RIT’s online degree programs ranked among nation’s best in 2020

two female students in graduation robes smiling and holding caps in the air.

Rochester Institute of Technology has been recognized for offering some of the best online programs in the nation.

The 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings, released today, featured RIT on its lists for business, computing, engineering and undergraduate online education. RIT ranked:

RIT also ranked on the list for “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” as well as “Best Online Business Programs” for non-MBA graduate programs offered by Saunders College of Business.

“I am delighted that U.S. News and World Report is recognizing RIT’s online programs,” said Ellen Granberg, RIT’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Whether a student logs on in the U.S. or overseas, they can have access to a world-class education from RIT’s outstanding faculty. Our innovative programs not only prepare students for today’s competitive workplace, but for the challenges they’ll face tomorrow as well.”

U.S. News updated the methodology this year to give credit to schools that provide online help with course registration, admissions counseling and building a résumé. Ultimately, the rankings measure whether online degree programs have academic standards equal with quality brick-and-mortar programs and are properly adapted toward the unique pedagogy of distance education.

The rankings are based on data collected from the nation’s colleges and universities, which are then weighted by certain criteria, including engagement, expert opinion, faculty credentials and training, student excellence, and student services and technologies. Altogether, 1,600 online degree programs are cataloged in the U.S. News searchable directory—an all-time high.

While these rankings only pertain to full degree programs, RIT also offers a wide variety of online education opportunities designed around industry standards, employer demand and the perspectives of our global network through RIT Online.

For more information about earning a degree through RIT Online, go to RIT’s Online and Professional Education webpage.

The full rankings are available online at the U.S. News Best Online Programs Rankings website.

RIT/NTID alumna Wendy Maruyama to be featured on PBS series

Light skinned female with salt/pepper hair wearing red rimmed glasses and wine-color top.

Craft in America: IDENTITY profiles artists who explore issues of gender, race, culture and place, offering true expressions of their experience in this world.

The documentary profiles Japanese American artist/educator and RIT/NTID alumna Wendy Maruyama who has become one of our country's most important and accomplished furniture makers.

IDENTITY premiers on PBS on Friday December 27th, along with the QUILTS episode. All episodes of Craft in America can be watched on www.craftinamerica.org and pbs.org/craft-in-america/home/

Previews:

https://www.craftinamerica.org/short/wendy-maruyama-on-the-wildlife-project

https://www.craftinamerica.org/short/identity-2-min-preview

https://www.craftinamerica.org/short/quilts-2-min-preview

RIT Esports wins Hearthstone Collegiate Championship

Three males students wearing orange and black t-shirts with white stripes and black pants raise first-place trophy.

Students from RIT Esports bested more than 300 teams from across North America to win the 2019 Hearthstone Collegiate Championship Fall Finals on Dec. 14. The RIT student team took home the top trophy and $6,000 in scholarships for playing the digital card game Hearthstone. The live event brought together the final four teams in the tournament to play on stage at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., and streamed online on Twitch.

RIT has been a pioneer in the field of video game design and development, and offers both a bachelor's and master's degree. The university has been ranked one of the top schools in the world to study video game design for the past five years, according to international rankings from The Princeton Review. More.

Macie the therapy dog visits Wallace Library today; featured in student film ‘Mike & Macie’

Very good doggie surrounded by students petting her, with owner/trainer sitting behind her.

Ten minutes spent petting a dog can make a world of difference to a stressed-out college student—especially during finals week.

To help students relax, Wallace Library is hosting a therapy-dog event from 3 to 4:30 p.m. today on the first floor. The event is part of the library’s weeklong Destress Fest and a continuation of a monthly offering that many students enjoy. One student even made therapy dog Macie and her handler, RIT retiree Michael Servé ’71 (business administration), ’76 MBA, the subject of a documentary that will be shown this week in the MAGIC Center’s Wegmans Theater.

“The students get excited when they hear another event is coming up,” said Sara Kuehl, manager of marketing and communications at RIT Libraries. “I think therapy dogs are becoming more common on college campuses, particularly with academic libraries.”

A 2018 study in Stress and Health, by University of British Columbia researchers, investigated the impact of therapy dog sessions on college campuses and found a measurable short-term impact on student wellbeing. Participants reported reduction in stress and negative feelings.

