Jun 22, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2015-2016 
Rensselaer Catalog 2015-2016 [Archived Catalog]

Student Life

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Rensselaer helps educate “leaders of tomorrow” by providing a robust set of student life programs and services designed to:

  • facilitate academic success
  • offer education and practice in leadership and followership
  • encourage fitness for a lifetime of growth
  • connect students to careers and the world of work
  • build maturity, an appreciation of cultural diversity and expression, and a set of personal and professional goals and values.


Dean of Students Office


Dean of Students: Mark Smith
The mission of the Dean of Students Office (DOSO) is to support and assist students in the achievement of personal and academic success with an emphasis on student development, advocacy, rights and responsibilities, safety, and liability. The services and initiatives of this office include counseling, advising, and referral information; policy development and implementation.

International Services for Students and Scholars International Services for Students and Scholars (ISSS) provides educational programs and consulting, arrival information, orientation programs, counseling and advising, and immigration information for Rensselaer’s international community. ISSS also serves as liaison to government agencies, sponsors, and other campus offices. All Rensselaer students and exchange visitors who are not United States citizens or permanent residents must register with ISSS.

Disability Services for Students Disability Services for Students (DSS) provides support services and referral information to current or potential Rensselaer students with disabilities. This service assists students in achieving access to the academic, social, and cultural programs offered on campus. Services are available to students whose disabilities may be physical/orthopedic, psychiatric, sensory (hearing, vision), or learning-related (including dyslexia, attention deficit, traumatic brain injury).

Student Conduct Regulations governing undergraduate and graduate student conduct and a statement of student rights and responsibilities are contained in The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities and in the Rensselaer Graduate Student Supplement. These policies are intended to help maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning and personal growth and to make the process of education positive and successful for all members of the community. Each student is expected to obtain a copy of the current handbook and supplement and to know their contents. For more information, visit http://rpi.edu/dept/doso/resources/judicial/docs/2014-2016RPIHandbookofStudentRightsandResponsibilitiesAUGUST2014.pdf


Student Experience Office


Assistant Vice President: Lisa Trahan

The Student Experience office provides students with resources and programming designed to assist them during their college years. Focus areas include academic and personal success, orientation and transition, and experiential opportunities. Staff members are highly involved in academic intervention including the Electronic Warning System, which is designed to encourage students who may be experiencing academic difficulties to utilize academic support services. Class Deans are responsible for the specific and individualized support of a cohort of students. Additionally, the Student Experience office manages the administrative operations of excused absences, leaves, withdrawals, and re-admissions as well as coordination of the Information and Personal Assistance Center (IPAC).

Office of the First-Year Experience The Office hosts a comprehensive First-Year Experience program including Student Orientation (SO) and Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond (NRB). Both programs are designed to facilitate a smooth transition to life at Rensselaer while building relationships between new and upper-class students, faculty and staff, and the surrounding community. Programs continue throughout the first year to address academic and transitional needs. FYE’s in-depth communication tools provide students with important dates to remember and information about upcoming programs of interest, student leadership opportunities, and important academic deadlines. FYE also provides support to students and their families on a walk-in, email, and phone basis.

Parent and Family Programs The Student Experience office coordinates parents and family programming, including the Parents of Rensselaer Association, the Parents Council, and a rich Rensselaer tradition: Family Weekend. Parents and families of all Rensselaer students are encouraged to take part in the programs and services offered. In addition, parents and family members are invited to register for email newsletters, participate in our discount program, and contact staff at any time if a question or concern arises.

Orientation Fee All entering first-year and transfer students will be charged for the opportunity to attend programs held during the summer and/or before fall or spring semester for overall orientation, academic advisement, and course registration. Fees are $175 for first-year, freshman, fall-admitted students, and $100 for spring-admitted first-year, freshman students, and all transfer students. This fee is non-refundable except where withdrawal is made prior to the fall final registration date for fall-admitted students or prior to spring final registration date for spring-admitted students.


