Community, Equity and Diversity

Building a Campus Where Everyone Thrives

306 Green Hall, 35 Campus Avenue, Kingston, RI 02881

uriced@etal.uri.eduPhone: 401.874.7077 Fax: 401.874.2809

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Penny Jo Rosenthal, Ph.D.

  • Director
  • Phone: 401.874.5412
  • Fax: 401.874.9380
  • Email:
  • Office Location: 22 Upper College Road
    Kingston, RI 02881


Penny Jo Rosenthal, Ph.D., joined the URI Office of Community, Equity and Diversity May 2017 as the Director of the Women’s Center. She has over 20 years of experience in higher education. Prior to arriving at URI, Dr. Rosenthal was an Assistant Professor (2011-2017) in the Department of Counseling and Student Personnel at Minnesota State University, Mankato; the Director (2000 to 2011) of the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center at Iowa State University (ISU); Director (1998 to 2001) of Off Campus and Adult Student Services at ISU; and Coordinator (1997-1998) of Adult and Graduate Student Services at Texas A&M University. Dr. Rosenthal earned her B.S. in Psychology/Women’s Studies; M.S. in Counseling and Student Personnel (College Student Affairs) from Minnesota State University, Mankato; and her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.

Her research interests include equity and social justice, access to higher education, low-income student experiences in higher education, and the use of Twitter in graduate studies classrooms to increase students’ learning and engagement. Dr. Rosenthal’s dissertation focused on college aged men and their abilities to be or become social justice allies of women while attending college.

Dr. Rosenthal has taught courses in Gender and Women’s Studies (Introduction to Women’s Studies), First Year Seminars (Leadership Seminar), Psychology (Study Skills Development), Educational Leadership & Policy Studies (Qualitative Research Methodology, Program Assessment and Evaluation), and Counseling and Student Personnel (Group Procedures, Introduction to College Student Affairs, Budget, Crisis Intervention, Counseling in a Multicultural Society, American College Student, Managing and Assessing Campus Environments, Practicum/Internship in Student Affairs, Organization and Governance in Higher Education, and Advanced Theories in College Student Development).

Dr. Rosenthal’s chapter titled “Economically disadvantaged women in higher education: Hearing their stories and striving for social justice” was included in the 2010 publication edited by P. A. Pasque & S. E. Nicholson, Empowering Women in Higher Education and Student Affairs: Theory, research, narratives, and practice from feminist perspectives. Her chapter titled “I think he’s going to kill me” was included in the 2009 edition of NASPA’s stories of inspiration: 51 uplifting tales of courage, humor, healing, and learning in student affairs edited by S. M. Marshall. She has additional publications and numerous conference presentations, keynote addresses, and invited lectures. Dr. Rosenthal has been an active member of several professional associations such as: ACPA, NASPA, ANTSHE, MCPA, NWSA, and ISPA.

Outside of work and higher education, Dr. Rosenthal enjoys everything about water, snow, cooking, and meeting new people. She began a certified coach training program in March 2017 and incorporates this training into her engagement with students and staff.

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