higher education

Rhode Island’s Board of Education votes Monday on a plan to split the board in to two separate councils. One council would focus on K-12 education, while the other would focus on higher education.

The plan comes after the state merged its separate boards of education, citing the need for better coordination of public schools and universities. Supporters said they were tired of hearing business and higher education leaders complain that graduates of Rhode Island high schools were unprepared for life after high school.

John Bender / RIPR

College students have long been known to experiment with drinking when they’re blowing off steam, and even use illegal drugs like marijuana.

But a growing number of college students are now turning to prescription drugs to get ahead academically.

The drugs, like Adderall, are used legally to treat conditions like Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, and they’re increasingly common on college campuses around the country.

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.


The University of Rhode Island will be offering a mini semester during the January break to help students get caught up on course work.  The semester will run from January 2nd to January 17th. One-hundred and twenty five students signed up during the first two days of enrollment.

Mini semester director John Olerio said students in especially demanding majors find it hard to finish their course work in four years.

Courtesy URI

The University of Rhode Island will unveil its new work-out center this week. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held this week on the new Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center.

It’s located in the former Roger Williams dining hall, which has undergone an eleven-million dollar renovation. It’s a 33-thousand square foot facility with state-of-the-art cardio equipment and weight lifting equipment.

Thomas Dougan, the university’s vice president for student affairs, said it replaces Mackal Field House, a much smaller facility that the school had long outgrown.

Brown University’s endowment earned investment returns of roughly 12.6 percent in fiscal year 2013, up sharply from just 1 percent in 2012. The University says its total long term investment pool is now worth $2.86 billion.

John Bender

Minority students and faculty are in relatively short supply at the University of Rhode Island, but efforts are underway to improve their numbers. Rhode Island Public Radio Education Reporter and Morning Edition Host Elisabeth Harrison sat down with URI's Vice President of Community, Equity and Diversity Naomi Thompson to talk about the challenges to increasing diversity on URI's campus.


Roger Williams University is reporting success with a new marketing tool. The tuition guarantee program takes the guesswork out of going to college.

Roger Williams University now offers all students a tuition guarantee. It’s an assurance that tuition will remain the same for all four years of an undergraduate’s education, provided the student stays enrolled continuously. University president Donald Farish said it’s not only increased the quality and size of their freshman class, but has boosted the freshman to sophomore retention rate from 78 to 84 percent.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Roger Williams University said it’s holding the line on tuition costs.  Tuition will remain just below 30-thousand dollars for the third year in a row.

And University president Donald Farish said he will keep it frozen as long as possible.

"Our goal is to make Roger Williams education a  little more affordable every year to a few more people by not increasing our tuition," said Farish.

University of Rhode Island

Jewelry success story Alex and Ani has purchased naming rights to the basketball court at the University of Rhode Island's Ryan Center for an undisclosed sum. The men's and women's basketball teams will take the court this season with the Alex & Ani logo prominently displayed at both ends of the floor.

URI is not the only state university upgrading facilities thanks to the company's largesse. The Alex and Ani name will also grace a new arts center scheduled to open this year at Rhode Island College.

file / URI

The days are getting shorter, our cobalt coastline is cooler. The rhythms of fall return. In our cozy corner of New England, a timeless harbinger of the season is students thronging college campuses.

Behind the teary parental goodbye hugs and lugging the laptops to the dorm looms an uneasiness in the realm of higher education these days. Students loaded down with mountains of debt graduate into an uncertain economy. ``Do you want fries with that diploma’’ is the gallows humor of our age.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan heads to Rhode Island later this month to help mark the 350th anniversary of the state’s Colonial Charter.

Kagan is scheduled to speak at a forum in Providence sponsored by Roger Williams University, as part of a year-long series of events celebrating the historic significance of the 1663 charter.

Brown University Medical School professor and doctor at Rhode Island hospital is expected in court Wednesday on charges he violated Rhode Island’s social host law. Bruce Becker is accused of allowing alcohol at a birthday party for his 18-year-old son at their home in Barrington.

A documentary about the fight to create Pell Grants will screen Wednesday evening as part of the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

The film is called "Pell Grants: A Passion for Education." It details the events in Washington leading up the the creation of the federal student loan program named for the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell.

As part of the screening at the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium in Providence, Pell’s widow Nuala Pell and his grandson Clay Pell will take part in a question and answer session.

file / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Island has embarked on an advertising campaign to raise our state’s flagging self-esteem. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time for us to stop running down our tiny corner of New England.

Back in 1996, when Jack Reed was running his first U.S. Senate campaign, Texas Gov. Ann Richards came to Newport to speak at a Reed fund-raiser. The tart-tongued Texan introduced the vertically-challenged Rhode Island Democrat by saying to prolonged laughter that Reed is proof ``that size doesn’t matter.’’