Several important accomplishments follow and we will continue to work on all of these and more in the next year of the grant. This listing was created using information from our latest External Evaluator Report (NOV 2016) and the External Advisory Board memo (dated OCT 2016). RIT has successfully accomplished the following while working in a collaborative manner across the university through faculty and administrative partnerships, all in support of the goal and objectives of the NSF funded AdvanceRIT effort. The team has focused intensely on their three strategic approaches: cultural change, career navigation, and research.

  1. Greater awareness of AdvanceRIT project and linkage with strategic goals of RIT.
  2. Greater integration of faculty and administrators on cross-functional teams build more transparency in the culture.  Efforts have been particularly productive in the last years of the grant. The Resource Allocation Committee (RAC), the Faculty Data Committee, and the Connect Grant proposal review committee have each followed this model, increasing communication, trust, knowledge, understanding and effective collaboration among different units across campus.
  3. Further development of unconscious bias education for RIT faculty focuses on intentional cultural shift.  Engaging faculty and academic administration in reflecting on the ways in which standard practices and policies contain unconscious bias can be challenging, but working with the CRLT Players from the University of Michigan is a proven, effective way to jump-start that process. An added bonus to this approach is the training the Players provide to RIT’s own growing Diversity Theater program.  The additional scheduling of more Allies & Advocates and Bystander Awareness Education evidences further efforts to shift the culture at RIT.
  4. Significant grassroots engagement in AdvanceRIT’s work over the past years has added positive and amplifying energy to the program, helping to demonstrate the ongoing necessity and value of the work, while engaging a wider group of RIT faculty. Examples include:
    1. The Advocates and Allies program has given voice to a number of male faculty who are engaged in training to support them in the transformation of departmental cultures and practices to promote a more equitable campus climate for women faculty.
    2. The Promotion Package Preparation (P3) group is a grassroots initiative intended to create greater transparency in the processes of promotion to full and to support expansion of key peer-mentoring networks.
  5. Policy and practice changes in support of managing work-life integration.  These include automatic tenure clock extension due to childbirth or adoption for pre-tenured faculty, extended parental leave and caregiver leave for faculty and staff, and the creation of a university level dual career assistance initiative to support faculty and their working spouses/partners upon hire.
  1. In terms of the institutionalization of project initiatives, some administrative functions have been transferred to standing entities including: the exit interviews, salary equity data reports, and most recently the Dual Career Assistance Program, now led by the Human Resources staff.
  2. Based on recipient feedback, the Connect Grant initiative, in its fourth round of awards with over 40 grants awarded to date for over $250K, is a valuable addition to the array of internal resources for faculty development. The supporting processes for this grant program have become even stronger with each round of funding. As RIT makes the transition to a more research intensive university, the opportunities provided by small, internal grant competitions appear to be quite welcome among faculty.
  3. The AdvanceRIT programming has had a positive effect on senior women in STEM, who appreciate the attention to networking and the changes in awareness of issues among the faculty and administration. The diffusion of information about unconscious bias has created more and more ‘pockets’ of active support for greater transparency, for attending to the needs of pre-tenured faculty, and for attention to data. With the appointment of several women deans, the Provost has an exciting opportunity to model the way cultural change can be facilitated, perhaps through a process of group training for the deans’ council itself, ensuring that the contributions of each voice are heard and acknowledged.
  4. Important faculty development and networking opportunities have grown from the project’s social science research strand.  Efforts focused on deaf and hard of hearing women faculty and faculty women of color, have each produced important insights about the particular needs of women faculty in these subgroups. NTID has picked up the work done by the team led by Professor Foster; the P & T SMARTS group initially led by Dean Flores and now led by Professors Crawford and ogilvie continues to offer opportunities to faculty of color. Both groups have added activities to which colleagues beyond the subgroups have been invited.
  5. AdvanceRIT has been a model of the organizational agility that is part of the university’s strategic plan as evidenced by the project’s nimble adaptation to changing circumstances. For example, the funds previously linked to the Connectivity Series are now provided to, and administered by, collaborating groups on campus to support events that contribute to the objectives of the Connectivity Series initiative. This adds to the broadened network of groups participating in AdvanceRIT-related activities.