During the summer of 2004 then president, Albert J. Simone, established an organization charged with keeping him abreast of developments in women’s issues at RIT and working with him to develop strategies to improve the experience for women faculty, staff, and students at RIT. The organization, dubbed the President’s Advisory Council on the Status of Women at RIT, was created in response to results from a university wide climate study as well as student feedback received during the Strategic Plan open forums. President Simone envisioned a council comprised of key leaders at RIT that would provide advice and assistance in improving the campus climate for women.
In 2007 President Bill Destler joined RIT and renamed the council to the President’s Commission on Women. Since 2007, President Destler has given the Commission charges each year to guide the group’s activities. Charges have related to the representation of women undergraduate students and the representation, retention, and advancement of women tenure track faculty at RIT. In 2008 and again in 2012 RIT was awarded National Science Foundation ADVANCE grants, which seek to identify and address career advancement barriers for women faculty at RIT and establish a supporting framework for institutional transformation. The AdvanceRIT initiatives form a synergistic relationship with the President’s Commission on Women and continue to lend strength and support to the work being carried out by the Commission.