What’s New in Rhode Island Education

From grammar school to college, here's our annual guide to education.



Courtesy of CCRI

New Math at CCRI
The new Math Emporium at the Community College of Rhode Island is an innovative classroom model that helps students master developmental mathematics topics needed for their credit-bearing courses. It uses ALEKS, an artificially intelligent online assessment and learning system, in addition to instruction from math faculty members. Each student is presented with the exact topics he or she is prepared to learn, and students can skip topics they already know and quickly progress through easier topics so they can get extra help and time on more advanced topics. Based on student needs and real-time data, instructors can provide one-on-one, small group or whole class instruction. ccri.edu

Area law schools get passing grade
Students considering law schools often compare bar passing rates. Currently, the American Bar Association requires that 75 percent of a law school’s graduates pass the bar exam within five years of graduation. But, noting that most students sit for the bar within two years of graduation, they recently compiled two-year tracking data. Both Roger Williams University School of Law and the University of Massachusetts School of Law easily met the new measure: 88.7 percent for UMass and 85.3 percent for RWU.law.rwu.edu; umassd.edu/law/

Innovation and design bootcamp jumpstarts creativity
Bryant University’s Innovation and Design Experience for All (IDEA) is a new way of teaching and learning based on design learning methods used by IDEO, Apple and Google. The immersive three-day design-thinking boot camp for freshmen is filled with brainstorming, storyboarding and prototyping on campus, plus field work and research at area businesses. Working in teams, students use design-thinking to address a real-world problem in business or community. For example, one group recently studied how frozen yogurt shops could expand business beyond the summer months and move beyond the fad stage. ✸ Over its six-year span, IDEA has evolved to more than a design-thinking course for students. It has become part of a larger institutional initiative to reimagine higher education through design-thinking and innovation. In 2017, the university’s new Academic Innovation Center became the program hub. Best of all, Bryant students say that the design-thinking skills they discovered as first-year students become second nature, and have helped them in their career goals. bryant.edu

Classroom of the future at URI Feinstein Providence campus
The Innovative Curriculum Experience, a new classroom at the University of Rhode Island’s Feinstein Providence campus, is changing the way professors teach and students learn. It employs the latest tech innovations, including touchscreen technologies and wireless presentation capabilities, to promote collaboration, interaction and forward thinking, aligning instruction in ways that today’s students want to learn. web.uri.edu/ceps/

New online international relations program
Salve Regina University has launched a first-of-its-kind online doctorate program in international relations. Slated to begin this fall, the program is specifically designed for faculty at military institutions, military officers from the U.S. and abroad, and those employed in government services professions. The flexible online learning provides an option for professionals working in military institutions and government services jobs who cannot logistically attend a traditional Ph.D program. ✸ The degree emphasizes justice with a primary focus on seeking wisdom through comparative analysis. Program faculty will be drawn from Salve Regina, the University of Rhode Island, the U.S. Naval War College and Roger Williams University, where each is a full-time professor, all holding Ph.D degrees, and all known regionally, nationally and internationally for their scholarship and expertise in a specific area of study. Candidates for the forty-eight-credit program should already hold master’s degrees and have at least five years of related professional experience. salve.edu

The arts are everywhere
The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) recently launched its first-ever graduate programs in Liberal Arts: Global Arts and Cultures (GAC) and Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies (NCSS). GAC will challenge students to develop a critical understanding of the power of arts in an increasingly globalized world; and NCSS will help students engage with complex socioecological issues at the intersection of the humanities, social sciences and arts and design. Emphasizing theoretical grounding, deep inquiry and self-directed research, these one-and-a-half-year programs equip graduates to become hybrid thinkers who will bring critical perspectives to urgent issues. ✸ RISD alumni are making an impact in fields beyond the traditional arts. For example, Emily Holtzman (’18) worked with a team of Brown Biomedical Engineering students to help develop a textile-based embolic protection device that recently took first prize in this year’s Healthcare Design Competition at the Johns Hopkins Center for Biomedical Innovation and Design. risd.edu

Expanded Online Learning at JWU
At the Johnson and Wales University (JWU) College of Online Education, there are now more than fifty choices for students at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level. One of these is Rhode Island’s first online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program. It unites impressive professionals from around the country in various industries in a cohort to pursue their terminal degrees under the mentorship of JWU’s distinguished professors. Students will engage in new approaches to organizational strategy and evidence-based practices that promote competitive advantages. jwu.edu

Brown is Tackling Timely Issues
Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School has created a program — in partnership with the state of Rhode Island — to give fourth-year medical students the training required to prescribe medication-assisted therapy for opioid use disorder. The Drug Abuse Treatment Act of 2000 requires physicians to obtain a waiver to prescribe these medications. With this training, Brown’s students will be able to apply for the waiver once they graduate, receive their full medical license and their Drug
Enforcement Administration registration. ✸ In addition, Brown has opened a new Engineering Research Center with specialized research facilities for nanoscale and biomedical engineering, along with a new lab space designed to expand research in renewable energy, environmental engineering, advanced materials and other areas. Faculty research groups, research associates and graduate students will call the three-story building home. ✸ Addressing student debt issues, Brown also recently announced that they will replace loans with scholarship funds in 2018–2019 financial aid awards, building on need-blind admissions and other initiatives to make a Brown education more accessible. brown.edu

Guaranteed Four-Year Pathway; New Nursing Center
Rhode Island College (RIC) has eleven new four-year bachelor’s degree pathways for Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) students wishing to transfer to RIC for their junior and senior years. If students follow the pathway, RIC can guarantee that they will complete their bachelor’s in four years, but students must meet with CCRI and/or RIC advisors to plan their courses and stay on track. ✸ In addition, RIC’s nursing program has new headquarters at the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center (RI NEC) at South Street Landing. The first floor of RI NEC boasts state-of-the-art technology such as life-like mannequins and hospital Emergency Room equipment in eleven simulation labs, observation rooms and debriefing rooms. The second floor features skills labs and faculty offices while the third floor contains classrooms and meeting areas. ric.edu

Real World Learning at Roger Williams
New resources at Roger Williams University (RWU) will help students apply learning in and out of the classroom. The university recently opened a new Center for Advanced Financial Education, a spacious trading room equipped with the latest technology where students can manage real-dollar portfolios to drive market returns. Additionally, RWU launched a new marine research vessel to support classes and research, a vital resource for increased experiential learning opportunities and important research that contributes to the understanding of coastal ecosystem dynamics and the marine industry. rwu.edu