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Even President Obama is talking about rising college tuitions as students return to campus. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay  talks about what this all means for our flagship public university, the University of Rhode Island.

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

University of Rhode Island Research Professor Alan Rothman, a specialist on viral diseases, has received an $11.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his quest for a vaccine against dengue fever. URI officials say this is one of the largest grants ever received by a single URI researcher.

Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne illness, affects an estimated 100 million people around the globe each year, mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Rothman has been studying the disease in his laboratory at URI’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics.

RIPR FILE

The governor’s office is asking you, the public, about what it’s like to live and work in the Ocean State. Residents are being asked to speak their minds at a series of public forums this week.

The forums are part of an initiative out of the governor’s office called RhodeMap RI. It’s a project analyzing the state’s business climate and economic competitiveness. The goal is to travel across the state, listen to residents about what it’s like to get job, buy a home and get an education in the state, then use that feedback to develop policy.

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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.

URI

A biology professor at the University of Rhode Island is conducting an inventory of the types of seaweeds that grow in Rhode Island ocean waters. 

Seaweed may be an annoyance, but it offers vital clues into the health of an ocean.  That’s why University of Rhode Island biology professor Christopher Lane has embarked on a study of the slimy stuff with an eye towards learning how many species of seaweed exist in Rhode Island, and which are the most invasive.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk URI professor Dr. Tony Wheeler, who directs the new URI Strategic Innovation MBS program in Providence.

They’re combing over the new state budget and what it does to boost the state’s economy. They also mull over whether Rhode Island should pay back the 38 Studios loan.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The old South Street power station in Providence’s jewelry district has been vacant for well over a decade. But it’s about to get a facelift and a new life in the state’s higher education system.

Brown University has announced plans to re-develop the century-old South Street power station, also known as the Dynamo House, into a shared nursing education center and administrative offices.  The nursing center will be part of the joint nursing school run by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. The administrative offices will be used by Brown. 

A Rhode Island clothing and textile designer is looking to send his creations out of this world.  Karl Aspelund, a design professor at URI, is researching the apparel needs for travelers inspired by the 100 Year Starship Initiative. That’s a joint Defense Department and NASA mission to encourage travel outside our solar system. 

Rhode Island has lifted a ban on armed police forces at state colleges, after a Board of Education vote last night. The board’s new policy allows each state institution to make the decision about whether campus police officers will carry guns.

There is still no word from a University of Rhode Island student who’s been missing since Thursday.

21-year-old Matthew Royer was last seen leaving his apartment in Rhode Island on Thursday, he was heading back home to southeastern PA where he was supposed to start a job on Friday.

URI officials say the university reached out to Royer’s family on Saturday.

Chafee Calls for Review of URI Gun Scare

Apr 5, 2013

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he’s relieved and grateful that no one was seriously injured yesterday at the University, where a report of an active shooter on campus proved to be unfounded. The campus was on lockdown for about two-and-a-half hours.

The governor said in a statement the state will review what happened. He said the incident provides a unique opportunity to review emergency operations and  how the situation was handled.

The University of Rhode Island says it’s seeing a record number of applications for the Fall 2013 semester.  University officials believe their marketing efforts are paying off.

Close to 21,000 students have applied for admission to URI for next fall.  Roughly 75 percent will be admitted so that the university has its desired freshman class of 3,100 even after students who have been admitted decide to go elsewhere.

URI Admissions Dean Cynthia Bonn believes the interest in attending URI is a direct result of their outreach efforts.

URI index shows RI economy getting its mojo back

Feb 13, 2013

A University of Rhode Island economist is out with his monthly index of economic indicators. And it shows the state has economic momentum unmatched since 2003.

Professor Leonard Lardaro’s “Current Conditions Index” hit 92 in December, the highest mark in eight years.  All but one of 12 economic indicators showed growth; the lone exception being government which is scaling back hiring as services are consolidated.

Governor Lincoln Chafee seems to have hit upon a simple solution to the tuition waiver issue at state colleges and the University of Rhode Island: require recipients of the waivers to disclose them publicly.

The free tuition plans for faculty families and several other categories of Rhode Islanders became an issue after a Providence Journal investigation revealed that URI allowed an employee of the privately run Institute for International Sport to obtain full tuition by misclassifying her as a university employee.

(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.

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