Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Placing Diversity at the Core of Institutional Excellence

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Placing Diversity at the Core of Institutional Excellence

Article excerpt

In its Oct. 23, 2003, publication, Black Issues In Higher Education identified the Rochester Institute of Technology (PIT) as one of a group of universities that have made progress in recruiting and retaining ethnically diverse faculty. As gratifying as that recognition is, it speaks to only part of our intended mission. To be fully successful, the hiring and retention of a diverse faculty must be part of a broader institutional strategy.

RIT's institutional strategy incorporates moving from a good to a greater university. Within this context, one of the pillars of a great university is having a diverse and successful group of students, faculty, staff and trustees. So when asked, "why the push for diversity?" the response is "to embrace institutional excellence."

If we take a closer look, we find that PIT's success in faculty recruitment was preceded by an institutional strategic plan that created enhanced diversity of the board of trustees and student body. Implementing the strategic plan raised the issue of diversity on the board of trustee committee level and strengthened the President's Commission for Promoting Pluralism. The commission promotes appreciation of diverse individuals in spite of differences in race, gender, education, age, national origin, sexual preference, language use, physical ability, health and many other characteristics. It also created the Office of the Assistant Provost for Diversity, the faculty recruitment manager and the North Star Center for Academic Success and Cultural Affairs (NSC). NSC combines the resources of academic and student affairs into a single center to meet the needs of African American, American Indian and Latino American students. Furthermore, RIT moved to build alliances with National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Urban League, Puerto Rican Youth Development (PRYD), Ibero-American Action League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and local school districts as part of its drive toward institutional excellence. …

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