DDI Summer Experience for Incoming Students
This summer, two units of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion (DDI), the Multicultural Center for Academic Success (MCAS) and RIT’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) created a joint effort to offer 69 pre-freshmen the opportunity to live on campus and take college courses. We fondly refer to it as the DDI Summer Experience.
The DDI Summer Experience is a key factor in preparing first year students for a successful transition to college. They lived on campus, completed college courses, and interacted with RIT faculty/staff and upper-class student leaders. All students were enrolled in two credit-bearing classes: First Year Writing Seminar, and either Pre-Calculus or Intercultural Communications. Students also enjoyed various weekend activities, including an on-campus scavenger hunt and a professional development series featuring guest speakers from RIT and the Greater Rochester community.
DDI Summer Experience students were the first RIT Tigers to have lunch with President Munson who warmly welcomed them to RIT. DDI’s collaborative spirit is instrumental in helping incoming first year students get to know more students and community members prior to arriving for fall semester. The DDI Summer experience focused on learning and embodied the vital DDI principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, community, and its mission to collaborate. There were students from the Destler-Johnson Rochester City Scholars program (RCS), Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), Say Yes to Education, I’m First, Engineers of Color Creating Opportunity (ECCO), and WE@RIT, among other self-identified ALANA students.
“I was honored to meet our future “today”, through students who were woke, engaged, willing to learn and share,” said Dr. Keith B. Jenkins, Interim VP and Associate Provost for the Division of Diversity and Inclusion (DDI), who also taught the Intercultural Communication course. “They are dynamic students and what captured me was their willingness to become vulnerable to learn and influence not only RIT, but the world we live in.”
Throughout the summer, students met with professional staff for one-on-one coaching. In the fall, the coaching continues and students are encouraged to access various resources on campus that can help them meet the challenges of college life. Additionally, referrals are made to other Division student success programs and departments, such as CSTEP, I’m First, Native American Future Stewards Program, McNair Scholars, LSAMP, MOCHA and WOCHA.
“I am looking forward to interfacing with these students as they progress at RIT,” concluded Dr. Jenkins.
The DDI Summer Banquet, a formal event held in the Polessini Ice Arena, featured engaging remarks from Dr. Jenkins. President Emeritus Dr. Bill Destler and Dr. Rebecca Johnson were guests of honor and were acknowledged for their continuing support of our Division’s summer initiatives. The DDI Summer Experience is unique as it provides a sustained and immersive experience for incoming students, the majority of whom are first generation. This transformative experience serves to welcome historically underrepresented students to RIT and demonstrates the University’s testament and commitment to diversity and inclusion.