Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has long been known for its commitment to accessible education and supportive community. As the world becomes more diverse, it is increasingly important for universities to create an environment that welcomes people of all backgrounds and abilities.
To that end, RIT has implemented a number of initiatives to ensure that students with disabilities have just as much access to education and support as their peers. The university’s Learning Assistance Program provides support to students with disabilities as well as those who struggle with learning, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf provides education and support to deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
Vice President for Student Affairs Sandy Johnson says these programs help break down barriers to education and foster a culture of inclusivity. “We’re committed to providing a high-quality education to all students, regardless of their abilities,” she says. “We believe that every student has the potential to succeed, and we want to help them reach their goals.”
One student who has benefited from RIT’s commitment to accessibility is Brian Mathews, a deaf student who is currently pursuing a degree in electrical engineering technology. “The National Technical Institute for the Deaf has been incredibly helpful to me,” he says. “The staff members there are all deaf, so they understand the challenges I face and are able to provide me with the support I need to succeed.”
But RIT’s commitment to inclusivity doesn’t stop at disability support services. The university has also worked hard to create a supportive community for all students, regardless of their background or identity. RIT’s Center for Women and Gender, for example, provides resources and support to women on campus, while the Office of Diversity and Inclusion works to promote equality and understanding among all members of the campus community.
Johnson says that creating a welcoming, inclusive environment is crucial to RIT’s mission as an educational institution. “We want all of our students to feel like they belong here and that they have the resources they need to succeed,” she says. “When we create a culture of inclusivity and support, we’re not only benefiting our students, but we’re also setting an example for the broader community.”
RIT’s commitment to accessible education and supportive community has not gone unnoticed. In 2021, the university was ranked #1 in the country for its support of deaf and hard-of-hearing students by College Factual, and it has consistently been recognized by the Princeton Review as a top school for LGBTQ+ students.
As the world becomes increasingly diverse and complex, it is heartening to see universities like RIT leading the way in creating an environment that welcomes and supports students of all backgrounds and abilities. By breaking down barriers and providing access to education and resources, RIT is creating a better future for all of its students.