Story Highlights: 

  • Kathryn Schmitz, associate dean for academic administration at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, was presented with the 2015 Changing Hearts and Minds Award, given annually to recognize efforts made toward furthering RIT’s overall commitment to diversity, specifically in the area of enhancing diversity among the faculty ranks. 

  • This is the second time NTID and one of its faculty or administrative leaders have been recognized for diversity efforts. The award, sponsored by RIT’s Office of the Provost and the Office of Faculty Recruitment, was given during the annual Future Faculty Career Exploration Program.

  • NTID’s faculty hires for the 2014-2015 academic year represented 57 percent of the total AALANA hires and 28 percent of the total female hires across the university. 

Kathryn Schmitz, associate dean for academic administration at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, was presented with the 2015 Changing Hearts and Minds Award, given annually to recognize efforts made toward furthering RIT’s overall commitment to diversity, specifically in the area of enhancing diversity among the faculty ranks.

As part of the award, which is sponsored by RIT’s Office of the Provost and the Office of Faculty Recruitment, NTID President Gerry Buckley received $2,500 on behalf of NTID to help further advance AALANA (African American, Latin American, Native American) recruitment efforts within the college. Schmitz received a gift of $500 in honor of her hands-on leadership and influence in the spirit of inclusion and diversity.

NTID’s faculty hires for the 2014-2015 academic year represented 57 percent of the total AALANA hires and 28 percent of the total female hires across the university. The award selection committee also takes into consideration the effort the colleges make in their commitments to diversity and the ongoing work to mentor and coach the search committees. 

“This award came as a complete surprise to me, and I am greatly honored by it,” said Schmitz. “I take very seriously the work we are doing in our college to ensure that departments and search committees conduct transparent, fair and consistent searches. I want to recognize the perseverance our departments have shown in identifying prospective applicants whose qualifications match those listed in job descriptions and their willingness to honestly evaluate and consider applicants who are not part of our known or traditional pools. We are slowly but surely transforming our faculty with new members who represent the discipline expertise and background diversity that our students need for optimal learning and preparation for careers.”

Schmitz began her career at NTID 26 years ago as a public relations specialist before being named director of marketing communications. In 2000, she joined the English department as a faculty member. She has also published a number of scholarly articles and presented at many national and international conferences.

She was chair of NTID’s Department of Liberal Studies prior to her appointment in her current position in 2012. Schmitz serves on the NTID Administrative Council and has responsibility for many institute processes and functions, including tenure, promotion, faculty and exempt staff searches, diversity training and institute committees. Additionally, Schmitz oversees NTID’s Office of Communication Assessment Services and college-wide professional development. She also represents NTID on a variety of RIT committees and work groups.

“Katie and the faculty involved in the search processes have demonstrated RIT’s commitment to building a workforce that is increasingly diverse,” said Buckley. “NTID has maintained a strong commitment to this goal since the late 1980s when members of Congress reminded us of our responsibilities in this area as a national institute. We are steadily moving in the right direction thanks to Katie’s leadership and the strong efforts of our search committees.”

This is the second time NTID and one of its faculty or administrative leaders have been recognized for diversity efforts. The award was given during the annual Future Faculty Career Exploration Program.


RIT/NTID Associate Dean Kathryn Schmitz Wins Changing Hearts and Minds Award

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