A Message from the Director of AdvanceRIT; Professor Betsy Dell
I am struggling to find the right words for the occasion as I step in to lead AdvanceRIT, in the midst of a national crisis and global pandemic. I understand that organizations like AdvanceRIT are not neutral players and our words need to be backed up by actions. The office issued a statement of solidarity with the Black community. We have included this statement in the newsletter and encourage everyone to use the resources to learn, reflect and take action.
AdvanceRIT continues to move forward with equity initiatives, but with modifications that will be necessitated by our current environment related to COVID-19 and as we more carefully consider and act against structural racism in higher education. AdvanceRIT seeks to increase the representation, retention, and career advancement of women faculty at RIT. I see the AdvanceRIT office as playing an instrumental role in enabling all faculty to contribute their full potential to the successful achievement of RIT’s mission and strategic plan. This would be accomplished through working to ensure RIT is a place where all faculty are supported, valued, and respected. AdvanceRIT will partner with affiliated groups, departments, and colleges to support their efforts to bring positive changes to the work environment. AdvanceRIT will continue to be instrumental in:
- Connecting and engaging women faculty in the RIT community
- Providing opportunities for professional and leadership development
- Providing resources and support for efforts that support faculty success
- Supporting efforts for recruiting a diverse faculty, critical for achieving excellence at RIT in scholarship, teaching, and service.
Targeted activities would focus on the three areas related to faculty success: recruitment, retention and advancement & leadership. These are meant to target current challenges while continuing impactful practices already part of the AdvanceRIT programmatic activities. As a preview of activities planned for the 2020 Academic year, AdvanceRIT will be leading a Teaching Circle on Success Strategies for Women Faculty, developing a women’s leadership development series and continuing the Advocates & Allies program. We are developing welcoming materials for faculty who are joining our RIT community, with attention paid to resources for faculty of color and Deaf and Hard of Hearing faculty.
With support from the Office of Academic Affairs, the role of Faculty Associate for Women Faculty and the Council for the Representation & Engagement of Women Faculty (CREW) have been integrated into the AdvanceRIT office. CREW consists of faculty representatives from every college and unit. AdvanceRIT will leverage CREW to serve as a university-wide faculty advisory board to AdvanceRIT. CREW is currently defining a list of equity concerns that are exacerbated by the COVID-19 disruption to raise awareness and provide suggested strategies for mitigating their impacts of these challenges. CREW was an instrumental part of the Family Leave Task Force and will continue to work on that effort.
I appreciate the thoughtful and impactful work that has been done by Margaret Bailey and the NSF AdvanceRIT team in setting the foundation for the office of AdvanceRIT. I look forward to working with you all on building an inclusive community at RIT.