Diversity & Inclusion

We strive to foster inclusive and welcoming programming and are focused on recruiting a diverse range of participants and instructors.

We strive to foster inclusive and welcoming programming and are focused on recruiting a diverse range of participants and instructors, particularly underrepresented minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities.

Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives

  •  RIT’s National Institute for the Deaf (NTID) hosted the third annual I-Corps regional course for Deaf entrepreneurs, with teams from NTID, Gallaudet University, and Cal State Northridge.
  • RIT/NTID are developing native American Sign Language (ASL) course materials to expand access to the I-Corps learning experience for the national Deaf community.
  • In partnership with Women Entrepreneurs (W.E.) Cornell and Black Entrepreneurs in Training, we have developed customized I-Corps regional courses for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.
  • We are developing a Role Model workshop for STEM women to highlight opportunities in commercialization, in collaboration with W.E. Cornell.
  • Our Node is collaborating with the national GEM Consortium’s Inclusion in Innovation Initiative (i4) to raise awareness of I-Corps and support participation by GEM Fellows and other URM grad students.
  • The GEM i4 team is reviewing and providing feedback on our Instructor Training module “Employing Inclusive Teaching Practices.”
Dr. Marquita Qualls, National GEM Consortium

Q&A with Dr. Qualls on GEM i4

Dr. Marquita Qualls, former Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the National GEM Consortium, discusses the Inclusion in Innovation Initiative (i4) and how the partnership is fostering diversity and inclusivity in entrepreneurship.

Watch “Black Entrepreneurship: Overcoming Adversity and Staying Focused” to learn more about the challenges faced by entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. This panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Qualls and organized by Cornell University’s student-led Black Entrepreneurs in Training (BET) with support from UNY I-Corps.

Read the Q&A
Young Black entrepreneurs having a meeting

Instructor Training for Inclusivity

Our focus as a Node has been to center inclusive teaching methods and recruitment strategies in our programming. Our newly launched online, asynchronous “train the trainer” course focuses on disrupting implicit bias, attracting diverse teams, creating an inclusive learning environment, delivering “purposefully direct” feedback to teams, and using a set of rubrics to objectively assess a team’s performance in the regional course, and their potential fit with I-Corps Teams requirements.

The material in this training course was developed with funding from a 2019 Node Supplement Award from NSF, and is delivered through the same online learning platform that instructors use with their regional course students. New instructors are required to observe a virtual regional course led by experienced instructors and debrief with the instructors after each session. After completing the training course and observation, new instructors are paired with an experienced instructor to lead their first regional course.