Two RIC Professors Awarded College Collaborative Grants

The College & University Research Collaborative has awarded Rhode Island College Professors Shani Carter and Francis Leazes Jr. arts and culture research grants.

The Collaborative is a statewide public-private partnership of Rhode Island’s 11 colleges and universities that connects public policy and academic research.

Leazes, professor of political science, is teaming with Deborah Johnson, Providence College professor of art history and women’s studies, on “Measuring Successful Arts and Culture Strategies.”

“I am excited and honored to be conducting valuable research through the Collaborative,” Leazes said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for my students and me to contribute to state policymaking by undertaking applied research and making the results available to policymakers. Higher education has much to offer to the wider public.”

Leazes and Johnson will comparatively analyze a set of successful arts initiatives throughout the United States and New England. Leazes said that this research “will help the state to best leverage” its “thriving arts and culture sector.”

Leazes said participation in the Collaborative will also foster additional opportunities for Rhode Island College to partner with other state and regional institutions.

“Rhode Island College is committed to assisting the state of Rhode Island in an effort to maximize its enormous economic and cultural potential,” he said.

Carter, professor of management, will work with Jongsung Kim, Bryant University professor of economics, on “Competitiveness in Occupations and the Optimal Tax in Rhode Island.”

Their research will examine pre- and post-recession personal income tax rates, salary levels and occupational employment in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut to determine whether personal income tax rates are related to choice of residence and place of employment.

“The study will have a positive impact on courses I teach at RIC,” Carter said. “In my courses, I use several of the Department of Labor’s databases, and I am enthusiastic about being able to share the results of an in-depth examination of the data with my students.”

Carter said she feels participation in the Collaborative will benefit Rhode Island College by allowing faculty researchers to partner with their peers at other higher education institutions. That working relationship, she said, will improve research productivity at RIC and increase RIC’s exposure statewide.

The Collaborative was established to increase the use of nonpartisan academic research in policymaking and is funded by the Rhode Island Foundation (RIF) and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC). It is administered by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island.

The Collaborative works with members of the governor’s office, the Rhode Island Senate, EDC and RIF to determine what research areas will best inform public policy. This year, scholars in The Collaborative will focus on economic development in advanced manufacturing, arts and culture and regional competitiveness.