Rhode Island College, Office of College Communications and Marketing, News Release

For Immediate Release


Date:         June 5, 2013


Contact:    Gita Brown, 401-456-8465, gbrown@ric.edu




Rhode Island College recently became a member of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) to help develop strategies to improve education and to help build the workforce in Rhode Island.

CUMU is a group of higher education institutions located in urban areas that are committed to serving their communities. Service takes a variety of forms, from improving K-12 education and raising the educational attainment of the region’s workforce to contributing to business development.  

“Joining CUMU allows Rhode Island College to learn from similar institutions that are actively engaged in their communities,” said Christopher Hourigan, director of institutional research and planning at RIC. While several other New England institutions are members of CUMU, RIC is currently the only Rhode Island member.

One of the initiatives RIC is focusing on is raising educational attainment in Rhode Island.

“We know that Rhode Island lags behind other states, when it comes to the percentage of the population with a college education,” said Hourigan, “and many believe that this is holding the state back from rebooting its economy. Research shows that there is a strong link between the health of a region’s economy and the level of education of its workforce.”

“As the most affordable four-year institution in the state, RIC has a clear role and, I would say, competitive advantage, in improving the educational attainment of Rhode Island’s workforce,” he said.

RIC has also taken a leadership position in improving K-12 education in Rhode Island, said Hourigan. “Through the STEM Center at RIC, we are enhancing math and science education in the state where the needs are especially critical,” he said.

RIC also hopes to assist in improving the business climate in the state, through RIC President Nancy Carriuolo’s membership in the Rhode Island Economic DevelopmentCorporation and participation of RIC leaders in other economic development-related organizations.

Membership in CUMU will give the college access to best practices used at similar institutions and access to a wealth of Web and print resources. The collegewill also have the opportunity to develop professional relationships with colleagues at national and international institutions, he said.

“I think, being a member of an organization like CUMU defines the kind of institution we are,” said Hourigan. “The college strives to be a vital economic, cultural and social resource for the state.”

CUMU members span over 50 major metropolitan areas in the United States and in five countries. They include private and public institutions, four-year and community colleges and large research- and liberal arts-focused institutions.