higher education

The House Labor Committee holds a hearing today on repealing what’s known as the Caruolo Act. The law, now infamous in Rhode Island education circles, allows school committees to sue their city or town for more funding.

There have been several attempts to do away with the Caruolo Act, but so far none have succeeded. Critics say it is nonsensical for an arm of local government to essentially sue itself, and local officials complain the lawsuits rack up expensive legal bills and sour relations between city and school leaders.

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ

Rhode Island School of Design graduate Seth MacFarlane hosted the Oscar Awards last night, prompting some RISD faculty to tune in. The creator of animated television shows like “Family Guy” showcased his off-color sense of humor and singing and dancing abilities.

During his opening monologue, MacFarlane joked about how critics would perceive his Oscar turn. He chatted with actor William Shatner, who reprised the role of Captain James T. Kirk, and sang an ode to actresses who have appeared topless in the movies.

Brown University once again led the pack in Rhode Island in fundraising last year, bringing in a little more than $178 million. The University of Rhode Island was a distant second at $12.7 million, a drop of $6 million compared with 2011.

Donations were also down at Rhode Island College, which raised $1.36 million, and at the Rhode Island School of Design, which still came in second overall. RISD raised a total of nearly $6.8 million.

Brown to launch school of public health

Feb 14, 2013

This summer, Brown University plans to launch a School of Public Health. After ten years of planning and building, the School will pull together existing institutes, departments, and programs. The establishment of the School of Public Health should draw more funding and student talent, according to the University. Dr. Terrie “Fox” Wetle, associate dean of medicine for public health, will draw on her thirteen years of experience at Brown in her role as the dean of the new school.

RIPR file photo

Brown University will increase tuition and fees by four percent for the upcoming school year, for a grand total of $57,232.

The university plans to offset the cost hike with a 5.6 percent increase in financial aid, the fastest growing part of its budget.

Harvard University is partnering with the National Football League on a $100 million research project looking into serious health problems among NFL players. The initiative announced in today's Boston Globe will focus on 1,000 retired NFL players to better understand and potentially treat a wide range of physical ailments.

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.

RISD library makes list of best in the world

Jan 18, 2013
Fleet Library at RISD

(PROVIDENCE, RI) The Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design is listed on "The 50 Most Amazing University Libraries in the World."    The list was compiled based on unique, beautiful or intriguing architecture as judged by BestMastersPrograms.org.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Ten Rhode Island colleges and universities are teaming up to help the state out of its economic doldrums.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced the formation of the “Rhode Island Higher Education Research Collaborative.”  Its mission: to provide nonpartisan data that will help state leaders develop sustainable economic policies.

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.

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.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Analyst Scott MacKay answers my questions about the political machinations that left Rhode Island with no board for either K-12 public schools or colleges and universities at the start of 2013.