The Division of Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) is pleased to share the AY 2022-2023 Tiger Imprint Showcase. It highlights various 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 recognitions we have received that affirms RIT’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. DDI works collaboratively to lead diversity and inclusion efforts across the university.
RIT Action Plan for Race and Ethnicity
The RIT Action Plan for Race and Ethnicityhighlights RIT’s commitment to look at and "address systemic racial inequities and injustices" and to enhance a "sense of belonging" among students, staff, and faculty in various ways. Initiatives this year include: the inaugural Together RIT program October, 21, 2022 which brought together more than 300 participants from the RIT community to take part in conversations about race, ethnicity and racism. With more than two dozen sessions, students, staff, faculty and alumni were able to share their work, their ideas, and artistic projects. Out of the 151 surveys, 86% were satisfied with the experience. Sixty-six percent of them met a new colleague or student for the first time.
The RIT Action Plan for Race and Ethnicity Year One Score Card website was shared during the Together RIT event with information on updates regarding progress towards goals. In addition, a new initiative in the monthly DDI newsletter called “Advancing the Plan” invited RIT vice presidents and deans to provide updates on how their divisions and/or colleges are advancing the plan.
For its commitment to diversity & inclusion in AY 2022-2023, RIT was recognized nationally with the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award (9th time); named a 2022 Diversity Champion by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine (8th time); listed in the “Top 200 Colleges for NativeAmericans” in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s Winds of Change magazine (12th time).
RIT Scholarships & Awards
Transdigm made a scholarship pledge of $750,000 to DDI. The first and second five AALANA and/or female students received $10,000 scholarships each in Spring 2021 and 2022, respectively. The third five AALANA and/or female students received $10,000 scholarships each that will start in Fall 2023.
The Entegris Foundation STEM Student Support Fund – Scholarship pledge of $150,000 to DDI over 3 years. Scholarships awarded to two underrepresented students in STEM programs. The Sentinel Society has 25 members included in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion Fund as part of their pledge.
The prestigious Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Faculty & Staff Pluralism Awardsfor outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion were presented to Dr. André Hudson, dean of the College of Science and SandraWhitmore, senior director of operations in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. The Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Endowed Fundprovided two scholarships to freshman Jessica Shelton and upperclassman Cindy Lam. Frederick Douglass Scholarshipswere also awarded to four AALANA students: Aedan Frank, third-year game design development and psychology major, Tahaara Gazali, second-year biomedical sciences major, Cindy Lam, fourth-year physician assistant BS/MS major and Victoria Newson, first-year international studies major. All represent the attributes of Frederick Douglass (1817-1895). Finally, Dr. Keith Jenkins served as Guest of Honor, in collaboration with University Advancement, at Diversity Dialogue Dinners in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC, engaging 15 to 25 AALANA alumni and guests at each.
Read more about the Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Pluralism Award honorees below
This year the Division of Diversity and Inclusion led the campus-wide planning and execution of two RIT signature events in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The41st Expressions of King’s Legacy program featured Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and author of The 1619 Project Nikole Hannah-Jones who impacted select students via class, staff during lunch and the Greater Rochester community who were among the approximate 1,300 people in attendance as she was interviewed on stage by DDI Journalist in Residence Janet Lomax. One attendee said, “From the time we approached the parking lot to the moment we drove out everyone was pleasant and helpful.” Another attendee shared, “This event continues to be a signature event in the Rochester community! Don’t ever stop, youbring the best selection of speakers year after year. The entire program is filled with upliftment and memories of our culture and roots.” Two more highlights of the program included performances by the RIT Gospel Choir and a stunning spoken-word piece, written by RIT third-year student Daniel Aisogun, who also served as emcee.
The 6th Annual Let Freedom Ringprogram saw a large turnout of over 400 employees and students featuring keynote speaker Dr. Katrina Overby, assistant professor in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, with attendees rating the talk as above average or excellent. One attendee said, “Dr. Overby’s address was amazing! Inspiring, moving, and attention grabbing. The storytelling made it feel so much more personal.” About 93% of attendees said they would attend next year’s program.
