Founded in 1829, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is a privately endowed, coeducational university with nine colleges and over 200 academic programs emphasizing career education and experiential learning. Approximately 15,000 undergraduate and 2,900 graduate students are enrolled at the university, representing represent all 50 states and more than 100 countries. The university occupies 1,300 acres in suburban Rochester, the third-largest city in New York State. RIT also has international campuses in Eastern Europe and Dubai.
RIT’s annual Future Faculty Career Exploration Program (FFCEP) is one of a series of recruitment strategies designed to fill the Institute’s future faculty pipeline. This innovative program furthers RIT’s diversity efforts by bringing scholars nearing the end of their doctoral studies, MFA studies, or postdoctoral assignments, as well as interested junior-level faculty, to Rochester to experience life as a RIT faculty member.
The FFCEP is a weekend-long, all-expense paid program targeting African American, Latin American, Native American (AALANA) and female populations. Each year, the program draws an average of 170 applications to compete for 20 spots in the program. Nearly 250 qualified MFA, PhD and postdoctoral participants have gone through the program in the past 10 years.
Although the program is not considered a formal interview, it does allow RIT to build a relationship with candidates and lay the foundation for open communications. Deans engage prospects in discussions about their academic work and career interests. This program also allows faculty to share RIT’s teaching and research agenda, and discuss current open faculty positions or those that may be available in the near future. The participants are able to learn about the campus culture from current students and faculty, and meet with administration to gain an understanding of the core values of the institution. While they are here for the weekend, these potential faculty members are shown the highlights of the Rochester region, including a presentation by the business community, and a city and neighborhood tour.
During previous programs, RIT hosted students from top colleges and universities, such as Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Columbia, Berkeley, Harvard, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Cornell, among others.
As faculty positions open, the FFCEP participants are contacted and encouraged to apply. With the in-depth information they gather from their visit with RIT, we hope that they see a potential fit with the university and our region, and apply to open faculty positions. Since the FFCEP’s inception in 2003, 16 AALANA and female participants have accepted faculty positions with RIT, and four have been offered tenure.