“Wallace Library is open the most hours of any academic building on campus, and we see students spending long hours here,” Kuehl said. “Particularly as we get to finals week, you can feel the stress from the students. It’s palpable as you’re walking through the building. We created Destress Fest three years ago to help students relieve some stress without having to leave the library, encouraging them to take study breaks and practice some self-care.”

Victoria Sebastian, a third-year film and animation major from the Pittsburg area, makes a priority of visiting therapy dogs at the library. She misses her German shepherd/poodle puppy Bear and likes the chance to “chill with a dog.” She’s not the only one.

Kuehl anticipates a crowd of students to form around the therapy dogs this afternoon. Typically, 200 to 300 students attend the monthly sessions with three dogs and their handlers, she said. Kuehl first invited handlers to bring their dogs to Wallace Library about three years ago and was amazed when nearly 400 students showed up eager to pet the three dogs.

“After we saw the overwhelming reaction—we decided this was something we should definitely continue,” Kuehl said. “We’ve been hosting therapy dogs monthly for the past year and a half, and there is always a good turnout.”

Kuehl reached out to Servé about bringing therapy dogs to Wallace Library. Servé, former assistant vice president for finance for NTID, retired from RIT in 2014 after 34 years of service. He has coordinated RIT-approved therapy-dog events on campus for nearly a decade. In 2011, he and his wife, Barbara Servé ’71 (retail), started bringing their late golden doodles, Toby and Tucker, to campus for NTID students. When word spread that Servé was organizing these events, he was asked to create the Bow Wow Wellness program for the university. (The next Bow Wow Wellness event will be held 4 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Student Alumni Union’s Fireside Lounge.)

Servé networks with the local group of volunteers affiliated with Therapy Dogs International to bring six to eight dog/handler teams to Bow Wow Wellness in the Fireside Lounge. The smaller space in the library is suitable for two to three dogs, he said, and his standard poodle Macie is a regular attendee.

“In an hour and half, the students just gravitate to the dogs. It’s a very satisfying thing,” Servé said. “The students want to talk about their dog at home that they miss so much. They want to know about Macie, they want to know how she was trained, and basically, they just want to hug the dog.”

The love is reciprocal.

“I think the work is good stimulus for the dog,” Servé said. “There is no sign of stress and she does it on back-to-back days and she’s fine. She’s been doing this work for so long; she knows what’s going on and is ready for it.”

Film student Sebastian had her own questions about what it takes to prepare a dog for pet therapy and made it the focus of a class project this fall for her documentary workshop.

“I wanted to focus on one person and their therapy dog to see all the work that they do and to thank them,” Sebastian said.

Kuehl connected her with Servé, and the project took shape.

Sebastian’s six-minute film, Mike & Macie, is a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a busy therapy dog and can be viewed on SOFAtube and on Sebastian’s YouTube channel.

“I learned there is a huge demand for therapy dogs,” Sebastian said. “Mike and Macie could do events every single day.”

Schools, colleges and hospitals are eager for therapy dog teams to visit, Servé said. He clarified that pet therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs for the blind or hard of hearing. “It’s a much lower bar that they pass.”

Nevertheless, Macie had to complete a six-week training course and pass a test to earn her certification through Therapy Dogs International. Macie had to demonstrate her ability to get along with multiple dogs, behave well in crowds and maintain her naturally calm disposition. She also had to prove her ability to resist food dropped on the floor. Macie’s training could save her life if the piece of food was actually medicine or another potentially dangerous object.

Sebastian and her cinematographer, Brandon Granby, a third-year film and animation major, interviewed Servé at his home. Macie was shy at first when she saw the foreign lighting equipment in her home, and Sebastian waited for her to warm up to the small crew and their gear.

“Victoria came to my house twice and filmed the dog in her home environment, proving that Macie may be a therapy dog, but No. 1 she’s a family dog, too,” Servé said. “And the dog performed. They filmed us getting the dog ready in the morning to go out on therapy-dog visits and the dog running in the back yard.”

Sebastian shadowed Servé and Macie at Wallace Library and at the Lois E. Bird/Morgan School in East Rochester, where twice weekly they visit children with special needs. Sebastian used the film to ask both sets of students what they think about having the dog come to their school.

“Macie is very calming, so they can take a break from what they’re doing, and laugh and smile for a while,” Sebastian said about the RIT students. “A lot of the younger kids said that it’s fun to have a dog, and when they walk in the room they know it’s going to be a good time.”

Producing the film has inspired Sebastian to explore therapy dog training in the future with her own puppy. For now, she will take advantage of the therapy-dogs on campus.

