Elisabeth Harrison

News Director

Elisabeth Harrison's journalism background includes everything from behind-the-scenes work with the CBS Evening News to freelance documentary production.

She joined the WRNI team in 2007 as a Morning Edition producer and freelance journalist. In 2009, she became a full-time reporter, and became the Morning Edition host in 2011.  She was promoted to full-time News Director in June of 2015.

Harrison's education is as wide ranging as her work at Rhode Island Public Radio. She has a B.A. in English and French from Wellesley College, and a joint M.A. in Journalism and French Studies from NYU.

A native of Los Angeles, Harrison loves good food and good movies.

Ways to Connect

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist speaks directly to teachers about a controversial new evaluation system. The video first appeared on YouTube earlier this month.

Roger Williams University Law Professor Bela August Walker is an expert in family law and leads a number of courses covering the legal issues facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

She spoke with Morning Edition host Elisabeth Harrison about the issues surrounding the same-sex marriage law being debated in RI.


Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.  news@ripr.org

Come Tuesday, January 29th, students at Alvarez High School in Providence will have a new physics teacher. You may remember the students went to The Providence Journal last month to complain that instead of having a physics teacher, a history teacher had been teaching their class.

More boys are dropping out of school than girls, and the disparity is greater in Rhode Island and Connecticut than anywhere else in the country, according to a new report from the Federal Department of Education.

School safety procedures dominate the agenda today at the State Senate Education Committee. Lawmakers say the discussion will feature State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, State Police Superintendent Col. Steven O'Donnell and officials from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.

The oversight hearing follows the shooting last month at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school that left 26 students and teachers dead.

Connecticut’s legislature is also slated to review school safety standards in the wake of the tragedy.

A new program at the Providence After School Alliance (PASA) pairs high school students with middle schoolers, on the theory that a mentoring relationship with an older student might discourage dropping out.

PASA organizers say they are focusing on 8th graders, who often face a tough road when they transition from middle school into high school. Just 66 percent of Providence students graduate from high school within four years.

The new budget proposal from Governor Lincoln Chafee is a complex document, so here are a few highlights for schools and colleges.

There's a slight increase in this budget proposal for public colleges and universities. Oddly, officials disagree about the exact amount of the increase. The governor’s office first reported $8 million, but higher education officials say it’s closer to $6 million. The Office of Higher Education says it is grateful for any increase, after years of decreases under former Governor Don Carcieri.

The good news this week is that American students stack up better against their international counterparts, if socio-economic background is taken into account. Edweek has a good roundup of the new study by the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Economic Policy Institute.

A new exhibit of work by the artist Christopher Ho entitled “Privileged White People” is now on view at New York’s Forever & Today, Inc. gallery. The show features large photographs of people like President Bill Clinton and the actor James Van Der Beek, of Dawson’s Creek fame.

  • Sawyer probe continues

State and federal law enforcement agencies are checking the books at the Sawyer School for criminal activity following its abrupt closure just after Christmas. State education officials have recovered student records from the school and are planning to hold an event at CCRI next week to provide transcripts and counseling for students wondering how to proceed with their degrees.

The Sawyer School was apparently bleeding federal aid prior to its abrupt closure on New Year's Day. The Federal Department of Education says the for-profit school had gone from nearly $7.5 million in federal tuition dollars for the 2011-2012 academic year down to $2 million this year.

What happened? Well, one answer is declining enrollment. Sawyer reported 796 students in Rhode Island in the fall of 2011, but only 302 students when it shut down earlier this month.

Mat Rosa

(PROVIDENCE, RI) A group of URI students is spending their winter vacation in the Dominican Republic studying politics and health care.  The trip is part of a semester long class on political and social change in the Caribbean.  URI Political Science Professor Maureen Moakley and nursing student Alexa Wilson talk about the trip and what it means to both students and the people they visit.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Governor Lincoln Chafee has announced his nominees for a new Board of Education, replacing the boards of higher education and K-12 public schools. The nine nominations include two teachers union officials, an emergency room physician and several attorneys.

Most are former members of the recently dissolved board of elementary and secondary schools and the board that oversaw higher education.

Just before Christmas, Chafee announced his selection of attorney Eva Marie Mancuso to chair the Board of Education.

Governor Lincoln Chafee has announced his picks for the new 11-member board of education, which replaces two former boards overseeing K-12 schools and colleges and universities.

The selections are mostly alums of the two boards that lawmakers dissolved in a June vote. As of December, Chafee had named only his choice to chair the board, leaving Rhode Island with no board in charge of education on January 1st.

Here are bios for the education board picks from a statehouse communiqué:

The FBI has joined the investigation of the now-defunct Sawyer School, a for-profit technical college that closed its doors on the first of the year.

State police say they're seeking to determine whether there was any criminal wrongdoing, or whether this is simply a case of a business going under.

Either way, Sawyer's closure left roughly 300 Rhode Island students and 1,200 students in Connecticut with partially completed certificates to become medical office assistants and other office administrators.

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