DDI’s 7th Annual Celebration of Excellence was held in Ingle Auditorium with various awards presented to alumni, students, and employees. Student performances included Danell Francis, Yushi Club, Wadaiko and RIT Velocity. Dr. Keith Jenkins recognized Dr. Ellen Granberg and Belinda Bryce with the VP DDI award. The Beacon awards went to Dr. Makini Beck (faculty), James Entwistle (staff), DaTwan Dixon (alumni), Cindy Lam (student) and Abigail Reigner (student). MOCHA of the Year award was presented to Brandon Stoyanovich. ACA student awards were given to The Black Thought Collective, The Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, and lota Phi Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
TheCollegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP)serves 150 New York State resident students who will pursue careers or graduate education in STEM fields or licensed professions (such as Accounting, Law, or medical careers). CSTEP students attended workshops on funding graduate school, resume writing, undergraduate research, the graduate school application process, and more. Students took advantage of program funding to attend the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) conference, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Students, and otherprofessional development opportunities. In summer 2022, nine CSTEP students completed in-person research with RIT faculty. Eighteen additional students completed research with faculty during the academic year. In addition to research and travel funding, CSTEP students were also provided with one-on-one tutoring, funding for textbooks, and funding for graduate school entrance exams and exam preparation materials.
TheHigher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP),serving 104 low-income diverse students, secured additional funding of $111,969 from the NY State Education Department. HEOP enrolled 22 new freshmen from across NY State for the 2022-23 academic year; retained 94% of students who started in fall 2021; and graduated 23 students in 2023. HEOP’s six-year graduation rate for the 2016 cohort was 88.9%.
TheMulticultural Center for Academic Success (MCAS)staffed its office with six new hires since June 2022 and engaged in several initiatives this year including reinstituting Embedded Counseling with CaPS, hosting the DDI Dean’s List Celebration; offering the Frederick Douglass scholarship opportunity; reinitiating in-person the DDI Sumer Experience program, growing caseloads amidst reimagining MCAS’s coaching model; preparing the relaunch of the MCAS Scholars program; resuming DDI Tutoring’s services in-person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other highlights included a virtual half-day MCAS Professional Development Conference. We continue to be proud of our student leadership programs. Men of Color, Honor and Ambition (MOCHA) welcomed its 9th cohort.
Division of Diversity and Inclusion Summer Experience (DDISE) - Fifty-one incoming first-year RIT students participated in the 4-week residential DDI Summer Experience this year. Students were enrolled in two three-credit college courses and received individual coaching and attended evening study hours where tutors were available. Students completed an online non-credit course in Academic Strategies and participated in weekly social and community-building activities. 98% of DDI Summer Experience students were retained for fall semester.
TheLouis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Programprepares students for STEM related graduate degrees and careers. The program saw two members participate in the in-person undergraduate research at RIT during the summer of 2022. Three additional students completed research at RIT during the academic year. In addition to research, LSAMP provided textbook funding to students and travel funding to attend professional conferences. LSAMP has again been re-funded for the new grant cycle, beginning September 1, 2023.
DDI Marketing and Communications continues to reach populations at RIT and beyond as evidenced by the website (41,366 users with 93,360 page views), newsletter (Fall 2022, 6,171 views and Spring 2023, 3,500 views of newsletters through March), and Tiger Imprint Showcase “DDI Annual Report” (291 views) traffic. DDI MARCOM published nine DDI newsletters from September 2022-May 2023 that included a total of 59 articles. This year, the DDI newsletter received a prestigious honor: the “Not-for-Profit PRism Award for Newsletters” from the Rochester Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. The local chapter is among 116 chapters of PRSA, the world's largest organization for public relations professionals. DDI MARCOM also produced “Difference Makers” which weekly highlighted faculty and staff during Hispanic Heritage Month (3-Sept/Oct), Native American Heritage Month (3-Nov), Black Heritage Month (4-Feb), Women’s History Month (4-March) and Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (3-April); and published four advertorials in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, focusing on Dr. Robert Osgood (September 22), RIT Highlights/Statistics (October 22), Diversity Champion feature (November 22), and Saunders College of Business Ph.D. Story (April 23). DDI handled marketing and the overall program execution of major RIT signature events—Together RIT, Expressions of King’s Legacy, and Let Freedom Ring.
TheMcNair Scholars Programserves 46 students who plan to attend graduate school, including 14 new students accepted into the program in spring 2023. McNair had eight scholars participate in in-person undergraduate research with RIT faculty during the summer of 2022 and 12 additional students completed research at RIT during the academic year. In addition to funded research, McNair also provided textbook funding to students in the program and travel funding for students to visit graduate schools and present their research at professional conferences. Several McNair/LSAMP Scholars took part in a study abroad program offered through DDI and the School of Individualized Study.