Servé and Macie will be back at Wallace Library from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 29 to provide comfort for students in need of dog time. Kuehl is happy the library can provide students a safe place to center themselves.

“Students leave smiling and you can almost see their shoulders relax,” Kuehl said. “It’s really great to see the positive impact therapy dogs have on the students.”

Victoria Sebastian’s tips for working with dogs

“You have to be ready for anything. It’s very spontaneous. You can’t predict what an animal is going to do. You can’t predict the reactions you’re going to get from students. It’s very on-your-feet to make sure you’re getting more than you need. The animal takes the lead. And you must get a lot of the shots that convey meaning visually. Because although with people they can explain things to you, but with dogs you have to show it instead.”

RIT gifted 177-acre estate to expand research, educational offerings

Aerial view of large cabin and grounds surrounded by water.

Rochester Institute of Technology will use a substantial gift of real estate in Penfield to expand the university’s research and educational offerings in ecology, agriculture, sustainability and other fields.

Amy Leenhouts Tait and Robert C. Tait, Rochester natives and highly successful real estate entrepreneurs, have gifted to the university their 177-acre property, which includes a 60-acre lake and a private mile of Irondequoit Creek adjacent to Ellison Park. The site, home of a former Dolomite sand quarry, will be dedicated as the Tait Preserve of RIT.

“With this generous donation, the Tait family is providing RIT a transformative opportunity to expand our experiential education and research opportunities in many of our programs,” said RIT President David Munson. “The Tait Preserve of RIT will provide nearly endless possibilities for RIT and the broader community. We are deeply grateful to the Taits for their magnificent gift and commitment to this university and the Finger Lakes region.”

Over the past four years, the Taits have worked to clean up the abandoned industrial site and restore its natural beauty, constructing a 5,000-square-foot luxury lodge amidst its wooded hills and open meadows. The Leenhouts Lodge, named in honor of the Leenhouts family members, has geothermal heating and air conditioning, a chef’s kitchen, a massive stone fireplace and an open concept interior with huge sections of glass walls that mechanically open to the outdoor patios, firepit and view of the lake and surrounding hillsides.

“Bob and I are delighted that this property, which has special meaning to our family, will be loved and enjoyed for generations to come under the responsible stewardship of RIT,” Amy Tait said. “We are so inspired by RIT’s vision, which will benefit its constituents, the Penfield community, the broader region and potentially even the planet.”

The Tait Preserve of RIT is located 25 minutes from the RIT’s Henrietta campus and 10 minutes from downtown Rochester. Given its convenient location, RIT expects to use the facility for a wide variety of education, research and conservation activities including:

  • Environmental education and research, incorporating K-12 programming
  • Agriculture and aquaculture research and education, including sustainable agriculture and community engagement
  • Conservation, sustainability and urban ecology research and training
  • Events and hospitality community functions
  • Youth recreation

“With the Tait Preserve’s close proximity to downtown, we also see this as an opportunity to offer the City of Rochester’s K-12 students unique experiences they would not otherwise have access to,” said James Watters, RIT senior vice president for Finance and Administration and treasurer. “The Leenhouts Lodge will provide a first-class event center where we can engage the RIT and Rochester communities in ways that fascinate and inspire.”

RIT says it is committed to preserving and protecting the ecosystem and only anticipates adding infrastructure as required to maximize the site’s potential. Portions of the land have been earmarked for agricultural research and education to develop farming practices that benefit both the land and community.

 “The Tait Preserve’s local field sites will be highly advantageous for our environmental science and biology programs,” said Sophia Maggelakis, dean of RIT’s College of Science. “Exclusive and protected access to the property is particularly valuable, as it will give access of the available field sites to our faculty and undergraduate and graduate students to work on research projects in a number of areas such as ecology, agricultural biotechnology, wildlife management, plant biology, wetland biogeochemistry and geographic information systems, just to name a few.”

The Taits are longstanding business and community leaders. Bob and Amy Tait, together with Norman Leenhouts, co-founded Broadstone Real Estate in 2006, following their leadership roles at Home Properties. Their involvement with real estate and their demonstrated support of the community is modeled, in part, after Amy’s parents, Norman and Arlene Leenhouts, and Norman’s twin brother, Nelson Leenhouts, founders of Home Properties.

