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

Outgoing Brown University President Ruth Simmons will take a seat on the board of trustees at Princeton University next month. Simmons is stepping down on June 30th as head of Brown, ending an 11-year tenure at the Providence institution.

Simmons is no stranger to Princeton. She held several positions at the New Jersey school, including that of vice provost, before becoming president of Smith University. When she became president at Brown University, Simmons was the first African-American to lead an Ivy League school.

The American Bar Association has granted preliminary accreditation to the law school at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, clearing the way for students to take the bar exam in any state.

Prior to the preliminary accreditation, UMass law school students could only take the bar in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says her plan for improving Rhode Island’s public schools will not change, even if she is reporting to a new board of education.

The leadership change is part of the state budget that won approval last night from Senate lawmakers. It has already gotten a green light from the House of Representatives.

Wakefield math teacher Brian Nelson and Warwick science teacher David Mather are this year’s local recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. They join 95 other teachers from around the country who were chosen for the awards.

Winners will be honored at a White House ceremony later this month and receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation, which they can spend however they want.

A panel of scientists, mathematicians, and educators chose the winners after a selection process at the state level.

The House budget approved early this morning does away with the State Office of Higher Education, although it keeps the position of Commissioner of Higher Education. The change takes effect in 2014.

The budget also consolidates the boards of higher education and elementary and secondary education into a single board to be known as the Rhode Island Board of Education, effective at the start of 2013.

The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is slated to vote today on new rules for obtaining teacher credentials in Rhode Island.

With a vote expected Thursday on the state budget for the fiscal year beginning in July, here’s a look at some highlights for public schools and state colleges and universities.

Elementary and Secondary Education


17-year-old Celia Cabrera designs a tile for the senior wall at Providence’s E-Cubed Academy.

Two members of the state board of higher education are calling for a re-assessment of a tuition waiver program for state college and university employees.

Michael Tikoian, Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors for Higher Education and committee member Amy Beretta say the waiver system may be inappropriate in the current financial climate.

Providence could do a much better job teaching non-native English speakers, according to a new report from the Council of Great City Schools. The report finds expectations are not high enough in many of the city’s English language learning classrooms. It also says those students are not benefiting from broader efforts to improve Providence Public Schools.

Providence School officials say they will convene a task force to respond to the recommendations in the report, which was commissioned by the district.

Anyone who’s ever visited a classroom is familiar with the scenario: a quiet kid sits in the back of the room looking distant and not taking part in the discussion.

This presents a dilemma for teachers. Leave the student alone, or press for more classroom participation?


U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Photo by Ralph Alswang.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he’s happy with the way Rhode Island is using its $75 million Race to the Top Grant. The state has been working on several major initiatives including annual teacher evaluations and curriculum reviews.

Duncan says his staff will sit down with state education officials next week to review their progress.


Ruth Simmons comes to the end of her tenure at Brown. Photo from Brown University.

Outgoing Brown President Ruth Simmons is preparing her final address to the campus community. She’s slated to speak tomorrow at a baccalaureate ceremony as part of Brown’s graduation weekend.

  • Mitt Romney details his plan for public education, which includes vouchers for parents who want to send their children to private schools.
  • The Feds propose rules for a third round of Race to the Top grants.

Economics has surpassed the biological sciences as the most popular field at Brown University. Roughly 220 members of the undergraduate class of 2012 will receive economics degrees during commencement exercises this weekend.

Biological sciences are the second most popular degree with 200 concentrators, while international relations comes in a distant third.

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