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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer May 18, 2007

Graduate studies under watchful eye of new dean


Andrew Moore

When RIT announced in January that it would create a new deanship to oversee its growing graduate degree programs, Andrew Moore appeared to be logical choice if the university could keep him from running off to the farm.

Moore had just finished serving as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts for seven years. He transformed the college from primarily a supporting role for undergraduates into a college with a stronger identity on campus that now offers several diverse degree programs. Moore planned to return to teaching and further pursue his passion for archaeological digs that includes researching early farming in Croatia.

But the idea of strategically coordinating RIT’s growing graduate program was too good to pass up. This is familiar territory for Moore, who served as an associate dean in the Graduate School at Yale University from 1991 to 1999 before coming to RIT.

“The tremendous growth in graduate programs at RIT in the past few years, along with the projected future growth, is such that we need a person whose full-time responsibility is overseeing the myriad issues involved with graduate studies,” says Provost Stan McKenzie. “Andrew’s previous experience makes him the perfect person to inaugurate this position.”

The business of running graduate programs will still remain decentralized among RIT’s eight colleges, says Moore. “But RIT is maturing as a university at the graduate level and the new deanship will be an independent advocate for graduate students.”

RIT offered its first master’s degree in 1960 and its first doctorate in 1988. Today, RIT has about 2,400 graduate students in about 70 programs. Within the next 10 years, Moore would like to see this grow to 3,000 students and 100 programs. RIT is already growing at the doctoral level with color science this fall joining three other Ph.D. programs: imaging science (1988), microsystems (2002) and computing and information sciences (2005). Astrophysics is currently under RIT internal review and sustainability is in the design stage.

Moore points to RIT’s Strategic Plan (2005-2015) as his roadmap for a comprehensive and strategic approach for the recruitment of top quality graduate students. “RIT wants to continue to become a leading university of applied technology,” he says. “In order to do this, graduate programs should be based above all on building the research experience. Research must become an increasingly central theme of graduate education at RIT.”

Moore indicates one of his primary goals will be to build a stronger sense of community among graduate students. This will start with a formal orientation program in August and other special programming, including career workshops. “The personal and social needs of a graduate student are much different from an undergraduate,” he says.

The dean is also looking into new graduate student housing options on campus. He would like to see more full-time graduate students living on campus. About 50 percent of today’s graduate students are international, while the others include commuters from the Rochester area, and students from New York and other states. Moore would like to see RIT’s reputation grow at the graduate level to attract even more students from across the nation. He also plans to start an endowment to create fellowships for graduate students.

Moore, who officially began his new duties in March, has spent the spring meeting with the deans and program coordinators of each of the eight colleges to get their perspectives. By working in coordination, he is confident graduate education at RIT is positioned to make large strides in coming years.

“Graduate students will play a key role as RIT continues to move to a new level. Our students will meet global needs and will be a feeder to Rochester’s new economy and beyond,” Moore adds.

Bob Finnerty

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