The Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education (RIOPC) selected Dr. Jack Warner to be RIC’s Interim President.
Warner is a former Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Higher Education. His tenure in that position went from 2002 to 2009; during which Donald Carcieri was Governor and the office was named the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner.
Warner brings a variety of experiences with him as RIC’s Interim President. His past positions include:
Seven years on the RIOPC.
Six years as CEO and Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents, overseeing South Dakota’s public colleges.
Associate chancellor at the University of Massachusetts and Dartmouth.
Served in administrative and academic roles at Bristol Community College.
The goal with Warner’s appointment is to have someone with experience as Interim President during the selection process of President Frank Sánchez’s successor.
“This is a pivotal moment for Rhode Island College to address challenges and opportunities head-on. The council is looking forward to Dr. Warner working with Commissioner Gilkey to lay a foundation for RIC’s future by beginning to help RIC successfully meet the challenges facing postsecondary education. The council believes that RIC can scale its strengths, evolve its business model, and ensure that it is delivering high-quality education so that its students leave as engaged citizens and prepared for the changing economy,” said Barbara Cottam, Chairwoman of the Board of Education.
Warner will start the job after graduation on a one-year contract, effective July 1. The task of selecting RIC’s next President could take up to nine months. An update on the selection process was provided in the campus-wide announcement explaining Warner’s appointment.
“The council reported that the search committee is in place and the council, through the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, has initiated the state RFP process to select an executive search firm that performs searches for colleges and universities. It is expected that an executive search firm will be chosen by early summer, and the search committee will then begin working with the selected firm to begin the search process. The cycle for hiring high-ranking higher education professionals historically begins in the summer, and this timeline coincides with the normal academic hiring cycle,” the announcement said.
No names have been listed as potential candidates for the position. It could be possible Warner gets the job depending on his performance. Currently, the only speculated name is Congressman Jim Langevin. Langevin is a RIC Alumnus who represents the Second Congressional District. If he was selected for the job, the requirement of a Ph.D. would have to be changed.
Whomever is selected to be President of the college has quite the challenge. Several key issues they will have to address include declining enrollment, dwindling student life on campus, shifting to a post-COVID environment, and Sánchez’s unprecedented action regarding SCG’s funding.