RIC’s year in review: Building on infrastructure and institutional achievements

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo
Faculty and staff who made their way across campus to the Opening Coffee Hour on August 24 bypassed roads that appeared to have been tunneled through by woodchucks.

At the podium, Carriuolo talked about the excavation work that has been going on for most of the summer. The target, she said, was RIC’s infrastructure.

”Infrastructure is what keeps the campus running, but it isn’t glamorous,” she said.

Nearly two miles of water main were installed to replace pipes dating back to the mid-1950s. The new pipes will provide greater water pressure for fire sprinklers and dorm showers.

The repaving and sealing of roads will be completed by the end of September.

Reconstruction of the Recreation Center is expected to be completed by spring 2012.

And Art Center renovations will begin at the end of the fall semester.

“In the long run, you will be pleased, but in the short run, we continue to need your patience,” said Carriuolo.

The president went on to spotlight RIC’s institutional inroads and achievements, which took the greater part of her one-and-a-half-hour address.

Here are a few notables that came out of the 2010–11 academic year:

Over $8 million in grants and contracts were awarded to RIC faculty. These awards generated nearly $900,000 for the college in indirect cost revenue.
RIC’s School of Nursing ranked in the top 15 percent of all nursing programs in the nation.
Of all MSW programs in the nation, RIC has the eighth most selective.
Based on athletic success among all schools in the nation, the college’s intercollegiate athletic program ranked in the top 30 percent.
Three of RIC’s students, Benjamin Silva ’11, Heideh Shadravan ’11 and Kristen Kichefski, earned national recognition for accounting and nursing excellence.
RIC’s education students gave over 35,000 hours of community service learning.

The president also raised RIC’s profile by being inducted into the 2011 Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Ocean State’s Magical Circle of People We Admire. She was also inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society. She received the first “green” leadership award by the RIC Green Team and was selected as the Northern Rhode Island YWCA Woman of Achievement for 2011.

Carriuolo’s talk included RIC’s institutional membership at the RISD Museum and a summary of campus renovation and renewal projects, technology upgrades, green initiatives, new and revised degree and certificate programs, advances at the Adams Library and online learning advances.

Seven new emeriti faculty were announced, 20 new faculty, 10 new professional and administrative staff and six new support staff.

Kathryn Kalinak, English professor, was presented with the 2011–12 Thorp Award. Recipients of the Presidential Award were Scott Badger, senior programmer consultant, and Susan St. Amand, clerk secretary.

(Left to right): Kathryn Kalinak, Scott Badger, Susan St. Amand.
Carriuolo saved budget issues for last. She said state appropriation had increased for the first time in five years, although it is still $4 million less than it was 10 years ago, which means tuition and fees continue to be the primary source of funds for the college. Dependence on tuition, she said, makes enrollment critically important.

In the 2010–11 academic year, RIC enrolled 200 fewer freshmen than expected but had a greater number of transfer students. Carriuolo said that this is due to the widening gap between RIC’s tuition and CCRI’s tuition.

“Parents who had been thinking about RIC,” Carriuolo said, “are looking instead to CCRI for the first two years. Tuition savings are a clear enticement.

“In addition, scholarships for community college students by the Joint Admission Agreement and paid from RIC’s financial aid is an enticement that is not available to students who start their studies at RIC. A community college becomes, for parents, the most cost-effective guaranteed route to a RIC degree.”

Carriuolo has alerted the governor and the board of governors about the effect of these policies on the college. As a part of recruitment efforts, she plans to launch an ad campaign to clarify for students the advantages of beginning their education at RIC. Emphasis will also be placed on retention, as Rhode Island high schools will be graduating fewer students in the next few years.

Institutional goals for the new academic year can be found online. A sampling was presented, along with examples of how RIC is already meeting some of these goals. (See the full 2011-2012 Implementation Plan.)

As Carriuolo’s address began with an impressive roster of RIC accomplishments, it ended with yet another: RIC was recently named a 2011–12 College of Distinction, based on the following criteria:

Nationally recognized by professionals as an excellent school.
Strongly focused on teaching undergraduates – students who are taught by professors rather than teaching assistants or graduate students.
Home to a wide variety of innovative learning experiences.
An active campus with many opportunities for personal development.
Highly valued by graduate schools and employers for its outstanding preparation.

Other Rhode Island institutions named ”College of Distinction” were Bryant University, Providence College and Roger Williams University.

Carriuolo reminded those gathered that they “have made RIC a truly great place to work.”

(See photos from Opening Coffee Hour.)