higher education


At Brown University, a campus-wide survey shows one in four female undergraduates said they had experienced some type of unwanted sexual contact. Further, the survey found ten percent of female undergraduate students had experienced attempted rape. For female graduate students, that number was eight percent.

In a statement Brown's President Christina Paxson said, “[t]he results of the survey establish a clear baseline against which we can assess ourselves going forward."

John Bender / RIPR

In an effort to keep more college graduates in Rhode Island, Roger Williams University is making some changes. The university is preparing to open a $10 million campus in downtown Providence, at the former site of 38 Studios and a marine center in Bristol.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave sit down with Roger Williams University President Donald Farish to discuss what he sees as a growing wealth gap among colleges and universities.

Farish believes federal funding has increasingly become concentrated at a small number of elite institutions, many of which already possess significant resources.

RIPR file photo

Brown University ranks among the top 10 universities whose undergraduates go on to win the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant, according to new data from the MacArthur Foundation.

Since the foundation began awarding the grants, which honor individuals with great creative potential, Brown graduates have received 14 awards. Harvard produces the most recipients by far with 72 grantees.


Ray DiPasquale the President of the Community College of Rhode Island is stepping down. The decision comes after nearly a decade at the helm.

Di Pasquale began his first term as President in 2006.  During his tenure the school has seen record enrollments; graduating it’s largest-ever class in 2013. He also oversaw CCRI’s first-ever capital campaign which raised more $7 million.

In a statement Di Pasquale said serving as CCRI President was a “true privilege.”

There’s a new school where Rhode Islanders can receive a Bachelor’s degree. The school is aimed at students working to complete a degree they started but haven’t finished.

The Rhode Island Senate has approved legislation that would tie some funding for public colleges and universities to their performance. Supporters say the aim is to increase timely graduation rates, and the number of students in high demand fields.

The new legislation would create a set a unique set of standards for the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island, to reach those goals.  Supporters say the bill would shrink the skills gap, by getting students into the workforce quicker with the appropriate education.

Johnson And Wales University Set To Go Tobacco-Free

May 21, 2015
Erika Smith / flickr

Johnson and Wales University is set to become Rhode Island’s first tobacco-free college campus by July 2016. The university will be the 30th campus in New England to make the move, according to the Tobacco Free College Campus Initiative.


Johnson and Wales already prohibits the sale and advertising of tobacco products on campus. Spokeswoman Lisa Pelosi said the university hopes to open conversation about the health risks of tobacco use. 

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.


This week Mark and Dave speak with Steve Maurano, Associate Vice President of public affairs for Providence College.  The private Catholic institution recently completed an economic impact study. It shows the school has a $200 million dollar impact on the city and state.


When to listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

New graduates receive diplomas this weekend at the University of Rhode Island. Like grads across the state, they enter a job market showing signs of recovery. But Rhode Island still suffers from one of the worst unemployment rates in the country.

As we continue our series Rising Tide, looking at whether Rhode Island is emerging from the Great Recession, Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter Elisabeth Harrison checks in with college students to find out how they view the future.

University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island is arming its police force as of Friday. Preparations have been underway for a little more than a year. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison has details.

A gun scare in 2013 led to the decision last year to arm police on URI's rural Kingston campus. Though it turned out there wasn’t any gun, the false alarm pointed out the drawbacks of unarmed officers, who had to wait for armed police to respond to the incident.


The University of Rhode Island opens a new center Wednesday for Gender and Sexuality.  The campus has struggled in the past with incidents of aggression against gay students and faculty. Now, it is the first school to in the country to design and construct a center dedicated to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender programs.

The center will also provide programs for straight students to help them understand what their peers may be facing.

Graduating senior Jessica Brand says as a transgender woman, she welcomes the new resource.

Providence College

Activists rallied at Providence College Monday to call attention to what they say is racial profiling. Professor Julia Jordan-Zachery has complained she was interrogated by campus police for parking in a faculty space. The demonstrators said the incident is part of a larger pattern of targeting minorities by campus police officers.

Jordan-Zachery filed an official complaint with the college last fall. Providence College Spokesman Steve Maurano said the complaint was resolved quickly, and the head of campus security ordered additional training for campus police.


College professors are raising concerns about a plan to tie state funding for higher education with performance. The proposal calls for targets in areas like graduation rates and degrees in high demand fields. Schools would have to meet the targets to qualify for part of their state funding starting after 2016.

Community College of Rhode Island English Professor Anthony Amore says students and faculty need to play a role in setting the performance measures.


A Brown task force on sexual assault has completed its recommendations for the university. They’re aimed at improving the way the university responds to complaints of sexual violence.

The task force urges Brown to adopt a single policy on sexual assault, dating violence, harassment and stalking. The group says the university should centralize the process for handling complaints in a single office.