Feinstein Providence Campus &
College of Continuing Education Academic Plan
Goals, Strategies and Action Steps
Adopted November 2010;
Revised March 2012
Goal I. Enhance academic quality and value of programs on the Providence Campus through focused efforts in enrollment planning and strategic investments in teaching and scholarship.
Strategy A. Increase enrollment and retention of students from the greater Providence area, with special attention to underrepresented groups.
The effort to bring traditional freshmen directly to the Providence campus has resulted in low yields, with the exception of the Biotechnology program, which recruits directly from relevant high school classes and offers a clear career path. The emphasis on freshman recruitment will shift to more targeted career-related areas as they develop (e.g., film media).
Meetings with transfer advisors have led to better coordination for transfers selecting the Providence campus. Advisors from CCRI and URI have met to improve transferability into Providence campus programs, and the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies has developed program tracks appealing to CCRI graduates. We applied for and were awarded over $150,000 in competitive funds through Project RELAAY, which we anticipate, over the next two years, will (1) expand recruitment and improve readiness for the Learning Enhancement for Adults Program, our college transition program for adults leading to enrollment in degree programs in Providence; and (2) provide support services to at-risk students to prevent fail-out or drop-out. The Provost’s Finish What You Started initiative, begun in January 2012, has already reached over 50 students, several of whom will graduate in May. The Biotechnology Certificate program continues to graduate 25 students per year, 100% of whom place in an internship.
However, other colleges have begun full court presses in Providence, and we are more expensive than most. Rising tuition, book and other costs are pricing some adults out of the opportunity to go to school. Internally, we are still just “getting by” with a 15-hour/week Veteran’s Coordinator (unstaffed since June 2011). Staff to develop and coordinate internships remains a barrier to expansion of the Biotechnology program.
- Coordinate recruitment and admissions materials and practices across the University, with an admissions liaison appointed on the Providence campus.
- Collaborate with CCRI and other local community colleges to maximize transferability, identify and advertise program “tracks” in the BIS degree and other majors offered in Providence, and develop new joint degree programs. Provide drop-in recruitment with advising onsite at CCRI in Providence.
- Expand community outreach of the Learning Enhancement for Adults Program in order to increase recruitment and student readiness. Identify skill levels / goals for admission and completion. Add peer mentoring / tutoring. Consider stackable certificates.
- Secure more stable funding for LEAP program director and resource needs.
- Increase recruitment of veterans with greater outreach to active and veteran military groups, increased advising support, greater access to benefits counseling, and increased credit granted for military training and experience.
- Continue to market the “degree completion” program for individuals who dropped out of URI and other local colleges; continue to work with colleges and departments to maximize retention of prior credits and utilize Prior Learning Assessment to jump-start students in the program.
- Increase the number of internships in the biotechnology field in order to increase enrollments in the biotechnology program.
- Evaluate and revise tuition to include a regional tuition plan for students living in nearby out-of-state areas.
- Utilize proactive monitoring, advising and support programs to prevent dropout and increase timeliness of students’ progress toward their degrees.
- Provide skill enhancement through expanded tutoring services, in person and online.
Strategy B. Increase opportunities for pre-college students at Providence campus, traditional and nontraditional.
Starting in Summer 2012, both traditional age secondary school students and nontraditional adults in GED and ESOL programs, will be able to come to the campus and tour our facilities through our RELAAY community partner programs. A summer engineering camp for talented high school and entering college students had a successful first summer in Kingston, and may provide a model for similar programs in other fields in Providence.
To develop new programs, however, a Summer Coordinator or comparable creative administrator is needed.
- Create get-ahead programs after school and during summers for talented high school students, incorporating hybrid and other alternative formats.
- Expand concurrent-enrollment programs for high school students to study within their classrooms.
- Collaborate with community programs to provide pre-college experiences which bring potential students to the Providence campus.
Strategy C. Enrich academic programs and offer new opportunities for student-faculty engagement.
While cross-campus exchanges and a .4 expansion of a lectureship have led to a small increase in faculty presence, we still seek permanent faculty on the Providence campus, particularly in the BIS Health Studies major and in our undergraduate programs with an emphasis on Urban Studies. As programs grow, advising staff must also grow. Additional office / research space is needed, both for full- and part-time faculty who teach in Providence. At the same time, we are experiencing space demands on the Shepard Building from instructional, research, and community programming sectors. A systematic, comprehensive approach is needed.
