Jul 12, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2009-2010 
Rensselaer Catalog 2009-2010 [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; the approval and processing of excused absences, leaves of absence, and withdrawals and readmission for undergraduate students; and managing the Institute judicial system.

Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs provides counseling, advising, and program development for individual social fraternities and sororities, as well as advising the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils. In addition, this 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.

Office of Minority Student Affairs The Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) provides support services — academic, personal, financial, and career — to underrepresented groups in the sciences, technology, and engineering professions. Underrepresented groups, as defined by Rensselaer, include African American, Latino, Native American, and Higher Education Opportunity Program students. Support services focus on facilitating with recruitment, enrollment, retention, graduation, graduate school, and entry into professional careers. The initiatives of this office include programs and services for precollege, undergraduate, and graduate students.

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 student conduct and a statement of student rights and responsibilities are contained in The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities. 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 to know its contents. For more information, visit www.rpi.edu/dept/doso/handbook.html.


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, as well as social opportunities. Staff members are highly involved in the electronic warning system which is designed to encourage students who may be experiencing academic difficulties to utilize academic support services. Anticipated expansion will introduce the Sophomore Year Experience as well as Class Deans for specific and individualized support. 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 of the First-Year Experience’s (FYE) comprehensive orientation program offerings include Student Orientation (SO) and Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond (NRB), a highly programmed robust immersion designed for students to experience first-hand what Rensselaer and the surrounding community have to offer. 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 students’ 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 Parents and families play an integral role in the lives of Rensselaer students. 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 discount programs, and contact staff at any time if a question or concern arises.



Career Development Center


Director: Thomas L. Tarantelli

Career Development Center Home Page: http://www.cdc.rpi.edu
The Career Development Center (CDC) helps students take charge of and manage their career development. The CDC offers comprehensive career services, including on-campus recruiting and job postings via the Red Hawk Joblink; a Spring Career Fair; full-time, co-op, and summer internship opportunities; career days and employer information sessions; career counseling and assessment; career development workshops and special programs; daily walk-in hours; and a nationally award winning Sophomore Career Experience. In 2007-2008, over 2200 students registered with the CDC for various career services.

Graduating Student Services Students at Rensselaer are eligible to participate in on-campus interviews during their last two semesters prior to graduation. Last year, within six months of graduation, approximately 90% of the graduates reported future plans to the CDC that included full-time employment, graduate school, or the military. Top employers of May 2008 graduates include: Accenture, BAE Systems, Boeing, Deloitte, FactSet Research Systems, GE, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and United Technologies Corp.

Co-op 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 500 students were enrolled in the co-op program in 2007-2008, working for leading employers in 25 states such as Aperion, Cisco Systems, GE, Goldman Sachs, Honda R&D, Husky Injection Molding, IBM, Pitney Bowes, and United Technologies Corp., in addition to small, entrepreneurial companies. The vast majority of students locate their co-op positions through the Career Development Center. Undergraduate students normally work during a January to August or June to December rotation; graduate students may work during one of the same rotations or for only one academic term.




Director: Jim Knowlton

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 Mike Griffin, head coach
  • Women’s Basketball John Greene, head coach
  • Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country Colin Tory, head coach
  • Field Hockey Bridget LaNoir, head coach
  • Football Joe King, head coach
  • 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 Erika Lewis, head coach
  • Men’s and Women’s Swimming Shannon O’Brien, head coach
  • Men’s and Women’s Tennis Carol Pillsworth, 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 Cord Farmer, 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, dodgeball, 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 Rensselaer’s athletic fields include five illuminated for practice after dark and the Ned Harkness Field and Track, a synthetic turf field and track, was opened in 1994, and resurfaced in 2004. Phase I of a $114 million East Campus Athletic Village is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2009.