This is the second major gift the Taits have made to RIT. The former Rochester Savings Bank building, located at 40 Franklin St., was donated to RIT in 2012 by Amy and Robert Tait through Rochester Historic Ventures. The building, now called the RIT Downtown Center for Entrepreneurship, is home to RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, which provides business, mentoring and consulting services targeting new urban entrepreneurs or individuals who have an existing business or are hoping to launch a new business within the City of Rochester.

RIT is in the midst of “Transforming RIT: The Campaign for Greatness” which aims to raise $1 billion to fund the university’s future by attracting exceptional talent, enhancing the student experience, improving the world through research and discovery and leading future special initiatives. With this gift, the Campaign has now secured nearly $665 million in gifts, research grants and other support.

Rochester Institute of Technology will use a substantial gift of real estate in Penfield to expand the university’s research and educational offerings in ecology, agriculture, sustainability and other fields.

Amy Leenhouts Tait and Robert C. Tait, Rochester natives and highly successful real estate entrepreneurs, have gifted to the university their 177-acre property, which includes a 60-acre lake and a private mile of Irondequoit Creek adjacent to Ellison Park. The site, home of a former Dolomite sand quarry, will be dedicated as the Tait Preserve of RIT.

“With this generous donation, the Tait family is providing RIT a transformative opportunity to expand our experiential education and research opportunities in many of our programs,” said RIT President David Munson. “The Tait Preserve of RIT will provide nearly endless possibilities for RIT and the broader community. We are deeply grateful to the Taits for their magnificent gift and commitment to this university and the Finger Lakes region.”

Over the past four years, the Taits have worked to clean up the abandoned industrial site and restore its natural beauty, constructing a 5,000-square-foot luxury lodge amidst its wooded hills and open meadows. The Leenhouts Lodge, named in honor of the Leenhouts family members, has geothermal heating and air conditioning, a chef’s kitchen, a massive stone fireplace and an open concept interior with huge sections of glass walls that mechanically open to the outdoor patios, firepit and view of the lake and surrounding hillsides.

“Bob and I are delighted that this property, which has special meaning to our family, will be loved and enjoyed for generations to come under the responsible stewardship of RIT,” Amy Tait said. “We are so inspired by RIT’s vision, which will benefit its constituents, the Penfield community, the broader region and potentially even the planet.”

The Tait Preserve of RIT is located 25 minutes from the RIT’s Henrietta campus and 10 minutes from downtown Rochester. Given its convenient location, RIT expects to use the facility for a wide variety of education, research and conservation activities including:

  • Environmental education and research, incorporating K-12 programming
  • Agriculture and aquaculture research and education, including sustainable agriculture and community engagement
  • Conservation, sustainability and urban ecology research and training
  • Events and hospitality community functions
  • Youth recreation

“With the Tait Preserve’s close proximity to downtown, we also see this as an opportunity to offer the City of Rochester’s K-12 students unique experiences they would not otherwise have access to,” said James Watters, RIT senior vice president for Finance and Administration and treasurer. “The Leenhouts Lodge will provide a first-class event center where we can engage the RIT and Rochester communities in ways that fascinate and inspire.”

RIT says it is committed to preserving and protecting the ecosystem and only anticipates adding infrastructure as required to maximize the site’s potential. Portions of the land have been earmarked for agricultural research and education to develop farming practices that benefit both the land and community.

 “The Tait Preserve’s local field sites will be highly advantageous for our environmental science and biology programs,” said Sophia Maggelakis, dean of RIT’s College of Science. “Exclusive and protected access to the property is particularly valuable, as it will give access of the available field sites to our faculty and undergraduate and graduate students to work on research projects in a number of areas such as ecology, agricultural biotechnology, wildlife management, plant biology, wetland biogeochemistry and geographic information systems, just to name a few.”

The Taits are longstanding business and community leaders. Bob and Amy Tait, together with Norman Leenhouts, co-founded Broadstone Real Estate in 2006, following their leadership roles at Home Properties. Their involvement with real estate and their demonstrated support of the community is modeled, in part, after Amy’s parents, Norman and Arlene Leenhouts, and Norman’s twin brother, Nelson Leenhouts, founders of Home Properties.

This is the second major gift the Taits have made to RIT. The former Rochester Savings Bank building, located at 40 Franklin St., was donated to RIT in 2012 by Amy and Robert Tait through Rochester Historic Ventures. The building, now called the RIT Downtown Center for Entrepreneurship, is home to RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, which provides business, mentoring and consulting services targeting new urban entrepreneurs or individuals who have an existing business or are hoping to launch a new business within the City of Rochester.

