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The Connect Grants Overview

Connect Grants are offered through funding from AdvanceRIT and the Office of the Provost with advisory support from The Wallace Center’s Faculty Career Development Services, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and Sponsored Research Services to support leadership and career development for all tenured and pre-tenured faculty at RIT.

The Connect Grants drive discovery and learning within an environment that supports the development of project proposals and the process of peer review. These mini-grants encourage leadership and career development, mentoring, networking and research collaboration, while enhancing and advancing the university’s multifaceted initiatives and scholarship infrastructure.

The Connect Grants Program is available to individuals, faculty groups (formal or ad hoc), and academic units. Successful grant proposals must support one or more of the AdvanceRIT project goals and objectives. The Connect Grants are designed to broaden faculty opportunities and enhance plans of work associated with tenure and promotion preparation and overall career advancement. Creative department or unit-level efforts to engage in cultural change, guide and manage faculty through various career stages and project-oriented work to facilitate institutional transformation are encouraged. Approximately $40,000 is available for the overall Connect Grants program with the number of awards depending upon the review and evaluation of the proposals in relation to the selection criteria. Refer to the AdvanceRIT Connect Grants webpage for the FAQ and past Connect Grant awards.

Eligibility All current tenured and pre-tenure RIT faculty are eligible to apply for a Connect Grant. The AdvanceRIT project supports the funding of awards for eligible women faculty within STEM/SBS disciplines. The Office of the Provost has provided support to expand the Request for Proposals to all full-time, tenured and pre-tenured faculty in all disciplines. The AY 2017-2018 Connect Grant Awardees have been chosen. Stay tuned for the next round.

Executive Summary

(Excerpt from the April 2017 Connect Grant Program Internal Evaluation conducted by Dr. Liz Litzler, Emily Affolter, and Lexie Maister, University of Washington Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity.)

The AdvanceRIT Connect Grant program has resulted in strong impacts for the grantees of the programs as well as the broader RIT community, based on an evaluation of the program. From 2014 to 2017, there have been 43 Connect Grants awarded to 34 different faculty members and two departments. Grants have varied in size from $1,000 to 12,400 and the Connect Grant program has disbursed a total of $257,603 since its inception; 60% of all proposals were awarded. All ten RIT colleges have had Connect Grant awardees; 25 grants went to STEM fields, 10 went to SBS fields, and 8 went to other fields. In total, 86 unique faculty members have been involved in these grants and benefited from them, and some faculty have been involved in more than one Connect Grant. You may view a list of all past and current recipients Here.

Individual (Human Resources and Symbolic) impacts of the Connect Grants have been related to improving women’s work life, professional development, career advancement, and improving their working environment. In particular, Connect Grantees strengthened internal and external networks which led to career advancement, benefitted from mentoring relationships as mentors and mentees, built skills (including leadership skills) to support their professional development, increased their research autonomy and project visibility, increased their confidence in disseminating and being experts of their work, increased their value and influence, and supported the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in their field, through their grant projects.

Organizational (Structural) impacts of the Connect Grants at RIT are related to refining institutional structures and installing practices to promote representation and advancement of women faculty. Some grantees worked to transform their institutional environment by strengthening community and raising internal awareness of their work, and also created new learning and leadership opportunities which helped to modify institutional policies, practices, and procedures.

Please email any questions regarding this program to