TheNative American Future Stewards Program (FSP)served approximately 66 American Indian, Alaskan Native, First Nations, Native Hawaiian, and Indigenous students from Mexico, South America, and the Philippines this year with intentional programming and support meetings. RIT’s American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) chapter members attended the 2023 AISES Region 6 Conference in Buffalo, NY and AISES built new partnerships with local high schools that have high proportions of Native students. In conjunction with the Minett Emeritus Professor Perry Ground, RIT AISES, and the Native American Student Association, the Future Stewards Program implemented a variety of Indigenous focused events throughout the year for the RIT campus, including Indigenous Peoples Day Social Night, Understanding Tribal Energy Sovereignty, Frybread N’ Friends, Stories from the People of the Longhouse, Origins of American Indian Sign Language with Mariah Gladstone, Commemorating Canandaigua Treaty Day, The Skye Woman Project, Native Made Market and a visit from Miss Navajo Nation ambassador of the Diné people. During the Covid 19 Pandemic, Indian Country was devastated by the loss of many Native speakers. FSP Director Kendall Scott has partnered with Dr. Sara Armengot, Department Chair, Department of Modern Language and Culture, to create the Indigenous language and culture education, preservation, and revitalization project. FSP Director Kendall Scott has made connections with Ja:no’s Bowen, Director of the Seneca Language Program on the CattaraugusTerritory and Dr. Joe Stahlman, Director of the Onöhsagwë:de’ Cultural Center to better understand how RIT can be an ally in preserving Onöndowa’ga language and culture. We also want to celebrate FSP student excellence, Sherry Sneezer of the Navajo Nation, is the recipient of the 2023 RIT Outstanding Graduate Achievement Award. Abigail Reigner of the Comanche Nation is the recipient of the 2022-2023 Division of Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) Student Beacon Award. Tobias Keohokapu represented RIT and FSP at the 2023 AISES in Canada National Gathering Conference where he presented his physics research.
TheNTID Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI)continues to support the NTID BIPOC community through programs and events including the Johnnie “JB” Brown Black History Month Potluck Luncheon Celebration as well as hosting a showing of the movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. ODI hosted a two-part Antiracist Curriculum Development 2.0 workshop facilitated by Nancy Ares for 10 faculty members. The NTID Faculty Fellowship (NFF) has expanded the number of fellows from 6 to 12 and brought in three new faculty mentors. The ODI has partnered with several community organizations such as 540WMain and the Police Accountability Board to provide DEI workshops. ODI is currently renovating a space in the Student Development Center of LBJ that will become a safe space for NTID’s faculty and staff, an initiative proposed by the NTID Diversity Group to create belonging in NTID. The safe space is expected to open in August 2023. ODI is currently hiring for ALANA Staff Retention Specialist and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Coordinator positions. The NTID Antiracism and Social Justice Plan continues to be a top priority with targeted goals completed.
TheOffice of Faculty Diversity and Recruitment (OFDR) hosted 14 scholars and artists during its 19th annual Future Faculty Career Exploration Program (FFCEP). The office continued its Pathways to RIT program, this year engaging the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and registering 100 engineering scholars for the program and Dean Edwards hosting with numerous faculty representing all six of their departments. The OFDR scholar database enjoys a pipeline of over 1200 historically underrepresented scholars and artists. OFDR travel to conferences to meet with scholars and artists included presenting “Making the Move from Grad Student to Professor” sessions at the Howard, Hampton, and Morgan State Universities Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate; Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference; the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Ed.; participating on a panel discussing “Demystifying Faculty Diversity” as part of the Florida Education Fund’s McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program. Additionally, the office staffed exhibit tables at the previously mentioned conferences, as well at the SREB Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, and the National Society for Black Engineers annual conferences. Finally, OFDR efforts drew national attention by beingfeatured in thebook We’re not OK – Black Faculty Experiences and Higher Education Strategies as a Program with Promise, and with Dr. Donathan Brown contributing to a US News and World Reports article, “Consider Faculty Diversity When Applying to College.”
