Message From the Dean
Dean’s Message – Fall 2020
Greetings Feinstein Students,
Welcome back! I hope this message finds you all well, prepared and eager to begin the new school year. We are excited to welcome back returning undergraduate and graduate students and thrilled to welcome incoming transfer and new students! While this fall may look and feel different from previous fall semesters, please know that Feinstein faculty and staff are well prepared for the “new normal.”
The year 2020 has brought significant shifts in the way we live, socialize, travel, and learn. Feinstein students’ ability to transition to virtual learning last spring, with the sudden onset of the COVID crisis, was impressive. You demonstrated a commitment to learning and for those in field placements, you continued to serve in classrooms, clinics, and communities by virtual means. There were remarkable stories shared of students directly impacted by COVID who balanced illness, self-care, and family caregiving, all while handling academic commitments. I applaud you all.
The College and Feinstein worked to mobilize resources to ensure that faculty could provide the same quality instruction virtually, as that received in person. Faculty were essential in helping to identify student needs, advocating for students in a myriad of ways seen and unseen. What struck me most was Feinstein faculty’s ability to translate student needs into action. Many worked to ensure students had access to basic needs and worked tirelessly to locate food resources including grocery store gift cards for students who lost employment due to the virus. Feinstein faculty also expressed student technology needs, poling students to learn what types of devices they worked from, how they accessed internet, and the stories of how students adjusted to multiple internet uses in households.
The articulation of student needs also brought up issues of shame, where students expressed shame in asking for technology assistance, specifically, requesting loaner devices to ensure continuous learning engagement as courses transitioned online. In addressing this point, I want to share what my Uncle Man always told my mother and uncle while growing up in rural Georgia during a time of heightened racial segregation and backbreaking poverty, “Tugah, you may be poor, but you not pitiful.” Uncle Man’s meant to inspire, motivate, and instill self-confidence into two small Black children facing ridicule and shame due to their family’s racial and economic plight.
I share these words to remind students that there is no shame in asking for help. If online learning presents challenges to your learning style, ask for help. The shame is, however, in needing something and being too proud to ask for assistance. My mother always emphasized that your today will not be your tomorrow. That is why you are in school following your dreams, pursuing degrees that will further economic opportunities and life outcomes, for you and generations to come. Asking for assistance is a mark of self-determination, fortitude, and self-advocacy. I am smiling as I write this message because I was the girl who showed up to prom in a dress purchased with funds from five different people, including my babysitting money. Remember the saying, “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed” meaning, if you do not ask for help, you most certainly will not receive it, as you are the best person to voice your needs. Moreover, if you get scared or too prideful to ask for help, remember the teen girl at prom in the fabulous dress purchased by five people. You are your best advocate!
I encourage you all to explore our refreshed webpages with information related to our “new normal” of online learning this semester. We will continue to add resources and information across the semester. We will also update our FAQ’s. I also want to emphasize the importance of you regularly checking your RIC emails for COVID updates, especially the daily symptom screening emails.
I wish you all and your families continued safety and health.
Dean Jeannine Dingus-Eason
Feinstein School of Education and Human Development
Below is a list of resources for various situations. I hope this information proves helpful to you if you find yourself in a challenging situation:
- If you are in need of technology assistance, including a loaner device, please reach out to:
- Adams Library has loaner devices including laptops and iPads. Requests can be made
on this webpage.
- RIC’s Learning4Life created a
COVID Resource Sheet, which is regularly updated, with information for food insecurities, housing, assistance with utilities, internet access, unemployment, and resources for undocumented individuals.
- Disability Student Services provides providing accommodations for students with disabilities and supporting them in achieving
their academic goals.
OASIS Center provides academic support including tutoring for students.
- If you are in need of mental health services, please contact: Rhode Island College HOPE line: 401-456-HOPE (4673). Or, contact the RIC Counseling Center.