The ‘87 Gymnasium contains two general-purpose gymnasiums, seven four-wall combination handball and squash courts, a weight room, an indoor track, and a wrestling room. The Rensselaer Alumni Sports and Recreation Center houses the Robison Gymnasium, which has an indoor track; a physiotherapy room; basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts on a resilient surface; and locker facilities. The Robison Pool has eight lanes for competitive swimming as well as three-meter and one-meter diving boards. The Houston Field House has an ice rink, locker and team rooms, and permanent seating for 4,800 spectators. The Mueller Center, housing cardiovascular, weights, aerobics, and other fitness activities, opened in 2000.


The Rensselaer Union


Director: Richard M. Hartt

Every enrolled activity fee-paying student is a member of the Rensselaer Union, a self-supporting and a self-governing body that controls, finances, and organizes student activities.

The Union recognizes over 170 service, media, religious, performing and visual arts, multicultural, athletic, and extracurricular clubs and organizations. The Union serves as a partner in intramurals and intercollegiate athletics, providing operating budgets for all varsity programs. Students are also responsible for the business operations of the Union, including the University Bookstore, a convenience food store, Post Office substation, a full-service bank, and a number of other retail operations. The Union, which founded the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development, continues to fund those programs that support leadership development for students outside the classroom.

Student leaders at Rensselaer are elected during GM WEEK which is the all-campus student election each spring. The offices of Grand Marshal, established in 1866, and President of the Union, established in 1891, are the two most responsible positions. An Executive Board of students makes major budget decisions for the Union. The Student Senate is the chief legislative body for student government and draws representation from the entire student body.


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 decisionmaking, 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 Technology 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: vacant

Residence Life is the focus for student housing programs related to living and dining at Rensselaer. In addition to providing clean, comfortable, and well-maintained residence halls and apartments, 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. A student staff of resident directors, resident assistants, learning assistants, and teaching learning asistants in both the first-year and upper-class areas complements the professionals in the Residence Life office.

Approximately 55 percent of the undergraduate student body lives in campus housing. Options vary from apartments to traditional double and triple rooms in residence halls.

Institute policy requires that all single, first-year students live on campus and participate in a Platinum, Diamond, or Gold dining plan. Beginning with new students entering in fall 2009 (cohort class of 2013) all single first- and second-year students will be required to live on campus and participate in a meal plan. Single, upper-class (third, fourth, fifth year, and beyond) and graduate students may choose to live either on or off campus, join a dining plan or cook for themselves.

Rensselaer’s Family Student Housing community is home to 93 families who reside in two individually styled apartment complexes. A closely knit and culturally diverse community, the family housing area offers ample green space and play areas, a community center, and access to campus and community resources.


Rensselaer Dining Services


General Manager: John Fusco

Rensselaer Dining Services, managed by the Sodexo Campus Services, offers an innovative dining program designed to meet the diverse dining needs of the Rensselaer community. Meal plans range from unlimited meals anytime, in any resident dining hall, to those with unlimited meals within specified hours or days. Students may also use Bonus Bucks at all resident dining halls and other Sodexo Campus Services managed facilities on campus as well as Rensselaer Advantage Dollars (RAD), which can also be used at nondining services food outlets such as Father’s, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, and on-campus laundry machines.

Students with special dietary concerns for religious, health, or personal reasons may make arrangements to meet with the dining services to see how their needs can be met. Rensselaer does not operate a kosher kitchen but can offer frozen kosher dinners to any resident student who requests them. Dining services also offers packaged kosher foods daily. Bag lunches are available for any meal plan participant who cannot attend a regularly scheduled meal due to class schedule conflicts by bringing his or her class schedule to the general manager or dining hall manager.

For more information, refer to our web site at www.rpi.edu/dept/dining.


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 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends 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 is not waivable. 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.

All students, including part-time students, must submit a medical history and record of physical examination on a form provided by Rensselaer. No other form can be accepted. Students must show adequate evidence of meeting Rensselaer and New York prematriculation 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; oversees the degree clearance process and issues diplomas. The office is committed to providing quality service, maintaining the integrity of academic records, and protecting students’ right to privacy.