Center for Career and Professional Development


Director: Jennifer Walters

Center for Career and Professional Development Home Page: www.rpi.edu/dept/cdc
The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) helps students develop key professional development competencies throughout their undergraduate experience at Rensselaer. The CCPD offers comprehensive career services, including on-campus recruiting and job postings via JobLink, their online job-posting and recruiting system; a spring  career fair; full-time, co-op, and summer internship opportunities; career days and employer information sessions; career counseling and assessments by appointment; career and professional development workshops and special programs; daily walk-in hours; assistance with applying to graduate or professional school; and a nationally award winning Sophomore Career Experience. In 2013-2014, over 4,000 students utilized the CCPD for various career and professional development services.

Within six months of graduation, approximately 82 percent of the graduates reported future plans to the CCPD that included full-time employment, graduate/professional school, or the military. Top employers of the Class of 2014 graduates included: United Technologies Corporation, The Boeing Company, Cisco Systems, GE, GlobalFoundries, Deloitte, RPI, Epic, FactSet Research Systems, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Schlumberger.

Cooperative Education Program Rensselaer’s optional co-op program, which is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, provides an excellent vehicle for students to gain critically needed work experience while still in college. More than 300 students actively participated in the co-op program for 2013-2014, working for leading employers in the U.S. and abroad. Top co-op employers for 2013-2014 included: GE, United Technologies Corporation, Hasbro, Cisco Systems, IBM, Energizer (Schick-Wilkinson Sword and Playtex), Apple, American Airlines, NASA, and FM Global, in addition to many other organizations. The vast majority of students find their co-op positions through the Center for Career and Professional Development. Undergraduate students are required to work a summer and a semester, and usually work January through August or June through December. Graduate students may work during one of the same time periods or during summer only.




Director: Lee McElroy

Rensselaer Department of Athletics Mission Statement:

The Rensselaer Athletics Department provides broad-based opportunities to enhance the overall student-athlete experience through high-level intercollegiate and recreational competition that emphasizes superior sportsmanship and the pursuit of excellence while winning championships. Creating an atmosphere that encourages personal growth while balancing academic and athletic excellence is of highest importance. Essential to the team is the development of core values in a diverse and equitable environment while promoting positive, life-long contributions to the Rensselaer community and beyond. 

Intercollegiate Sports Rensselaer fields intercollegiate teams in 23 sports: 

  • Baseball Karl Steffen, head coach
  • Men’s Basketball Mark Gilbride, head coach
  • Women’s Basketball John Greene, head coach
  • Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country John Lynch, head coach
  • Field Hockey Bridget LaNoir, head coach
  • Football Ralph Isernia, head coach
  • Men’s Golf Miles Nolan, head coach
  • Men’s Ice Hockey Seth Appert, head coach
  • Women’s Ice Hockey John Burke, head coach
  • Men’s Lacrosse Jim Townsend, head coach
  • Women’s Lacrosse Leslie DeLano, head coach
  • Men’s Soccer Adam Clinton, head coach
  • Softball Amber Maisonet, head coach
  • Men’s and Women’s Swimming Shannon O’Brien, head coach
  • Men’s Tennis Jon Satkowski, head coach
  • Women’s Tennis Caitlin Crowley, head coach
  • Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Track Colin Tory, head coach
  • Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track Colin Tory, head coach
  • Women’s Soccer Greg Cathell, head coach

The men’s and women’s hockey teams compete at the Division I level and in ECAC Hockey. The remaining teams play in Division III. In three sports, Rensselaer also fields junior varsity teams. Rensselaer is a member of the NCAA, the ECAC, and the Liberty League.

The department trains and employs student trainers, lifeguards, and equipment room attendants. Several varsity teams sponsor student managers that assist in all matters of team operations.

Athletic Clubs Among the more than 160 clubs sponsored by the Rensselaer Union include Abada Capoeira, Aikido Karate, Archery, Badminton, Ballroom Dance, Cheerleading, Chung Do Kwan, Crew, Cricket, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Isshrinyu Karate, Judo, Juggling and Unicycling, Kendo Outing, Racquetball, Rifle Marksmanship Rugby, Sailing, Scuba, Ski Club and Team, Squash, Table Tennis, Tae Kwon Do, Tennis, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, Water Polo, and Wrestling.

