Initiatives

RIT is a student-centered research university with signature strengths in technology, the arts, and design. Below are some of the initiatives that members of the Office of the Provost and Division of Academic Affairs are working on to propel the academic vision of the university forward. Each is part of President Munson’s strategic plan for the university.

Students tossing graduation caps

Student Success

RIT is a student-centered research university. Ensuring our current and prospective students receive an exceptional educational experience is paramount. In the Greatness through Difference 2018-2025 Strategic Plan, one of the most important objectives is to increase graduation rates across all demographics.

The 2025 goal is that 78% of our first-year students receive an RIT degree within six years and that at least 60% graduate “on time” within their degree programs (four years in four-year programs, five years in five-year programs).

To support this measure, one of the university’s initiatives is piloting a student success predictive analytics model to see how students are progressing each semester. If one needs help, highly trained faculty and staff at RIT can pinpoint where the area of difficulty lies and step in to help the student. The pilot program began in the 2019-2020 academic year. 

 

Professor teaching a class

Faculty Hiring Initiative

RIT is a vibrant community of world-class scholars and creative artists dedicated to changing the world through teaching, research, and scholarship. In an effort to achieve RIT’s ambitious strategic vision, we must intensify our call for imaginative, innovative, and collaborative people who are eager to learn, practice, and teach transformative innovation. As a result, the university’s president has committed to hiring 50 faculty over the next five years. 

Student sitting outside

Diversity and Inclusion

RIT is a kaleidoscope of engaged, socially conscious, and intellectually curious minds — each embraced for our uniqueness. Diversity and inclusion are essential to RIT’s organizational growth and synergy. As a result, the goal for 2025 is to continue to diversify the staff, faculty, and administration by gender, race, and nationality with an emphasis on increasing the number and percent of female faculty in STEM fields and African American, Latin American, and Native American faculty in all fields.

Student working on a tablet

Technology, the Arts, and Design

The Greatness through Difference 2018-2025 Strategic Plan calls for RIT to more purposefully focus on the intersection of technology, the arts, and design. The mixture of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines along with art and design is a centerpiece of RIT’s innovative curricula. The combination is lived out in inventive degree programs and cutting-edge facilities and, most importantly, in the students who choose RIT.

Students attending a lecture

Curricular Flexibility

Across the university, each college and degree-granting unit is working to restructure undergraduate degree requirements to ensure students have room to pursue broader curricular experiences, experiential learning, and 21st-century competencies.  

Students performing in a musical

Performing Arts

RIT seeks to enhance the student experience on its main campus by creating more experiential learning opportunities for students, including building innovative maker and learning facilities and greatly strengthening our performing arts programs.

For the first time, RIT introduced performing arts scholarships where the university received 279 digital submissions that included auditions in vocal and instrumental music, musical theater, dance, acting, and technical production. Out of 279 submissions for the 2019-2020 academic year, about 150 students accepted this scholarship.

RIT also added more faculty and staff with expertise in the performing arts and plans on creating a performing arts theater. More information about that the facility is below in the Academic Facilities and Capital Planning section. 

 
Student at graduation ceremony

Expanding Doctoral Education

Increasing RIT’s footprint in doctoral education is another important goal in the strategic plan. During the 2018-19 academic year, four programs were approved to begin developing formal Ph.D. proposals: business administration, chemical and biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical and industrial engineering. From 2020-2025, additional programs will begin proposal development. New ideas are encouraged. You can submit one through the New Degree Program Intent Document and Process.

Student working on a laptop

Expanding Online Learning

RIT is committed to increasing its online education offerings for adults and traditional students seeking graduate and undergraduate degrees. Going forward, RIT Online will concentrate on developing and refreshing graduate online programs, creating demand-based learning experiences to reach new and larger audiences, and strengthening the support infrastructure for online programming.  Another goal is to find creative ways to scale online learning without overtaxing RIT’s faculty. To do so, university leaders are looking into other options, including external partnerships. 

Aerial photo of RIT Main Campus

Academic Facilities and Capital Planning

Under the direction of RIT’s President David C. Munson Jr., the university is pursuing the construction and renovation of facilities that support the core activities of creativity, design, research, and innovation. 

The following projects are part of the master plan: 

The complex will have flexible teaching spaces, a black box theater, and large workspaces for student projects. By constructing this complex, the university will be able to better serve the diverse, collaborative needs of the student body.

The Performing Arts Center will be designed specifically for musical theater. It was selected based upon strong student interest, but also because this medium integrates music, theater, dance, and technology. Once complete, the theater will have a large stage, an expansive back-stage and wings, a very high ceiling over the stage and an ability to fly sets, and a pit for an orchestra.

This facility will be a premier center for cybersecurity education, research, and service to corporations and governments. The Institute will contain state-of-the-art simulation facilities to produce highly educated and experienced professionals who are positioned to solve the world’s most critical cybersecurity problems, both now and in the future.

Due to a $7.5 million bequest from E. Philip Saunders, Max Lowenthal Hall will undergo major renovation and expansion changes. The gift will help add much-needed space to the college for innovative research in business disciplines, multidisciplinary student and faculty work, and experiential learning projects. The expansion will also include laboratories, collaborative student spaces, and room for the addition of the hospitality and service innovation programs to Saunders College.