Part time faculty report greater isolation and less support from URI than other local schools. FCCE must become a more supportive, welcoming environment for all our instructors, who serve the core of our teaching mission and the heart of our campus.
- Provide more permanent faculty presence on the Providence campus by appointing tenure-track faculty / lecturers for majors offered on the Providence campus responsible for teaching, program coordination and student advising. Preference should be given to individuals with interests in urban studies / urban issues.
- Appoint one new tenure-track faculty / lecturer within the BGS/BIS program. Preference should be given to individuals in Health Services Administration.
- Improve the experience of per-course instructors and URI faculty teaching overload in Providence through better communication, increased work space and support services, and enhanced opportunities for faculty development.
- Establish an Academic Programs Advisory Committee with representation of per-course instructors and URI faculty teaching in Providence.
- Increase presence of tenure-track, research and clinical faculty on the Providence campus (with office space), through strategic per-course exchanges with departments.
- Increase opportunities for student-faculty research by providing space and resources; assist in obtaining external funding for Providence-based research projects.
- Increase advising staff to meet current and projected enrollment increases.
- Expand opportunities for additional programming through hybrid and other alternative course formats.
Goal II. Implement a contemporary model of active and collaborative learning and achievement that prepares students for the rapidly changing world of the 21st century.
Strategy A. Enhance existing and develop new interdisciplinary programs.
In 2011, the BGS program was renamed the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, reflecting its historical and current emphasis. Enhanced marketing has increased transfers into the program from CCRI. Curriculum changes under review include a new major in Organizational Leadership and improve assessment of student outcomes.
An interdisciplinary minor in Urban Studies has been approved in principle by a committee of over 20 faculty members from 5 different colleges who are interested in teaching in the program. An Innovative Technology proposal to engage students in community based experiential projects utilizing tablets was funded Spring 2012 for courses to be offered in the program.
Overall, the curriculum is being reviewed to improve students’ access to interdisciplinary minors on the Providence campus.
Masters degrees can be earned in Providence in Business Administration, Labor Studies, Public Administration, Communications, Library and Information Studies, and Medical Laboratory Science. As programs grow, more coherent planning and greater collaboration with the Graduate School is needed.
- Increase enrollment and retention in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program through curriculum changes, articulation and recruitment in community colleges, enhanced marketing, and new interdisciplinary majors to meet workforce needs, such as organizational leadership and urban issues.
- Offer complete interdisciplinary minors on the Providence campus with additional courses, greater faculty presence, and on-site advising; e.g., Women’s Studies, African American Studies, Nonviolence and Peace Studies, International Development, Disability Studies (proposed), Urban Studies (proposed), Leadership, Latino/Hispanic studies, and Sustainability.
- Offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs addressing urban issues and community planning from environmental/ sustainability and global perspectives.
- Design and offer holistic 12-month sequenced curricular plans within existing majors to assist students in accelerating degree completion and to attract new students.
- Re-establish the interdisciplinary Center for Urban Studies and Research to engage students, faculty, industry partners, and the community in teaching, scholarship and outreach in biotechnology, community/global health, and other urban issues.
- Provide supportive structures for colleges to develop innovative and collaborative graduate and professional programs with industry/community partners through Special Programs and the Graduate and Professional Center.
- Work with current graduate programs to increase coherence of offerings, establish role of Providence campus, reestablish commitments, and ensure space and support systems.
Strategy B. Develop and deliver courses and programs to meet the needs of today’s students in concert with the demands of today’s workforce utilizing the flexibility of FCCE and the Office of Special Programs.
A living (green) roof has been designed for the Shepard Building, with potential funding sources identified. This project is on hold pending replacement of the existing roof, currently due; the replacement on request with Capital Projects would be structurally capable of handling the living roof. Such a roof would save the University in runoff charges as well as cooling and heating the building.
The Biotechnology Certificate Program continues to be a model, with much credit due to the coordinator’s recruiting skills and tireless energy. The first Early Childhood alternative certificate program cohort will enter the Providence campus in the fall of 2012, supported by Race to the Top funding.
