RIC faculty, staff  welcomed back at opening coffee hour   

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo speaks at the annual opening coffee hour in Donovan Dining Center.
Nancy Carriuolo, president of Rhode Island College, welcomed faculty and staff back for the 2012-13 academic year during a coffee hour on Wednesday, Aug. 22. She spoke to a packed room in Donovan Dining Center.

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Carriuolo announced that enrollment for the current fall is tracking as expected. Official enrollment numbers would not be available until early fall. Enrollment and retention are important now that the college is primarily dependent on tuition and fees for support of the college.

Carriuolo recounted for the gathering the many accomplishments of faculty, staff and students in the previous year, including winners of the college’s three presidential awards.

Richard Feldstein, teaching award winner.
Richard Feldstein, English Department, received a presidential award for excellence in teaching. Dante Del Giudice received the professional staff award for his work as director of the Office of Professional Studies and Continuing Education. Staff member Kimberly Crabill received the presidential award for her efforts in the Office of School Partnerships and Field Placements in the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development.

Student achievements in 2011-12 included awards and special recognition for the fifth graders at Henry Barnard School, as well as the theatre, anthropology, accounting and social work students. Alums were also occasionally mentioned for their accomplishments: Kelsey Fournier ’12, won the title of Miss Rhode Island in 2012, using skills she acquired as a former health and physical education major.

Dante Del Giudice, professional staff award winner.
In the music, theatre and dance fields, Carriuolo noted, the RIC Chamber Choir completed a successful tour of Ireland this summer.

Carriuolo also cited faculty achievements in music, theatre and dance, English and film studies, as well as the attendance of Jane Williams, dean of the School of Nursing, at a well-publicized White House event on the future of nursing education hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. She also gave special recognition to the alumni association for hosting local business receptions and a special reception in the spring for award-winning actress Viola Davis ’88, HD ’02.

Carriuolo told attendees that James Murphy became Rhode Island College’s first coordinator of sustainability in the spring of 2012. Green studies are now part of the Office of Professional Studies and Continuing Education. Murphy has started a campus community garden and brought beehives to RIC, making it the first college in the state to offer a beekeeping program.

Kimberly Crabill, support staff award winner.

Sports highlights saw the women’s basketball team become state champions for 2011-12, and women’s golf and swimming were added to the athletics curriculum in spring 2012.

The college last year received $10.3 million in research and academic grants, a $2.3 million increase from the year before, in fields that include biology, nursing, social work, political science, psychology and job-training, according to Carriuolo.

In the area of development, the RIC Foundation received $165,659 in gifts and pledges last year, $15,000 more than the year before; plus, Carriuolo secured a $1 million gift from the jewelry company Alex and Ani Inc. of Cranston.

Finally, Carriuolo said the “most urgent” issue facing the college in the upcoming academic year is approval of Question 3 on the Rhode Island ballot in the Nov. 6 general election.

The referendum would provide $50 million to RIC for renovations and modernization of academic buildings (Craig Lee and Gaige) as well as a modest renovation and expansion of Fogarty Life Science to support some of the growing needs of the allied health and nursing majors on campus.

Opening coffee hour allowed RIC faculty and staff to renew acquaintances and meet new employees.
Carriuolo said that every student takes one or more classes in Craig Lee and Gaige Hall, so the approval would affect the recruitment and the education of every student.

She also noted that these buildings, all designated as in poor condition by the 2010 master planning report by Saratoga Associates, draw heavily from the repair budget every year.

Consequently, renovating these buildings will free repair funds needed in other buildings. She gave examples such as the bathrooms in Horace Mann and the flooring in Alger.

Everyone on campus will in some way benefit by the approval of Question 3 on the November ballot. She asked the RIC community and its supporters to urge their friends and relatives to vote for approval of Question 3 in November.

In conclusion, Carriuolo said, “this promises to be a great – maybe historic – year” at Rhode Island College if we all work together for the common good.”