The Kate Gleason College of Engineering earned recognition for its efforts to enhance diversity among the faculty ranks and further Rochester Institute of Technology’s overall commitment to diversity. The college received RIT’s 2018 Changing Hearts and Minds Award, sponsored annually by RIT’s Office of the Provost and the Office of Faculty Recruitment.
The award began 11 years ago to signify a college’s desire and ability to break through artificial barriers that prevent historically underrepresented faculty populations from gaining access and equity. It acknowledges their ability to move beyond regulatory compliance to develop, train, promote and model inclusive behavior by providing a welcoming environment. This year, 18 percent of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering’ faculty hires were from historically underrepresented populations.
“While the numbers are important, it is truly the relationship-building efforts that begin to change hearts and minds,” said Keith Jenkins, RIT’s vice president and associate provost for Diversity and Inclusion. “There have been several Kate Gleason College of Engineering faculty over the years who have championed the Office of Faculty Recruitment and its diversity hiring efforts, including Ed Brown, Marcos Esterman, Reggie Rogers and Margaret Bailey to name a few. They have served on a variety of task forces, led efforts on unconscious bias training, partnered with us on recruitment events at conferences, and always jump at a chance to help us out with our activities for the Future Faculty Career Exploration Program.”
Dean Doreen Edwards accepted the award on behalf of Kate Gleason College of Engineering at an event at Liberty Hill as part of the Future Faculty Career Exploration Program. The award includes $2,500 in funding to further advance the College’s underrepresented minority faculty recruitment and retention initiatives. Past awardees have used the funds to send faculty to diversity-focused conferences, provide start-up packages for female faculty members and facilitate college diversity and inclusion events.
“This award means a great deal to us because we work hard to ensure our college is as diverse and inclusive as possible,” said Edwards. “We aim to be agents of change to help the university achieve its diversity goals and to ensure that our faculty and student body are reflective of the overall population in the U.S.”