Intramural and Recreational Program An extensive intramural athletic program offers competition in 24 sports: baseball, basketball, billiards, golf, gym hockey, ice hockey, indoor soccer, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, flag football, track, badminton, aerobics, wallyball, wiffleball, dodge ball, and volleyball. Two intramural leagues are subdivided into as many divisions as necessary to accommodate all who are interested and to provide a level of competition commensurate with abilities. Recreational opportunities of all descriptions, either planned or unstructured, are available to all students.

Facilities The East Campus Athletic Village opened on October 3, 2009. One of the most extensive athletic construction projects in the institute’s history, the complex features a multipurpose lighted stadium with field turf and seating for 5,200 along with a 1,200-seat basketball arena. The facility features a 5,000-square-foot strength and conditioning center connecting to a professional-caliber sports medicine suite, and within the arena are offices for athletics administrators and coaches, numerous meeting spaces, a new Athletics Hall of Fame, and a cafe.

The Houston Field House is the current home of Rensselaer’s Division I Men’s and Women’s hockey teams. Seating more than 4,800 fans, the Field House features six locker rooms, numerous offices, and several meeting spaces. Since opening in 1949, the building has undergone a number of renovations. A recent update took place during the 2008-2009 season when new locker rooms with spacious lounges and study areas were constructed. Additionally, a new equipment room, athletic training suite, and video room were also completed. The second phase of that project featured a new look to the front facade of the arena and coaches offices and was completed during the 2010-2011 season.

The Alumni Sports & Recreation Center (AS&RC) houses the Robison Gymnasium, which has an indoor track. Also included are basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts on a resilient surface as well as locker facilities. Home to the Rensselaer men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, the Robison Pool features eight lanes for competitive swimming. Additionally, the complex has multiple three-meter and one-meter diving boards. The Mueller Center, which adjoins the AS&RC, opened in 2000 and features cardiovascular and weight lifting equipment as well as space for aerobic fitness activities.

The ‘87 Gymnasium contains two general purpose gymnasiums, an indoor track, and seven four-wall combination handball and squash courts.

The home field for the Rensselaer softball team, Doris Robison Field, features team dugouts, a press box, and multiple areas for fan seating.

Previously known as the 17th Street Field, Robison Field is home to the Rensselaer baseball team. Located on the corner of 17th Street and Eagle Street, off main campus and just north of Samaritan Hospital, it is one of the top fields in the state of New York.

The Ned Harkness Field and Track is a synthetic turf field and track which opened in 1994. Dedicated to the memory of former RPI men’s hockey and lacrosse coach, Ned Harkness, the complex is home to the Rensselaer field hockey and men’s and women’s track and field teams.

Renwyck Field is home to the Rensselaer men’s and women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse programs. The field was redone and laid with a new synthetic surface in the spring of 2009 as part of the first phase of the East Campus Athletic Village.

Home to the men’s and women’s tennis programs, Sharps Courts features six courts for varsity, club, and recreational use.


The Rensselaer Union


Director: Joe Cassidy

Established in 1890, the Rensselaer Union is a 125-year-old student organization with a proud history and traditions.  Every enrolled activity fee-paying RPI student is a member of the Rensselaer Union, a self­-supporting and a self-governing student organization that oversees student organizations, facilities, finances, and student activities on campus.

The Rensselaer Union recognizes over 200 service, media, recreation, club sports, performing and visual arts, multicultural, and special interest student organizations. The Rensselaer Union runs the intramural program on campus and partners with RPI Athletics, providing operating budgets for all varsity programs.  In addition, the Rensselaer Union manages and develops programs for the Mueller Center, which serves as the hub of recreation and wellness for the Rensselaer community. The Rensselaer Union, which founded the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development, continues to fund leadership programs that support club and student development outside the classroom.