Diversity Educationcontinued to offer and expand on initiatives and programs to engage RIT employees and students. Stella Lee, assistant director of Diversity Education, offered two student workshops, Unconscious Bias and Let Me Be Me and facilitated trainings for Student Government, Greek Life and RAs. She also partnered with CLCE via the Into the Roc program, which took students into the Greater Rochester community to explore Asian cuisine, experience African American culture though a musical at Geva Theater and to learn about the local ethnic press archives at the science museum. Taj Smith, director of Diversity Education, continued to gain ground on his 5-year employee diversity education participation goal of 65% for faculty and staff. Overall, 2,325 employees or approximately 62% of RIT employees have engaged in diversity education programming the past four years (based on the total employee count in the inaugural year). This year alone, 394 employees started the Cultural Humility Certificate process. Diversity Education also spent this past year designing the required Diversity Education module for all employees, first-year students, transfer, and graduate students. The module will be rolled out in the fall.
Diversity Theater’s Brick Film & Workshop: Building Bridges of Understanding, One Brick at a time, for RIT 365, continued to be a strategic offering for the Division of Student Affairs in advancing community building and diversity education for all new freshmen. Of the 2,169 student survey participants (99% response rate for the 2190 student participants), most of the students agreed the class experience helped them achieve a greater understanding of the viewpoints and experiences of others, 83.77%, and students agreed the experience was an effective approach for community building, 82.48%. This year the workshop introduced Diversity Theater’s latest film, DEAR ELEANOR. The film continues to receive high recognition. It was nominated for two awards by the Diversity in Cannes Film Showcase 2023 for Best Editing (RIT SOFA MFA alum Fraaz Kahn, editor) and won Best Score (Max Di Carlo, composer and an RIT community partner).
Diversity Theater continued to be a strategic partner with RIT academic and business units, including Community Building Film and Workshop with Playback Theatre presented with Computer Science for the AI retreat for Ph.D. students; annual staff retreats for the Wellness Department, DDI, and the Division of Student Affairs; customized vignettes to model inclusive practices for the College of Science search committees; designing and delivering workshops for COS search committees that engaged faculty in case study scenarios with role-play exercises to increase inclusive committee practices; and partnering with the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs to develop and deliver our annual professional development workshop, “Effective Communications: Difficult Conversations and Conflict Resolution,” for new department chairs and school heads.
MOSAIC is also used by student clubs like the Latin American Student Association, Organization of African Students and the Black Awareness Coordinating Committee, along with faculty and staff for meetings. If you would like to reserve the space, go to reserve.rit.edu
TheMinett Professorshipis designed to bring distinguished Rochester-area multicultural professionals to RIT to share their professional knowledge and experience with students, faculty, and staff for one academic year. We welcomed T. Andrew Brown, Esq., Managing Partner, and Brown Hutchinson LLP as the 2022-23 RIT Minett Professor. Andrew enjoyed his time meeting with students, giving talks and lectures in political science, public administration, and law classes. The Minett Professors Endowed Fund has commitments of $112,300 with $89,000 received to date.
Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholarswelcomed 22 students into the 13th cohort. The program, founded over ten years ago by former RIT President Bill Destler and his wife Dr. Rebecca Johnson, provides tuition and academic support to students in the Rochester City School District, charter schools and a new initiative now includes students in the Urban-Suburban Program. Since its inception, more than 100 Rochester City Scholars have graduated from RIT. RCS Scholars whowish to pursue advanced degrees receive support thanks tothe Mark and Maureen Davitt Graduate Education EndowedScholarship.
Upward Bound Classic served 32 students at University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men with academic coaching, tutoring, and cultural experiences throughout the current academic year. Upward Bound staff facilitated or co-facilitated workshops in the areas of financial literacy, mental health, SAT/ACT prep, and more! Social and cultural programming events exposed students to a variety of experiences within the Rochester community including college tours, and enrichment activities. Congrats to the 5 seniors who graduated in June 2023!
In summation, RIT believes in transparency in its ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. TheRIT Community Diversity Dashboard was developed through a joint collaboration of Institutional Research, Data & Analytics, Human Resources, and the Division of Diversity & Inclusion. The dashboard is open to the RIT community and capable of displaying both institutional level diversity data and the diversity of individual colleges and divisions. It provides a snapshot of institutional demographics, highlighting RIT’s diverse populations and welcomes visitors to explore recent trends related to race, ethnicity, and gender diversity, starting with the Diversity Index.