Category Archives: Academics

RIT named one of the best colleges to study video game design

male and female students watch as one works on several large computer display monitors.

Animation Career Review has again named Rochester Institute of Technology one of the top game design schools in the country. RIT ranked seventh on the list of Top 50 Game Design Schools in the U.S. and second in New York state.

The 2020 rankings considered 136 colleges with game design programs. The annual rankings were created by Animation Career Review, an online resource for aspiring animation, game design and development, graphic design and digital art professionals. The list also named RIT the No. 3 game design school on the East Coast and fifth-best private school nationally.

“We are happy that RIT is consistently recognized as one of the best schools in game design and development,” said David Schwartz, director of RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media (IGM). “Faculty and staff in IGM work hard to provide core computing education within the context of game design, so our students have amazing career opportunities.”

Animation Career Review noted that RIT offers several programs for aspiring game designers, including two bachelor’s degrees and one master’s. In fact, any student studying computing in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences has the opportunity to minor in game design and development. Students outside of technical computing majors can also minor in game design.

RIT’s Bachelor of Science in game design and development provides a broad-based undergraduate education in computing while exposing students to the breadth of game design and development processes. The bachelor’s program in new media interactive development also explores casual games, in addition to new technologies and experiences with web, wearable and mobile computing.

Students who pursue a master’s degree in game design and development at RIT focus on the technical roots in the computing and information sciences disciplines, while simultaneously covering the breadth of the development landscape through involvement in topics, including computer graphics, game engines, interactive narrative and game world design. The degree culminates with a capstone project in which students create their own games.

RIT game design students can also work with RIT’s MAGIC Center, a nonprofit university-wide research and development laboratory and a for-profit production studio that assists in efforts to bring digital media creations up to marketplace standards and commercialization. RIT’s MAGIC Spell Studios, which moved into a new state-of-the-art building in 2018, focuses on nurturing and growing new companies and publishing and distributing their projects.

The ranking also highlights RIT’s emphasis on cooperative education—full-time paid work experiences that provide students with an opportunity to learn on the job in real-world industry settings. With help from the co-op program, graduates of RIT’s game design and development programs go on to work at companies including Microsoft, Rockstar Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Valve Corp. and Walt Disney Interactive.

The full game design school rankings can be found on the Animation Career Review 2020 Game Design Rankings website.

From archery to nerfology, RIT redfines wellness

Two students participate in an archery wellness course.

Wellness classes at Rochester Institute of Technology are nothing like the gym classes students are required to take in high school. RIT offers 180 wellness course options for students to promote holistic wellness, and requires all undergraduates to complete two wellness courses before they can graduate. Courses vary from traditional indoor cycling, swimming, dance, soccer, and bowling, to power skating, yoga, and fencing. More.

RIT ranked a ‘Best Value College for 2020’

A group of students walking together in summer. two females are high-fiving.

Rochester Institute of Technology has been named among “Best Value Colleges for 2020” by The Princeton Review.

The project analyzes 40 data points for more than 650 of the nation’s 4,000 colleges and universities. Only 200 made the final list. Topics covered include academics, cost, financial aid, career services, graduation rates, student debt and alumni support. Princeton Review also used data from its surveys of students attending the colleges and PayScale.com surveys of alumni regarding their starting and mid-career salaries and job satisfaction.

“The schools we chose as our Best Value Colleges for 2020 comprise only 7% of the nation’s four-year colleges,” noted Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief. “They are truly distinctive and diverse in their programs, size, region, and type, yet they are similar in three areas. Every school we selected offers outstanding academics, generous financial aid and/or relative low cost of attendance, and stellar career services. We recommend them highly to college applicants and parents seeking schools that are academically top-notch and committed to making their programs affordable. These colleges are also standouts at guiding their students to rewarding futures.”

New training program addresses need and training for interpreters of color

Latinx female with dark hair and glasses, wearing green turtleneck, is signing to a classroom

A report from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf states that of the more than 10,000 sign-language interpreters that are registered nationally, a mere 13 percent identify as persons of color. Acknowledging this gap, a team at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has created a program that aims to equip interpreters of color to meet the demands of interpreting in a postsecondary environment, while boosting recruitment and retention efforts for interpreters of color.

The Randleman Program, named for Valerie Randleman, the first black interpreter in RIT’s Department of Access Services, was formed in 2019. According to founders, the two-year preceptor program addresses diversity challenges and anecdotal evidence that suggests that interpreters of color have a significantly different experience going through interpreter training programs than their white counterparts.

“Systematic norms catering to the success of the majority often adversely affect students of color,” explained Kristi Love-Cooper, a staff interpreter and Randleman Program coordinator. “These norms can manifest in oppressive, alienating ways that can make it difficult for interpreting students of color to succeed. By the time our protègès complete the Randleman Program, they will be able to successfully navigate the workplace, as well as have the tools to participate in inclusion initiatives in the workplace and the field of interpreting.”

Through the use of individualized mentoring, small group meetings, and professional development activities, the program helps interpreters continue to develop cognitive processing skills while interpreting, self-assessment skills using non-evaluative language, and grow confidence while interpreting in a postsecondary environment.

Since the inception of the program, the representation of Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) interpreters in the department has increased from 8 percent to 14 percent. Love-Cooper says that because of the program’s success, they have the opportunity to recruit three new protègès for the fall 2020 program due to the recent cohort having been hired for full-time positions.

The Randleman Program is also hosting its first symposium in March where speakers from across the United States will gather to discuss recruiting and retaining BIPOC interpreters in the field of interpreting.

“The successes of the Randleman Program would not have happened without the generous support and encouragement of NTID President Gerry Buckley,” added Love-Cooper. “We thank him for his leadership, vision and continued support.”  

Randleman retired from working as an interpreter after 35 years of service. She has interpreted for several notable figures, including Maya Angelou, former President Gerald Ford, Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, and many others.

The program is supported by NTID and the Department of Access Services. For more information, go to the Randleman Program webpage.

 
 

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 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.

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 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.