Noncredit certificate programs offer specific skill sets leading to career opportunities in Multimedia, Homeland Security, and other areas.
- Establish a reputation as a resource for green technology in the urban environment, partnering with businesses and industries in the surrounding area, e.g., urban green building; landscape architecture on the Shepard roof; urban windmills; and accelerated certificate/degree programs modeled on the biotechnology program.
- Develop stackable certificates within degree programs: paired certificates to verify broad skill development, starting with basic writing, oral communication, basic computer skills, and applied math and progressing to business/scientific writing, critical thinking, multicultural competence, ethics, and sophisticated computer use.
- Provide active military students online and alternative format coursework to meet their needs during deployments.
- Offer credit and noncredit programs to address needs of the workforce in the immediate area of the Shepard Building.
- Become a research/demonstration site for effective instruction for students across the life span including innovative pedagogy for distance technologies in collaboration with the Student Learning and Outcomes Assessment Office, College Student Personnel, Adult Education, and related departments.
Strategy C. Increase student involvement in experiential learning, especially opportunities leading to employment in the urban setting.
The addition of a full-time Career Advisor has greatly improved opportunities for internships and career preparation through workshops, fairs, and individual advising. Urban Studies innovative technology funding will increase experiential learning in 6-8 courses during AY 2012-2013. Feinstein scholars contribute hundreds of hours of service each year to the campus and the surrounding community.
- Work with industry and community partners in the greater Providence area to establish additional research opportunities, internships, externships, work/study cooperative programs, and other experiential opportunities.
- Integrate experiential learning with an urban focus into the courses of departments offering majors and minors in Providence.
- Develop community-based intensive experiential courses for the January term and spring break.
- Recognize and celebrate community service by students through publicity and service learning awards.
Strategy D. Strengthen connections to the global community.
Peek into almost any classroom and you will see a global community – in the current LEAP class, for example, 80% of the students were born outside the U.S. The economic, social and legal barriers for these students can be particularly onerous. The RELAAY program includes supports for access and retention of immigrant students, but cannot overcome such challenges as out-of-state tuition for adult non-citizens. The recently funded Multicultural Enhancement program provides for placing student study skills information on the campus website.
A visiting instructor from China has developed and taught a course on Women in China, and international researchers are resources for students in biotechnology.
In October 2010, a team from FCCE traveled to Cuba and laid the groundwork for a student exchange program. Efforts are now underway to develop agreements with universities in Cape Verde and Santa Domingo, incorporating distance learning technology.
- Increase and retain first- and second-generation immigrant students via LEAP, CCRI transfer, and Performance Based Admissions, and provide additional academic and social support for English as a Second Language learners.
- Invite visiting international faculty to work on the Providence campus.
- Increase study abroad opportunities through formal and informal relations with other universities (e.g., Cape Verde, Costa Rica).
- Offer online programs jointly with international universities (e.g., Santo Domingo).
- Develop a sequenced URI in Cuba program with the University of Havana with preparatory and follow-up coursework bracketing a 2-week onsite program in January.
- Provide Chinese language and culture courses (noncredit and credit) and events through partnership with the Confucius Institute.
Goal III. Develop a greater sense of community on the Providence Campus through increased opportunities for faculty, staff and student engagement.
Strategy A. Increase opportunities for interaction among faculty, staff, and students.
Our new Evening Student Services Coordinator serves not only as a resource but also plans and coordinates evening events, working with the first class of Peer Mentors. A second class of Peer Mentors is nearing the completion of training. New furniture and rethinking of spaces have created comfortable waiting areas near classrooms on most floors and a Student Center next to the Student Services Office has become a popular gathering area.
The campus has committed to a renewed effort to hold campus-wide gatherings such as a May Day breakfast which would include part-time instructors for the first time.
- Appoint an Events Committee of students, faculty, and staff who sponsor themed celebrations and monthly “meet and greet” gatherings.
- Increase the presence of full-time faculty on the Providence campus through new appointments and exchanges with Kingston faculty.
- Encourage student/alumni groups to provide free coffee for students early in the semester and during finals week.
- Provide support for faculty-student interactions outside of class; e.g., cookies and coffee provided for faculty to meet with their students in the Student Center.
