The Community College of Rhode Island plans to open a new facility in Westerly to train workers for Electric Boat.

The company needs welders and other specialized employees to build nuclear submarines. Rhode Island Education Commissioner Jim Purcell said the new center is part of an effort to be more responsive to Electric Boat and other companies.

“And we’ve made a commitment to actually have a learning center at Westerly, which is really going to support job opportunity and access not only here in Rhode Island, but also at the Groton, Ct. site,” said Purcell.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A committee searching for the next president of Rhode Island’s community college meets Wednesday, as the group is narrows the field of candidates.


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.”

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.


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.

Elisabeth Harrison

Community College faculty and alumni gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday, as Governor Lincoln Chafee officially declared November 12th "CCRI Day."

CCRI is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. President Ray DiPasquale emphasized the college's efforts to educate Rhode Islanders.

"It's 40,000 students during the course of a year, 64,000 alums, and they all live in Rhode Island, and 1,200 employees," DiPasquale said. "So when you think about all that, it’s truly an economic engine for the state."

Governor Lincoln Chafee is slated to declare Wednesday "CCRI Day" in Rhode Island. The declaration comes on the occasion of the community college system's 50th Birthday, which is being celebrated this year.

CCRI President Ray DiPasquale is expected speak during the announcement at the Statehouse. Rhode Island Higher Education Commissioner Jim Purcell and State Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Manuso will also be in attendance.

DiPasquale recently announced he would stay at CCRI, but he was a finalist in the search for a new state education commissioner in Louisiana.

Community College of Rhode Island President Ray DiPasquale has withdrawn from the search for a new Higher Education Commissioner in Louisiana.

DiPasquale was a finalist for the post, vacated by Rhode Island’s current Higher Education Commission Jim Purcell. He was in Louisiana this week for an interview and spoke to Purcell before returning to Rhode Island on Thursday.

"I think it was really just about his love for his efforts here, and he’s excited about coming back to work and moving forward," Purcell said.

Community College of Rhode Island President Ray DiPasquale has been named as a finalist in Louisiana's search for a new commissioner of higher education.

DiPasquale served as Rhode Island's interim commissioner of higher education for several years. He remained as president of CCRI during that time and was offered the extra job as part of a bid to keep him from leaving.

The other named finalists for the position in Louisiana are Robin Capehart, president of West Liberty University in West Virginia and Joseph Rallo, a vice chancellor from Texas Tech University.

John Bender / RIPR

As public schools focus on raising test scores and getting more students ready for college, there is new scrutiny on teachers and the schools that teach them.

Rhode Island’s the Board of Education is scheduled to vote tonight on new standards for teacher preparation programs.

Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison spoke with Karen Castagno, head of the education school at Rhode Island College who explained some of the changes they are looking at.

file / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee is recommending that the chair of the state Board of Education give up that position to become the state Commissioner of Higher Education. The appointment would be full time, but only temporary while the board conducts a search for a permanent commissioner.

The governor said he chose board chair Eva-Marie Mancuso because he believes higher education needs full time leadership at this time.

Mancuso says she is thrilled at the chance to lead the state office of higher education, a post with a $200,000 salary.

CCRI Becoming More Energy Efficient

Feb 27, 2013
Bradley Campbell

The Community College of Rhode Island is upgrading its flagship campus in Warwick. The upgrades are geared to save energy costs.

The Sawyer School in Providence
Elisabeth Harrison

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Help is on the way for the more than 300 students displaced by the recent closure of the Sawyer vocational school in Providence. 

The state Office of Higher Education will hold a day-long meeting next week for students displaced by the closure of the Sawyer School in Providence. More than 300 students in Rhode Island and another 1,200 in Connecticut were shocked to see the school close abruptly just after Christmas.

Thousands of college and university students received degrees across the state this weekend, but across the state, nearly half of Rhode Island residents do not have a bachelor’s degree. Business analysts often cite this statistic as one of the factors behind Rhode Island’s slow economic recovery.

To find out what’s behind the number, I met four Rhode Islanders who started college but never finished their degrees. They explained what got in the way of college, and what their lives have been like since leaving school.