ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Robert Glick has spent the past three-to-five years working to bring one thing to the Rochester Institute of Technology: an English program.
Glick, the associate professor and program director for the Department of English, said that his goal came to fruition last year when the New York State Department of Education approved RIT to offer a Bachelor’s of Science degree in English.
Despite the school not previously offering an English major, Glick said they were able to use entirely pre-existing courses and faculty to build the curriculum.
“What do you want an English degree to be at a tech school?” Glick said. “We can’t copy what a liberal arts school could do in the humanities, so what we want to do is bring our expertise that our faculty have in English, and combine it with what we have that’s awesome in a tech school.”
The program, which is experiencing its “hard launch,” according to Glick, will consist of 25 students this year — four of whom are incoming freshmen. The program foregoes traditional classical literature studies in favor of tying together courses in technical writing with classes from more technology-based departments to give students a broader skill set.
“Part of the degree is a professional course so [students] are actually taking four classes in other departments that are designed to give them hard complementary skills,” Glick added. “So someone who might want to do new media marketing as a trade would have their English degree, and they’d have all their analytics skills, and they’d have their writing skills, and their communication skills, but they’d also get a background in new media to make sure that when they got out of RIT, they had a really good standing for their career.”
Despite this being the English program’s first full year, it has already seen its first graduate.
Kenzie Vanacore, the only RIT graduate to have completed the degree so far, said she was introduced to the English program after transferring to RIT.
“The English program was more beneficial for me. It was definitely different than at my other college — Wells College — because they focused on literature and whatnot, and they did do that as well at RIT, but you still got the experience of the technical side.”