- Increase student fees and engage in external fundraising to provide additional funding for student engagement on the Providence campus.
- Invite alumni to the Providence campus to participate in events such as the opening of the new Student Center and graduation.
Strategy B. Engage faculty, staff and students in a Healthy Building Initiative.
We have identified a wellness area for light exercise during breaks and are attempting to clear that room in order to schedule fitness classes. Much is needed to reach this goal.
- Identify and furnish an area for wellness activities.
- Appoint a Wellness Committee of students, faculty and staff; develop and offer a program of health, fitness, and wellness activities.
- Undertake a healthy food campaign in conjunction with the existing food service and nutritional experts in Cooperative Extension.
- Examine environmental health in the Shepard Building.
- Increase mental health support services for students.
Strategy C. Engage students and alumni in campus leadership.
As noted, the Peer Mentoring program has been reestablished. Student Government Board, Alpha Sigma Lambda, and the Alumni group have new leadership and have held and are planning activities.
- Encourage the Student Government Board (SGB) to establish a procedure for student clubs and organizations to form and receive support from SGB.
- Increase interaction between student / alumni leaders and management teams in Kingston and Providence.
- Ensure that an administrator meets regularly with leadership of Alpha Sigma Lambda and FCCE Alumni Association
- Acknowledge student leadership through an annual leadership award.
Goal IV. Ensure a campus climate that welcomes, creates, and celebrates a learning community built upon mutual respect, inclusion and understanding, informed by the rich diversity of the urban setting of the Providence Campus.
Strategy A. Raise consciousness and understanding throughout the URI Providence community about privilege, bias, multiculturalism, diversity, and difference.
A Diversity Committee has been appointed. The Urban Arts & Culture Program has offered over 30 events and gallery exhibits on diversity themes. Diversity week and other speakers have been livecast to Providence campus. A “Year of the Urbanscape” is being planned for 2012-2013.
- Appoint a permanent representative Diversity Committee charged to make diversity, equity, and community a priority for the College and the Campus.
- Acknowledge and celebrate the global and local diversity already present on the Providence campus, to utilize in recruitment efforts.
- Provide inservice training on veterans’ issues throughout the campus.
- Offer and acknowledge diversity-related events in Providence, i.e., Diversity Week and cultural and religious holidays.
- Promote activities on and off campus related to diversity, peace and nonviolence, and urban issues, in coordination with campus and community agencies, such as Rhode Island for Community and Justice, Center for Study of Nonviolence and Peace Studies, Multicultural Center, and the Urban League.
- Coordinate semester- or year-long “themes” on the Providence campus, including a grand challenge course, a spring mini-colloquium, arts exhibits, and the like, in coordination with the Honors Program and community partners.
Strategy B. Promote a positive climate and work-life balance in the Shepard Building.
A Work-Life liaison has been appointed and participation in the Work-Life survey encouraged for all employees. It is hoped that the Providence campus can keep in step with the Kingston campus.
- Participate in campus-wide climate surveys; recommend and enact corrective strategies for problems, develop new policies and offer workshops to enhance work-life balance.
- Provide inservice workshops and web-based information for faculty, staff and students on cultural competence, professionalism with diverse populations, dealing with difficult situations.
- Clarify and publicize procedures for dealing with incidents of discrimination or harassment.
Strategy C. Enhance the curriculum in Providence to reflect multicultural, urban and global perspectives.
These are achievable goals if we can identify a resource person to lead the efforts. URI’s partner organization, Community Justice Rhode Island, is collaborating with the International Institute to provide training for interpreters, which may provide new opportunities for students.
- Increase course offerings / minors related to diversity at the Providence campus.
- Offer faculty workshops and mentoring on strategies for integrating multiculturalism across the curriculum, managing difficult dialogues, and increasing tolerance and respect in the classroom. Develop online “modules” to provide ongoing and asynchronous training.
- Develop and offer a certificate/ minor in multicultural competence as a area of specialization for BIS and other programs.
Strategy D. Support the arts and humanities through urban campus-community partnerships.
URI’s Providence Urban Arts and Culture program continues to offer students and the community an opportunity to gather together for events, including the monthly gallery night. The Alumni Association held a successful gallery night celebration in 2011, scheduled again for 2012.