RIT is in the midst of “Transforming RIT: The Campaign for Greatness” which aims to raise $1 billion to fund the university’s future by attracting exceptional talent, enhancing the student experience, improving the world through research and discovery and leading future special initiatives. With this gift, the Campaign has now secured nearly $665 million in gifts, research grants and other support.

 

RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf signs MOU with Beijing Union University

Two men and a woman sit at a table signing papers.

Administrators from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and a delegation from Beijing Union University in China signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony Nov. 22, establishing a cultural and educational partnership between the two institutions.  

The Memorandum of Understanding will establish student and faculty exchange programs and short- and long-term teaching, learning, research, innovation, discovery and global outreach missions. The colleges also are exploring the feasibility of developing a center of excellence in deaf education with a focus on English language instruction, American Sign Language instruction, postsecondary preparation, access technology and related research.

Beijing Union University, established in 1985, is a comprehensive university attached to Beijing Municipality. Over the past 40 years, the university has become one of the largest universities in Beijing and focuses on undergraduate education while promoting coordinated development of postgraduate education, higher vocational education, continued education and international education. The Special Education College of Beijing Union University, established in 2000, is the first school offering inclusive education to disabled and non-disabled students in China.

Participating in the signing ceremony were Teng Xiangdong, professor and dean of the Special Education College at Beijing Union University; James Myers, associate provost, RIT Global Education; and Gerry Buckley, NTID president and dean.

NTID has set up or reinvigorated partnerships with four universities in the past two years. In addition to PEN-International and Pre-College Education Network (P-CEN) Program partners, NTID has more than 14 institution partners throughout the world, including partnerships with De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Philippines; Tianjin University of Technology, China; Changchun University, China; and University of Rwanda, Rwanda.

“Today’s agreement of cooperation between RIT/NTID and Beijing Union University marks a significant step forward in providing educational opportunities between our two great institutions,” said Buckley. “We look forward to working with the BUU delegates and developing collaborative coursework that will benefit deaf and hard-of-hearing students in China and the U.S.”

RIT/NTID students and faculty develop new app to enhance accessibility for museum visitors

Person holding a cell phone with numbers in pink on the screen.

A new app developed by students and faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf is making its national debut at an exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester.

The app, known as MUSEAI, is a new self-guided tour platform designed to enhance accessibility for all visitors in museums. Visitors use the app by inputting a number that is placed next to the artwork, which will provide them with the information about a specific artwork, including descriptions, historical facts, media (video/audio) with captions and audio descriptions. More.

RIT/NTID hosts award-winning actress Marlee Matlin Dec. 5

light skinned female with long blonde hair wearing gold hoop earrings and black turtleneck sweater.

Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin will be the featured presenter at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf on Thursday, Dec. 5, as part of the college’s Edmund Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series. The event, which is open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, on the RIT campus.  

Matlin will present on the topic of addiction and recovery, based on her 2009 book I’ll Scream Later. Her talk is one of several events celebrating the 40th anniversary of RIT/NTID’s Substance and Alcohol Intervention Services for the Deaf. A question-and-answer session will follow Matlin’s remarks.

Matlin won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God in 1987, and to date is the only deaf performer to have won an Academy Award. She has appeared in many popular television series such as Dancing with the StarsSwitched at BirthQuantico and The L Word, among others.

RIT/NTID’s Substance and Alcohol Intervention Services for the Deaf provides drug and alcohol information, education, prevention, intervention and referral services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community residing in the Greater Rochester area and to deaf and hard-of-hearing students at RIT/NTID.

Named for noted Rochester manufacturer, inventor, humanitarian and philanthropist Edmund Lyon, the Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series brings presenters to campus whose expertise and scholarly contributions stand on the cutting edge of advancement in the education and career success of deaf persons.

Tickets for Matlin’s presentation are $5 and can be purchased through the RIT Box Office. The event is not recommended for children under 13.

RIT named among top ‘green’ colleges by Princeton Review

Three wind turbines stand in front of glass building.

For the ninth consecutive year, Rochester Institute of Technology has been named one of the greenest universities by The Princeton Review. RIT moved up to No. 34 this year out of the 413 schools profiled in "The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2019 Edition." RIT is commended for its fervent focus on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified new construction, RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, and serving as headquarters to the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute. More.