The Rensselaer Student Union, the building on the corner of 15th Avenue and Sage Avenue, is the home of many activities and business operations including the Rensselaer Collegiate Store, a convenience food store, a full-service credit union, campus hair salon, Ben & Jerry’s, as well as retail food operations open for lunch and late-night dining.

Student leaders at Rensselaer are elected each spring during a traditional event, known as GM WEEK, which is the all-campus student election and celebration. The offices of Grand Marshal (G.M.), established in 1866, and President of the Union (P.U.), established in 1891, are the two highest ranking student positions. An Executive Board of students overseen by the P.U. makes major budget and policy decisions for the Rensselaer Union and the entities within the Rensselaer Union. The Student Senate is the chief legislative body for student government overseen by the G.M. and draws representation from the entire student body and represents the voice of the student body to the greater RPI community.


The Archer Center for Student Leadership Development


Director: Linda McCloskey

The Archer Center for Student Leadership Development provides leadership education for the Rensselaer students and community both in and outside of the classroom. The Center enhances students’ leadership skills through a variety of cutting-edge, interactive learning experiences that include adventure-based initiatives, corporate training techniques, and other methods. Archer Center programs provide every student with the opportunity to gain key leadership skills in areas such as team development, visioning, effective communication, ethical decision making, and multiculturalism.

The Archer Center offers custom-designed workshops for student organizations, manages the Professional Leadership Program for juniors, the Professional Leadership Series for graduate students, and facilitates other co-curricular programs. It also works with faculty across campus to develop interactive formats for classes and laboratories, and coordinates many other special events. Additionally, the Archer Center teaches a required course sequence in the Lally School of Management and a required Professional Development course sequence in the School of Engineering. Student groups, faculty, staff, administrators, and local communities benefit from Archer Center programs. Corporate representatives work with the Archer Center by funding some of its programs and/or speaking in leadership classes, at workshops, conferences, and at the recognition banquet.

The Archer Center for Student Leadership Development, with help from its colleagues and corporate partners, is dedicated to promoting practices that foster teamwork and integrity in the professional and personal lives of tomorrow’s leaders.


Religious Affairs


Coordinator: Edward Kacerguis

Rensselaer has a combination of resident and part-time chaplains who represent major faiths and work with the appropriate student organizations: the Rensselaer Christian Association, B.A.S.I.C., the Rensselaer Newman Student Fellowship, Hillel, and the Islamic Student Organization. All chaplains are available for personal counseling regardless of the beliefs of the individual.

The Rensselaer Newman Foundation and the Catholic Chaplaincy offer all the services of the usual parish and operate the Chapel and Cultural Center (C+CC). The Protestant Chaplain (who works with the Troy Area United Ministries), the local rabbis, and an imam on campus seek to involve students in the life of the local churches, synagogues, and mosques.

The Catholic Chaplains conduct mass daily and four times on weekends when classes are in session, and the Protestant Chaplain holds services on nights chosen by the students. The Rensselaer Christian Association gathers each Friday for song, prayer, and sharing, and in small groups daily. The Rensselaer Newman Student Fellowship organizes varied activities and speakers. Hillel is a focal point for the Jewish student community, gathering for their activities throughout the year. The Islamic students meet throughout the day for prayer as well as on each Friday for Sabbath. A number of churches, synagogues, and mosques in the area welcome students to their communities.


Residence Life


Dean: Todd H. Schill

Residence Life is composed of the Residential Commons, the Greek Commons, and the Off Campus Commons. Our focus is to provide support and services for all Rensselaer students.

The Residential Commons focus is to provide clean, comfortable, and well-maintained residence halls and apartments on campus where residents can thrive academically and socially. Each community on campus has a special identity, fostered by live-in professional staff and student staff through programming and in-hall leadership opportunities. The Resident Student Association is a platform to gain more leadership regarding the development of Residential Commons initiatives.

The Greek Commons focus is to provide counseling, advising, and program development for individual social fraternities and sororities, as well as advising the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils. In addition, the Greek Commons office coordinates educational programming, reviews and approves applications for recognition, is involved in policy development and implementation, and is committed to positive alumni and community relations.

