State of the College speech highlights RIC’s accomplishments, initiatives

In her Feb. 24 State of the College mid-year address to faculty and staff, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo said that RIC’s new vision statement will emphasize “our desire to become more recognized for our important contributions to the state and the region.”

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo delivers her
mid-year address.
She outlined strategies to publicize RIC, noting that efforts to connect with alumni, students and the surrounding community are underway on several fronts. Carriuolo told the audience in the Student Union Ballroom that RIC is in the midst of its “I Am RIC” advertising campaign, showcasing in TV commercials, print ads and on the college website, prominent alums and others associated with the college.

In addition, the college has expanded its social media presence, becoming an entrant on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The college has also begun discussions to enter into a partnership with NBC-10 for the 2010 election campaign season – a collaboration that is a first for any media entity and academic institution in the state.

Nursing professors Jeanne Schwager, left,
and Mary Byrd are among the attendees.
Carriuolo touched on several other topics during her speech, among them:

“Green” initiatives
• The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has approved a green business certification for funding. The current class is underway, with the next offering scheduled to begin April 14.
• A Green Curriculum Development course for K-12 educators is being developed, which, according to Carriuolo, “holds potential for focusing attention on RIC as a leader in green education initiatives.”
• First steps have been taken to form a Green Team to identify initiatives already taking place and follow-up activities.
• Two educators from RIC are working with the Aperion Institute for Sustainable Living to coordinate a Sustainable Schools Summit.
• RIC’s cardboard recycling program has resulted in reducing the size of 12 dumpsters on campus from eight cubic yards to six cubic yards. The annual saving from this initiative is estimated at nearly $14,000.

Budget and enrollment
• In the governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011, the college’s state appropriation (including debt service), is $39.6 million, nearly the same as funding for the current fiscal year. The proposal also includes a request for a general obligation bond of $17 million for renovations and expansion of the Art Center, and $10.09 million for infrastructure modernization.
• Spring 2010 enrollment at RIC shows an overall headcount increase of 4.3 percent over last spring, with a full-time equivalent student increase of 5.7 percent over last spring’s figures. This is the highest FTE spring enrollment in the history of the college. Carriuolo said that “the college’s strong emphasis on advisement and retention” should get a “fair share of the credit” for the increase.

Long-term planning
• Saratoga Associates is working to complete a Campus Master Plan that will guide the development of the physical campus over the next 10 years.
• The self-study process for the 10-year reaccreditation effort for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges is ongoing.
• A draft of RIC’s new five-year strategic plan, Vision 2015, has been completed by the strategic planning committee.

The event was held in the Student Union Ballroom.
Academic initiatives
• Scheduling changes for the 2010 Summer Sessions include over 100 courses that meet in a two-morning per week format, and several one-week to 10-day workshops and seminars. Also, non-RIC students will now be able to create an account online.
• With funding from the Davis Educational Foundation, a new Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning is now under development at the college, with a mission of promoting the professional growth and development of full- and part-time faculty as teachers and scholars of teaching.
• Carriuolo expects to name a dean of professional studies and continuing education soon.

• Adams Library has launched its new Digital Commons, an online electronic home for the display of RIC-produced research and scholarship.
• The PeopleAdmin human resources system has automated all employment searches, including job posting, online job applications, and background checks of candidates.
• The college is in the final stages of implementing a new online Event Management System that will streamline the room reservation process and reflect and recapture the actual cost of facility usage.
• RIC’s alert system now includes nine different and overlapping methods for notifying the campus community of a sudden emergency. Emergency procedures are being honed and a drill may be announced and take place in the spring.

Facility upgrades
• Renovations to Donovan Dining Center are expected to be complete in August, while plans are being developed for a major upgrade to the Recreation Center.
• Awards from the Champlin Foundations will fund upgrades to the Amos Assembly room in the Clarke Science Building and improvements to the Computer Information Systems networking and development laboratory in Alger Hall.
• Other spring semester projects include creating four e-classrooms in Craig-Lee Hall, making STEM Center project (phase II) upgrades to four classrooms in Horace Mann Hall.

James Salmo is introduced to the audience.
Other items
Carriuolo announced that RIC and Brown University’s Alpert School of Medicine are co-sponsoring an HIV conference in Quito, Ecuador, on March 18 and 19. RIC educators Jill Harrison (event co-organizer), and Joanne Costello and two RIC students will be participating.

The film “Crazy Heart,” adapted from RIC professor Tom Cobb’s book, has received three Academy Award nominations. The awards show is March 7.

The successes of this year’s athletic teams and the selection of Don Tencher for a lifetime achievement award by the Sportswriter’s Association as well as the success of the Haitian fundraising efforts were also cited.

Carriuolo thanked the faculty and staff for their energy and commitment to the college and its students during difficult economic times. A reception for James Salmo, the college's new vice president for college advancement and executive director of the RIC Foundation, followed Carriuolo's address.