Online Media Manager
PROVIDENCE, R.I.,-- On Friday February 5th, President Frank D. Sanchez addressed the Rhode Island College community in a 14 minute speech via zoom. He reviewed where the school stands at the beginning of spring semester 2021 and the work that lay ahead.
The address took place live from the John Clarke Science building and highlighted the devastating effects COVID-19 has had on the economy and on current and future students of RIC who are from communities that are struggling most. Sanchez believes, “We must unequivocally support Rhode Island and its economic recovery by delivering an exceptional education, that is both affordable and convenient to all Rhode Islanders who seek it.” Four core priorities were introduced with Sanchez asserting that the RIC community’s needs are changing, educationally, economically and culturally.
Expand routes to a four-year degree
Sanchez wants to make it possible for working adults with college credits to achieve higher education by increasing “social mobility and knocking economic prosperity for themselves and their families.” In order to achieve this, he asks that faculty and staff offer classes online, on weekends, and at nights. “This expansion will make RIC a top choice for working adults and the nearly 120,000 Rhode Islanders with some college credit, and no pathway to a degree.”
Invest in student success
Provost Helen Tate is collaborating with faculty leaders in order to “bolster the student experience, and the college as an engine for Economic Opportunity.” Stated Sanchez. “We will make greater investments that support a personalized learning experience by providing faculty with the best tools and technological infrastructure to support students, whether in the classroom, doing research or studying around the kitchen table.” Reviewing academic planning will ensure that equity gaps are closed and more students leave RIC with a degree.
The school is striving to stay in the top 20% of affordable colleges in New England. “This commitment will ensure that Rhode Islanders have an affordable option to maximize the return on investment and have minimal debt. Upon completing their degree with this commitment, it is important to say we cannot maintain our affordability, by having sharp tuition increases every other year.” Rhode Island College is working with government agencies for a reasonable tuition policy, so Rhode Island residents can better budget for their education. “Affordability is only possible with strong coordination between the college state legislature and the Office of Post-Secondary Education Council.”
Advocacy for RIC
Sanchez is also actively providing “better budgetary accountability and transparency of our good stewardship of taxpayers dollars.” He will be submitting an annual budget report that will be made viewable at ric.edu. “Right now, students, faculty, staff, alumni donors and friends of the college are forming campus networks to mobilize around common interest and support the college. This collection of committed RIC voices will amplify the college's vital role across Rhode Island, in our communities, at the statehouse and beyond.” Sanchez believes that the public deserves to know how the state and school are utilizing tuition dollars.
Along with the reflection of the college, Sanchez also reminded students and faculty of the significant bond for the March 2 special election, listed as question number one. If the bond is approved, Rhode Island College will receive $107.3 million for higher public education, with $38 millon set to refashion the Clarke Science building.
To learn more about the bond, visit sos.ri.gov.