Off-Campus Commons focus is to provide support for students living in accommodations off campus. Currently in development, the services offered will specifically address the unique needs of these students. Off-campus students play a vital role as both students and ambassadors to the greater Troy Community. The Off-Campus office will assist students with resources regarding the many aspects of renting an apartment, being a good tenant, citizen, and neighbor, and being an engaged and active member of the Rensselaer community.

With all of the Commons involved, Residence Life strives to build a community that values the potential of each individual and encourages students to broaden their perspectives, enhance personal growth, and prepare for life beyond Rensselaer. With CLASS (Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students), Rensselaer aims to transform the student experience by elevating the quality of support for students throughout the undergraduate years.


Rensselaer Dining Services


Resident District Manager: Maureen Brown

Rensselaer Dining Services, managed by Sodexo Campus Services, offers an innovative dining program designed to meet the diverse dining needs of the Rensselaer community. With four “all you care to eat” facilities, eight retail outlets and two convenience stores, the dining team caters to the need for convenience and flexibility, providing a variety of menu choices, hours of operation and meal plans. The program is designed to deliver fresh, healthy, high quality food.

Students with special dietary needs for religious, health, or personal reasons should make arrangements to meet with dining services so that the needs can be met. Dining Services also offers “Simply to Go” meals within Commons and Russell Sage Dining Hall to support students that do not have enough time to eat a meal within the facility.

For more information, refer to our Web site at http://rpihospitalityservices.com/.


Student Health Center


Director: Leslie Lawrence, M.D.

The Student Health Center is a comprehensive, nationally accredited, physician-directed program providing outpatient health care, mental health counseling, and health promotion services. Health care services include primary and urgent care, referrals to specialists, as well as gynecological and allergy clinics. Counseling services include individual counseling sessions and group workshops for personal and academic adjustment problems. Confidentiality is strictly maintained except when a student’s behavior presents a clear and present danger to the student or to others.

The Student Health Center is fully certified by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). The AAAHC is an independent national organization that evaluates the quality of care at ambulatory centers such as outpatient surgery centers, clinics, and college health centers. Rensselaer’s commitment to seek and maintain AAAHC certification provides assurance of the quality of patient care and the appropriate organizational framework for providing care.

Located on the Troy campus, the Gallagher Student Health Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays during the academic semesters. Summer session and vacation hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A 160-bed community hospital with a 24-hour emergency department is located two blocks from the campus.

All matriculated students pay a Health Center Fee that provides access to the Student Health Center during each regular semester (see Tuition and Fees section). This is a mandatory fee that cannot be waived. Coverage for summer sessions is included in the spring semester fee.

Rensselaer students are required to have adequate health insurance. The Rensselaer Student Health Insurance Plan provides a low-cost plan that includes nationwide year-round coverage at a very reasonable cost (see Tuition and Fees section). This insurance plan, together with the services of the Student Health Center, provides seamless coverage for students while at school. The plan also meets J-1 visa requirements. Dependent coverage is available at reasonable cost. A student, who has equivalent health insurance that provides non-urgent coverage in Troy, may request a waiver of the insurance fee. Please note: Travel Insurance Plans do not meet campus health insurance requirements and will not be accepted for a waiver of the student health insurance plan.

All students, including part-time students, must submit a medical history and immunization information to the Student Health Center. Students must show adequate evidence of meeting Rensselaer and New York pre-matriculation immunization and tuberculosis screening requirements.


Office of the Registrar


Registrar: Sharon L. Kunkel

The office provides a wide range of services to faculty, students, alumni, and staff. In addition to maintaining the official academic record for all current and former students, the office coordinates registration; schedules classrooms and final exams; provides transcripts, verifies enrollment and degrees; certifies Veteran’s benefits; oversees the degree clearance process and issues diplomas; compiles and distributes the official enrollment and degree statistics. The office is committed to providing quality service, maintaining the integrity of academic records, and protecting students’ right to privacy.