were in a STEM discipline. FSP hosted the annual Indigenous Peoples Day program, organized Native American Heritage Month featuring keynote speaker Mariah Gladstone., and helped create a campus-wide book club.

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The Office of Faculty Diversity and Recruitment (OFDR) hosted 12 scholars in the 16th annual Future Faculty Career Exploration Program. Two former FFCEP scholars were hired into faculty positions in the fall of 2019, one as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the College of Liberal Arts, and the other as an Assistant Professor in the College of Science. OFDR is viewed as a national leader in faculty diversity and recruitment. OFDR made good use of Facebook and twitter in recruitment efforts and unveiled the creation & launch of a smart-phone friendly, mobile platform for capturing prospective faculty information. OFDR and the Provost office awarded the College of Liberal Arts the Changing Hearts and Minds award for furthering RIT’s overall commitment to diversity among faculty ranks.

RIT Helps Diverse Prospective Faculty Across Country Prepare for Job Market
Changing Hearts and Minds Award

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DDI planned and coordinated the ninth annual Veterans Day Breakfast held November 11, 2019 in the Gordon Field House with the theme “Service after Service” and more than 400 people attending. Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter, a veteran, provided the keynote address. Two VUB participants received service awards. RIT is recognized annually by groups like U.S. News & World Report and Military Friendly as a welcoming place for veterans. 
Service After Service 

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Men of Color, Honor, and Ambition (MOCHA) welcomed 20 students from more than 50 applicants comprising the 7th cohort. Hear from some MOCHA graduates about their experiences.  
MOCHA: A Focus on Mentoring

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Women of Color, Honor, and Ambition (WOCHA) welcomed 15 women selected from more than 50 applicants who comprise the 5th cohort.
See their unique spring break experiences


Innovating Across the University

Diversity Education implemented eight new initiatives and programs to engage RIT employees and students. More than 1,000 employees participated in at least one opportunity. The most robust initiative-- the Cultural Humility Certificate Program—had more than 400 participants taking at least two of the six required workshops to receive a certificate. 
Learning to Let Go

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RIT Diversity Theater’s first film, "Brick by Brick" won Best Short Film at the San Diego Black Film Festival this year. It was also screened at the Pan African and National Film Festivals and the JOCUNDA Film and Music Festival. The film, produced by RIT students and alumni, is used in workshops to facilitate discussion to test assumptions and biases. Diversity Theater also conducted over 35 total workshops and learning opportunities for over 500 RIT faculty, staff, students and community partnerships this year.
Film accepted to two festivals

Diversity Theater continued its Playback Theatre Community Building Workshops with RIT College of Science (COS) students, faculty and staff. This is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence $1 million grant awarded in 2017 for 5 years. It focuses on Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry.


Facilitating Creativity

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Making our Space an Inclusive Community (MOSAIC Center) continues to be a “home away from home” for RIT students. It is an inviting space where members of student clubs like the Latin American Student Association, Organization of African Students and the Black Awareness Coordinating Committee meet. Faculty and staff host meetings as well. For the last five years, MOSAIC has hosted the Gray Matters discussion series where issues of importance and a variety of viewpoints are expressed in a safe space.


Extending Our Reach and Serving the World

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The Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholars (RCS) program welcomed 21 students into its 10th class of students. The comprehensive program is offered to qualified graduates of Rochester City Schools and approved charter schools who are admitted as freshmen to full time study at RIT. RCS currently supports 90 scholars and 78 students who have graduated since its inception. 

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William G. Clark was appointed the 28th Minett Professor for 2019-2020. Clark is the retired President and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester. The Minett professorship is designed to bring distinguished Rochester area multicultural professionals to RIT to share their expertise with students, faculty and staff for one academic year. 

Meet the New Minett Professor
Minett Professor Molding Young Minds

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The Capstone Project, a partnership between RIT and Rochester Prep High School, continues to help prepare students to become college ready through a variety of initiatives that include campus visits and working with RIT faculty on research projects. This year three student tutors were hired to assist. The 2020 Capstone Showcase allows students to present their finished work. At least seven new RPHS students have chosen to study at RIT in the fall of 2020.

The MCAS Professional Development Conference, led by Division staff and partnering RIT units, was launched in fall with over 40 students. This half day event featured wellness, academic success, and balancing personal and professional goals sessions.

Upward Bound Classic served 60 high school students from Greece Olympia and the Leadership for Young Men by providing academic support, tours of historically black colleges, and many cultural experiences. This year, 17 students took part in the Summer Program and also completed Dale Carnegie training. Upward Bound has 19 graduates who plan to attend college in the fall.

veterans at workshop

The Veterans Upward Bound Program (VUB) served 125 low income, first-generation military veterans with academic need, helping to prepare them for transition into postsecondary education. Fifty-seven percent completed the VUB program or were retained this year and 77% enrolled in post-secondary education programs. This year brought something new for VUB. It received a grant from Bank of America and partnered with the institution to provide a series of personal financial workshops for veterans.  
Getting Fiscally Fit