The office of the International Gallery of Heritage and Culture is now located in the Shepard Building, where they anticipate working with students on exhibits and other artistic endeavors.
However, the Coordinator of PUAC has to personally expend a tremendous amount of time and energy each month to raise funds for exhibitions. More fund-raising support is needed to guarantee more stable funding.
- Integrate URI-Providence Urban Arts and Culture (PUAC) and programs in the humanities (e.g., conversation hours with authors) into courses at all URI campuses.
- Partner with local artists’ and writers’ groups, provide space for and engage URI students in projects with local youth.
- Provide a stable funding stream for PUAC through increased personnel and external fund-raising.
Goal V. Improve effectiveness, accountability and performance of the Feinstein College of Continuing Education and its supporting units.
Strategy A. Expand the footprint of the Providence campus and maximize utilization of space in order to provide academic activities in an appropriate, technologically sophisticated environment.
A significant number of classrooms have been upgraded for adult-friendly seating and at by July 2012 all large classrooms will contain the most current media. As noted earlier, however, demands for space are increasing even while the building is at capacity weekday evenings. Alternative course delivery formats (e.g., hybrids), weekend offerings, and expanding into nearby space need to be explored.
- Increase classroom availability by reallocating internal space and acquiring external space, such as the Earle Building; reallocate space and services to non-URI agencies within the Shepard Building.
- Continue to install and maintain appropriate seating and state-of-the-art technology in existing and new classrooms. Offer instructors training in utilization of technology for enhanced pedagogical effectiveness.
- Expand credit and certificate programs in Providence during daytime hours and on weekends and in Kingston during evening hours (including BIS and Prior Learning Assessment).
- Increase hybrid course offerings to increase classroom space availability during evening hours.
- Rent space in the Shepard building to community partners during non-peak hours (e.g., movies in the auditorium).
- Correct staffing shortages in key support areas, including security and the office of Facilities and Operations.
- Develop a stable funding stream for the Child Development Center, which provides a recruitment tool for parent/students, a site for training HDF students, and a model urban child development program.
Strategy B. Increase efficiency and transparency in office procedures, budgeting and allocation of resources.
While staff recognize the need for these steps, most offices are too busy to begin the process of identifying procedures, and the push for developing procedures manuals and increasing transparency has not gained the momentum needed for results. However, this revision process has led some units to renew a commitment to strategic planning and procedures reviews.
- Develop strategic plans and post procedures manuals for each Feinstein Providence campus unit/office.
- Engage in systematic reviews of academic programs to address productivity, cost effectiveness, and quality; follow the recommendations of the Learning Outcomes Oversight Committee, the Academic Program Review Committee, and other university-wide standards.
- Establish better communication throughout the College and Campus, including posting minutes of meetings on a campus-wide Sakai site.
- Maintain open dialogue within the Shepard Building and across campuses.
- Improve identification of Providence-based students and obtain queries to collect institutional data; utilize data to inform recommendations and innovations.
Strategy C. Improve coordination and interoffice relations with the URI Kingston campus.
Increased participation of Providence faculty and staff on key University committees has enhanced intercampus collaboration and helped bring FCCE practices in line with other units. As new sources of difference are identified, resolutions are developed. A more centralized office space for FCCE / Summer Sessions has been helpful. A voting representative of the College on the Faculty Senate has been requested but has not yet materialized.
- Redesign and update web.uri.edu/prov.
- Review and bring practices into conformity with University policies and procedures, while adapting to the unique needs of nontraditional students, particularly in admissions and advising.
- Clarify and improve reporting lines and status of bookstore, library, instructional technology, the Child Development Center, and other academic support programs offered in Providence.
- Expand engagement in university-wide committees and task forces by Providence students, instructors, and staff.
- Obtain voting representation in the Faculty Senate for the Feinstein College of Continuing Education.
Strategy D. Engage in ongoing strategic planning.
With this revision has come a renewed commitment not only to a regular review of the Plan, but also to review functional units within the College / Campus to develop strategic planning.
- Conduct an annual assessment of progress and revise the Academic Plan as appropriate.
- Commit to an annual retreat of key stakeholders in the Feinstein College of Continuing Education.