University of Rhode Island


Is Rhode Island government finally waking up to leveraging state colleges as wellsprings of economic development? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay sees some hopeful signs on Smith Hill.

After years of malign neglect of Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities, the General Assembly finally appears to be turning a corner. Several elements in the state budget approved last week by the House Finance Committee show that Statehouse politicians are finally getting the message on the iron link between education and creating jobs in the Ocean State.

After too many years of giving short shrift to public higher education in Rhode Island,  the General Assembly and state government appear to have finally begun to reverse this short-sighted policy.

In the budget that cleared the House Finance Committee on a 14 to 2 vote Thursday, the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island have won some important initiatives.

A biomedical research program based at the University of Rhode Island has received $18.8 million in new grant funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Created in 2001, The Rhode Island IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (RI-INBRE), was intended to expand the state's biomedical research capacity. Since that time, it has received $42 million in federal grants, according to URI officials.

The new funding will shift the focus to research in areas of cancer, neuroscience and molecular toxicology. 

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has appointed a veteran Republican and a veteran Democrat to the R.I. State Board of Elections.

The Republican is Stephen Erickson, a retired state District Court judge and former state representative. Erickson was an associate justice of the R.I. District Court from 1990 until 2010 and was supervising judge in Kent County from 1997 to 2001. He currently is an adjunct professor of law at the Roger Williams University School of Law. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island  and Boston University Law School.

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Once again, Rhode Islanders are making national news for the low regard we have for our tiny state. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to stop taking Rhode Island  for granted.

The Gallup poll discovered that Rhode Island is the state least appreciated by its own residents. Just 18 percent of Rhode Islanders said our small slice of southeastern New England was the best place or one of the best places to live.

University of Rhode Island President David Dooley ranks 158th in the country when it comes to his compensation package, according to a new survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The last time the survey was published, Dooley ranked 134th in the country.

Dooley made $368,800 in 2013, according to the report, which looked at president's pay at 227 public universities around the country.

A newly created fisheries institute in Rhode Island will develop and take on new innovative and practical research projects. The institute is partnership between the Department of Environmental Management and the University of Rhode Island.


University of Rhode Island officials are reviewing police records of 20 students involved in a house party gone bad last weekend in Narragansett. URI vice president for student affairs Tom Dougan says police issued citations and made arrests for everything from launching beer bottles to destroying property and underage drinking.

Now, Dougan says the university will consider a range of sanctions in each student’s case.

Allergy Season Expected To Be Especially Harsh

May 7, 2014
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Experts are predicting an unusually bad allergy season with high levels of pollen this year. They note that the cold and wet spring has delayed the onset of pollen production and will cause many types of plants to produce allergens at once. Professor Keith Killingbeck of The University of Rhode Island said he was surprised by the intensity of the allergen levels.


Colleges, even state colleges, are too expensive and beyond the financial reach of some students. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst  Scott MacKay on why college is still a great investment, both for taxpayers and students.

Fast upon us 'tis season of Lilacs, caps and gowns and those desultory commencement speeches about life being a journey. For too many seniors these days, the sheepskin comes with an avalanche of student loan debt.

URI Professor Awarded National Honor

Apr 24, 2014
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One of the University of Rhode Island’s most famous professors is receiving a national honor.  Robert Ballard will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Oceanography professor Robert Ballard first came to international prominence when discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985.  Ballard received his doctorate from URI in 1974, and joined the School of Oceanography in the mid-2000’s.  He now heads the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography.

URI Breaks Ground On New Center For LGBTQ Community

Apr 16, 2014

The University of Rhode Island broke ground this morning on a center for the school’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. The center is unique among college campuses.

URI says it’s the only school in the nation to design and build a center specifically for the LGBTQ community.  State officials were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking, including Governor Lincoln Chafee, and state senator Frank Ferri, who championed Rhode Island’s push for legal same-sex marriages.  Annie Russell is the center’s director.

The University of Rhode Island breaks ground Wednesday on a new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center.

URI officials say the start of construction is groundbreaking in more ways than one. They believe URI is the first university in the country to have a separate building dedicated solely as an LGBTQ center.

In the past, URI has faced criticism for being an unfriendly campus to gay and lesbian students. The university has also faced accusations that officials forced out a popular advisor, Andrew Winters, who worked on gay and lesbian issues.


The University of Rhode Island announced today it will arm its on-campus police force with guns.  It's the only public higher education institution in the state to do so.

University of Rhode Island officials have announced they plan to arm campus police, despite vocal critics, who say the change will not make campus safer.

The university announced the decision after a year of public meetings and discussions with faculty, students and staff. In a statement, URI President David Dooley called the change critical.

"In order to provide the safest environment possible and to ensure a timely response to any threat to the safety of our campuses, our police officers must be equipped properly to function as first responders,” Dooley said.